Tayport

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Tayport is one of the series of locations that exist on the south side of the Tay River, it being more or less across the water from Broughty Ferry, extending from Tentsmuir in the east, to Newport in the west.

        It's a pleasant place for a stroll, and there is a large amount of more diminutive material available, higher up on the shore, the tiny nodules being highly coloured with many broken pieces showing beautiful fortification patterns. Larger and generally more complete specimens are to be found at low tide, though these are hard won. Many are the times I've concentrated my efforts on the weedy, slippery and dark shingle close to the water, and found almost nothing, while my partner has cleaned-up while walking on the dry sunny pebble banks above.

    A huge array of agate types occur here, though many very sparingly. Zeolitic agates abound, though those that are well-marked are rare. Stalactitic agates are also a regular find, and occasionally reach grand sizes. Many of the larger nodules here consist of both quartz and Calcite, occasionally with agate also, in some cases the agate and Calcite integrating to some degree, creating wonderful patterning. Most  pieces you find here will be small, and brightly coloured fortification stones, from below 1cm to about 5 or 6cm. The larger pieces certainly do reach over 15cm, but those of high quality rarely seem to be any larger than 11 or 12cm. Moss agates are also a common find, though they tend to be non-descript for the most part, though wonderfully marked specimens do occur. I have not personally seen much in the way of Jasp-agates at the location, though others may have examples.

     The most coveted variety of agate to be found at Tayport is surely the plume agate, a variation among moss agates that only occurs rarely. I have three examples of plume agate to my name, and none of them were collected at Tayport. Of the 5 or so examples I know from other collections, one collected at Broughty Ferry looks as though it may be stromatolitic in origin, rather than being of a mossy persuasion as with the others. Plume agates here can be highly detailed, appearing like exotic forms of seaweed frozen in their languid undulations in pale chalcedony. A couple display very bright and gaudy colouration. A friend's example, it being the most recent specimen I know of to be found, is known as the "rhubarb and custard" agate. They are generally of small size, though I do believe larger examples will occur. The nature of the expansive Tay mud, slowly and incrementally revealing more of the source: the shingle hidden beneath, assures us that we will know, in due course, what wonders await.