There are many locations between bustling Montrose in the north, and the brooding red-bricked Arbroath in the south, where agates and related chalcedonies may be collected, both at coastal locations and inland. All the specimens featured here were collected along a stretch of coast covering around 4 miles, taking in several main locales. I speak from experience when I say that your favourite locations will be those you stumble across yourself, with little or no guidance. It is true to say that the whole Angus Coast will have been searched at some stage, and in many places regularly, however again I speak from experience when I say that obviously, visiting a location only a handful of times will not suffice when attempting to ascertain whether or not agates and related material of a high quality can be collected there. It is this fact that ensures that the more esoteric coves are not immune to neglect. If there is no paper trail to follow so to speak, and no information to be gleaned online, then there is all the more reason to inspect those likely looking places yourself. 

 

This area then, on a par with Lunan Bay, is my very favourite, with far-off Balmerino taking a close second place. Most varieties of agate are encountered here, with fortification often mixed with onyx or water-level pieces being most common. These are often in rich colours, rather than being pale, and in particular regularly show bright golden yellows in conjunction with reds and oranges that almost appear fluorescent. The very particular colouration seems to be distinct to this area. A lower proportion of nodules here are quartz-filled, than in locations such as Ferryden. Stalactitic agates occur, though they are not common, often in strong colours as well as a myriad of zeolitic types, those of a "sagenitic" persuasion being most common, though again such specimens take a little time to acquire. Tube agates too, occur on occasion, and can be highly intricate. The larger agates here, rarely up to 15-17cm in diameter, are often pale blue/grey in colouration, and with quartz and Calcite being present to notable degree. That said, anything larger than 10cm is rare, and of course often highly fractured. 

     Altered material is also encountered, though very seldom for the most part. That is either agates that have endured a secondary influx of silica after their initial genesis or agatised and Jasperised sedimentary rocks, in this case often limestone. The former species can be difficult to recognise, owing to a foggier complexion, while the latter can include fossiliferous material such as that of a stromatolitic variety. The question that is raised as regards agatised stromatolites, is whether or not the presence of quartz "vugs" in the material is possible without these pieces having formed in lava vesicles. Whether or not that is the case, the resulting sections of agate in such specimens show distinct whorled markings, rarely in a wide range of colour, of a quality in keeping with similar markings found in the agates on Scotland's West Coast, in Ayrshire and Argyll. Colonial Coral too, has been observed, though unstable in form. The source of these specimens seems likely to be glacial, though I have pondered the possibility of formation occurring in the area of collection itself, where areas of volcanic and sedimentary rocks collide. Where limestone is of the oolitic variety, the Orbicular formations can be agatised, though again, material of this variety is very seldom encountered and highly variable in quality. 

 

I have collected plume agate here, on only one occasion. Of course, plume agates are a particular kind of moss agate showing the appropriate structures, and moss agates are the one variety this area lacks. 

 

Perhaps most notably, a huge variety of Jasper is encountered at this location, including strange pieces exhibiting a synthesis with agate and common opal as well as the more common examples showing fortification agate within a more prevalent Jasper structure. Documenting pieces of this nature will be an ongoing process on this website. It is distinct from Jasp-agate found at locations such as Boddin Point, where the material much less often displays agate content, and is much less detailed structurally, showing less variation. That said, you must examine a massive amount of likely-looking Jasper in order to find highly agatised specimens, a sort sorely under-appreciated in my view. 

 

I also concern myself with the mythology of the Angus Coast, whether real or imagined. There are a few majestically atmospheric spots, such as at Red Castle, shown above. You can well imagine some pale wretch cast into the anecdotal dungeon, said to lurk underfoot on the seaward side. The scarified sandstone, is darkly vibrant in fantastical relief with macabre whorls and runnels, aglow in the setting sun, reminding one of the surface of Mars. Indeed, the soil of the region, like richly-hued terracotta, or ferrous decay is in itself mysterious, and certainly brings to mind a Martian landscape.  The Black Castle further north, just south of Boddin is a notable counterpoint to the aforementioned Red Castle, though regrettably purely via the realm of the imagination, as any brickwork there is long dispersed into the land and sea. I have on a few occasions visited the midden under the clifftop on which Black Castle once sat, and what a treacherous trudge it is. The coast here is peppered with potholes and scarred with gullies, snaking with slimy kelp and furred with voluminous broods of algae. I believe there is an old bedpost there, most of a tractor's engine, and other various modern items. One presumes you might have to excavate to some depth before any more aged relics might be recovered. Though I know that has been achieved in the past.