Mission Statement

The aim of the Scottish Stone Liaison Group is to enhance availability, promote utilisation and advance knowledge and skills in design, specification and use of indigenous Scottish stone in existing and new build projects.

The Natural Stone Institute

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Khartoum slate quarry, Ballachulish

The Committee is currently addressing the fact that there is NO Scottish Slate in production and this is considered the most pressing issue. The repair of any roof requiring Scottish Slate can only be undertaken by removing slate from another roof. The re-dressing of that material results in a loss of 30% to 40% and this simply cannot continue.

Progress has been made with two communities where there are known slate reserves - Ballachulish and Hills of Foudland. A block of slate was extracted from Khartoum Quarry, Ballachulish in August 2002. It was taken to a slate production unit and split into slate in October 2002. The slate samples are now being subjected to weathering tests at the University of Paisley by Dr Joan Walsh (author of the Historic Scotland Technical Advice Note No 21 entitled Scottish Slate Quarries).

The test results can be summarised as indicating the material was very durable but the test material did not split very well. The SSLG has met with the Glencoe Community Council and it has agreed, if funding is secured, to enable a core sampling exercise be undertaken.

During the summer another test was started on the quarries in the Foudland Hills, where there have been fairly extensive workings in the past, and the material secured has been forwarded to the University of Paisley for analysis. It is anticipated that the results from this analysis, which involves numerous wetting and drying cycles, will be available in February 2004.

Since there has been no Scottish slate quarried since 1955 a serious problem is now arising - the loss of the entire roof of the Morgan Academy by fire only underlines the fragile nature of Scotland’s ability to maintain its built heritage. The SSLG is working to address this serious material deficit.

It is a thought, but how could Scotland address its responsibilities to its built heritage were a similar catastrophic fire in say the World Heritage Sites of Edinburgh’s New and Old Town or the latest site in New Lanark.

Cullaloe Sandstone

The SSLG is aware that tests indicate that the sandstone Cullaloe (located in the southern part of Fife) is an ideal match to replace the now lost Craigleith sandstone, from which a considerable amount of Edinburgh is built. The SSLG brokered meetings with a commercial company and the holder of the materials rights of the Cullaloe Quarry and this has progressed to the stage where, following a test extraction of sandstone block, a planning application to open the quarry has been lodged.