Sunday, 23 May 2010

Before dinosaurs roamed Arran

On the Monday evening Sliddery was the venue for the tracking of pre-dinosaur reptiles that roamed Arran about 230 million years ago. Several trackways have been discovered there by local enthusiasts, Jean and John Fitzpatrick. The animal that made the footprints were described as the 'Hand Beast of Arran', or scientifically as Isochirotherium. But what was the animal like that made these footprints? There was one animal that may have fitted the bill, but it is known form a single skeleton on Ticino in Switzerland; Ticinosaurus. A large komodo dragon-sized lizard that lived at about the same time as these footprints were made.

It was not until about 2000 that the first footprint came to light near to Blackwaterfoot. Since then, several hundred footprints of this elusive animal with the hand-shaped footprint have turned up from Kildonan to the King's Caves. On the Tuesday morning another group made there way across the hill past Drumadoon to the raised beaches before the King's Caves. Here, the first footprint was seen in a secluded stream in the hillside above the rocky beach. It was on the beach that the next discoveries were made, as several dozen footprints were discovered below high-water on the rocky platform. Both days were perfect for sighting these footprints and we were not disappointed!