Ferryden

Ferryden I got to know at the age of 10, or 11, and was the third location after Barras and St Cyrus that my parents brought me to. It wasn't until I was older that I ventured much beyond the lighthouse, and thus into Scurdie Ness territory proper. Ferryden is usually not as productive its sister location, presumably partly because its shores are protected from the full scourge of the winter storms by the banks of the Esk. Unusual agates can be found here however, including specimens of stalactitic agate, tube agate, and highly intricate fortification agates similar in patterning to those found at Usan, though being different in colour. 

Sagenite I have encountered occasionally, and forms of crystalline pseudomorphs do occur rarely. Onyx or, water-level agates are scarce here, yet the celebrated "Ferryden Blue" is, in my experience, not nearly as scarce as suggested. In some areas in fact, blue specimens are fairly abundant. However, it may simply be the case that I am not aware of what specific qualities constitute a stone befitting that particular moniker.

 

As with Scurdie Ness, nodules here are generally of an inferior quality to those found at locations to the north and south, and many are filled mainly with quartz. Exceptional specimens are difficult to come by, and most are diminutive in size. Certain areas of the andesitic rock outcropping around the lighthouse offer larger agates still in situ, and careful searching here also reveals examples in the rockpools. Fields close to shore, and further inland can also be productive sources, although generally of highly fractured and weathered blue-grey stones, with orange and red colours occurring only occasionally.  

 

Other denizens of the area include the unnerving King Ragworm, a frilly, gilled monstrosity with black-tipped chitinous mouthparts resembling a crab's claw. Usually an ethereal sea green colour and reaching lengths of three feet on rare occasion, I have a vivid memory of my father uncovering one in a Ferryden rockpool, and me being aghast at the notion that the thing was just too unpredictable to dig out in the hope of finding out just how long it actually was. I remember reading later, that the impressive mandibles on the largest worms, have the ability to draw blood from a finger.  

      It was here also, during a blazing July afternoon that in my pursuit of agates in the potholes around the lighthouse, I disturbed a furious Squat Lobster, in brilliant orange and scarlet armour plated carapace. Dressed for an amorous affair with the female of its species, it torpedoed through the lukewarm pool like a Mantis Shrimp, and I did not attempt to handle him. I did find two large agates in the pools that day, yet both upon cutting, much, much later, flew apart under the diamond blade, being very fractured. 

      Yet, those stones, were distinctly Scurdie pieces, and thus are reserved to be discussed elsewhere. 

       In any case, Ferryden is a fine location for a spot of rockpooling and gemstone collecting, being among the most easily accessible of the locations in the area, and its rocky coves concealing enough nooks and crannies to hide fine agates from prospecting visitors even under considerable duress. Surprises remain, no doubt, and unusual ones at that. If the industrial machinations across the Esk on the Northern bank are ignored, Ferryden is also picturesque, especially in high summer. Of course, Scurdie is a far more desolate proposition. That leads me onwards in thought dear reader......