Knockan Crag

National Nature Reserve
Creag a Chnocain Tearmann Nadair Naiseanta
Scottish Natural Heritage
Dualchas Nadair na h-Alda

about knockan crag

about knockan crag

Come to Knockan Crag and discover the planet!

Knockan Crag is renowned internationally due to the important geological feature that was first identified there. It is also one of the most important sites for understanding how the landscape of Northern Britain was formed. The rocks at and around Knockan Crag also record the last 3000 million years of history for the landmass that we now know as Scotland. Its Gaelic name is Creag a' Chnocain, meaning 'crag of the small hill', and is very suggestive of the rugged and wonderful scenery of the area.

Global processes have been at work to create the unique rock formations and spectacular landscapes at this historic site.

Global processes have been at work to create the unique rock formations and spectacular landscapes at this historic site. It was the debate about what had happened at Knockan Crag that helped scientific thinking move on a step when it was realised that rocks could be moved sideways by enormous forces. The feature that was formed by this movement, called a thrust, has now been recognised in rocks around the world, including those in the Himalayas and the Alps. At Knockan Crag, the Moine thrust has resulted in an unusual situation where older Moine rocks have come to lie over much younger rocks.

Telling the story

Knockan Crag offers visitors the opportunity to discover the story of Scotland's turbulent past as it journeyed from "pole to pole". The global processes that were first identified at Knockan Crag and that have shaped the unique landscape of this area are explained through interactive displays, cartoons and panels. A multilingual CD-ROM allows visitors to "fly" through the area and look at views that tell more of the story about the forming of the landscape.


The Rock Room at Knockan Crag NNR.  Lorne Gill / SNH.

The development of the facilities at Knockan Crag has been generously supported and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage; Heritage Lottery Fund; Ross and Cromarty Enterprise; Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise; British Geological Survey; The Curry Fund of the Geologists Association; Cyber Frontiers International, and the European Regional Development Fund under the Highlands & Islands Objective 1 Partnership Programme. The site is owned and managed as a National Nature Reserve by Scottish Natural Heritage.