The Angus & Kincardine area stretches from just north of Dundee, up to Stonehaven on the East Coast of Scotland. They are famous agate locations and popular with many collectors.
Usan Blue Hole Agates
This is arguably the most famous agate location in Scotland (or it once was). It was discovered in the nineteenth century and was exploited by only two or three collectors, who between themselves extracted the best agates. The locality is a couple of miles south of Montrose near Usan House, and is now unfortunately lost to collectors as it is covered up. Agates from this location were a characteristically brilliant inky deep blue and white, which made a very striking combination. Examples of blue hole agates can still be seen at the natural history museum in Edinburgh (please see pictures of these above). Suffice to say I don’t have any in my collection, so please don’t ask as I would love to have even just one!
Montose is an extensive agate location 25 miles north of Dundee which has Ferryden and Scurdie Ness lighthouse at the mouth of it’s river. Agates of many different varieties are found here and in particular onyx agates predominate along the rugged Coastline. In recent years it has become very difficult to locate good loose agates, but the best time to find them is after big storms and high tides, which bring up agates onto the shoreline. The Scurdie Ness agates range from nice grey fortification type, to lovely pink eye agates. Their colour range is from grey through to dark brown.
Barras Quarry Agates (Black Quarry)
This quarry opened in the late 1960’s, and lies 15 miles north of Montrose. After many years of production it has now closed, and getting agates from Barras of any large size is very difficult. The name ‘ black quarry’ was given due to the very dark colour of the agates from here. The vast majority of these agates have little or no associated quartz, making them highly sought after by collectors. Their colours range from pale cream, brown, heather, blue, and purple, all the way through to very nearly solid black. Fortification banding predominates, and the most interesting of these agates have what is termed ‘deformation banding’. This is where tubes of escape reach the outer skin and show up as spots across the agate surface.
St Cyrus Agates
The small village of St Cyrus lies 5 miles north of Montrose, and lovely onyx agates of different colours can be found on the beach and surrounding rocks. It can be a hazardous area to look for agates as the late Harry Scott from Edinburgh found out, sadly, whilst on a collecting trip. He had discovered some large superb agates on a cliff, and when he loosened two to three tonnes of rock above to release them, the rocks fell on him killing him instantly.