Second Writing Competition

Footprints in the sand

detail of reptile footprints found at clashach quarry elginThe second Hugh Miller Writing Competition launched on 1st November, at an evening lecture hosted by Edinburgh Geological Society to celebrate Scotland’s recent fossil finds. This unique competition is open to all, and invites prose and poetry entries from young people and adults inspired by the geology and landscape writings of Hugh Miller, and the fossil discoveries made in Scotland over the past 30 years.

Reptile footprints in the sand, Clashach quarry Elgin


Hugh Miller is one of Scotland's best-known geologists, and is also widely recognised for his role as a founder of the Free Church of Scotland and editor of the Witness newspaper in Edinburgh. His cottage in Cromarty, the Black Isle town of his birth, is a popular visitor attraction. Miller wrote several popular geology books, and was responsible for introducing Victorian society to the rich stories of Scotland's culture, landscapes and fossils.


Lara Reid, organiser of the competition and volunteer with the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and Friends of Hugh Miller charity, says “I am really excited to be launching the second competition today. The first competition was a huge success, and we were delighted by the unique, high quality entries we received that had Miller and his legacy at their heart. We hope that basing this second competition around Scotland’s fantastic fossil record will inspire writers young and old from across Scotland and beyond to take part.”


Angus Miller, chair of the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, says “This is a great opportunity to build on Hugh Miller's impressive record of fossil finds and his ability to bring these fossils to life through his magnificent writing. In recent years, there have been amazing new fossil finds in Scotland, helping to fill gaps in the evolutionary record, and we are delighted to be part of this project to build on Hugh Miller's legacy and encourage new writing about Scotland's fossils.”


Writer Robert Macfarlane has given his support to the competition this year, and adds: "Hugh Miller is one of the writers who gave me ‘deep-time spectacles’; his remarkable prose helped me, as it has helped so many people, to see back into earth history, and read our planet's ancient past from its present surface. He was, really, a visionary, and it is wonderful to see him still celebrated today."


The competition is being organised by a range of partners in the fields of geology and education, with a closing date of 15 April 2018. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh on Saturday, 16th June 2018.


For the competition rules, please see



Looking for inspiration??

Try Norrie Bissell's talk to the 2014 Cromarty Festival and enjoy the geopoetices of


or this article by Elsa Panciroli

Inspiration from the latest Scottish fossil finds


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