Find out more about The Open University's Environment courses and qualifications.
Click on the icons below to find out where and when Scotland had its own goldrush, plus what has been made with Scottish gold and what the mining industry has left behind. Use the interactive map to explore where the next gold deposits may be found and why they occur where they do. Mining impacts people as well as the environment and the pins indicate some of the issues past present and future.
Acknowledgements, further references and information
Many thanks to Dr Gerry Mooney and Dr Julie Robson for their help with the interactive map and the work below.
The small village of Tyndrum, or to use its Gaelic name, Taigh an Droma, is not a place that would rank highly on any list of gold mining operations. Arguably it would not feature on many lists, and it has long been a place that has tended to be overlooked. For many years now, its main claim to fame has largely been its location on the main Glasgow to Highlands A82 road, which travels through some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland.
Tyndrum sits adjacent to a major travel crossroads in this part of the South West Highlands, an important stopping-off place for walkers, car and lorry drivers, and for train travellers: just south of the village in the neighbouring community of Crianlarich, the main West Highlands Railway line from Glasgow Queen Street divides, with some services journeying to the west coast and to the town of Oban, others heading north west toward Fort William, also situated on the west coast on the shores of Loch Linnhe. To the immediate north of Tyndrum, the A82 is crossed by the A85, heading west to Oban, with the A85 heading eastwards to Perth, Crieff and Stirling at Crianlarich. The A82 continues on its way north across Britain’s largest area of bog-land at Rannoch Moor, through the Glencoe Mountains towards Fort William.
The Crianlarich-Tyndrum area has long been an important crossroads. During the 1740s and 50s one of the key legacies of General Wade’s plans quell rebellious clans across the Highlands, was that two villages were soon cut through by important military roads.
Mining in Scotland
The Tyndrum Klondyke/Cononish Mine and where does the name come from and name of the river: https://www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/heritage/first-gold-mine-scotland-due-open-year-1410883https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/nov/08/gold-mining-tyndrum-scotland-scotgold
Link to a paper on Lead Mining in Tyndrum: www.nmrs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bm99lookinside.pdf
Article from Mining Technology on ‘Technological Innovation and Adaption: Tyndrum Lead Mine and the German Managers, 1838 to 1865: https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/bitstream/1893/21752/1/Mills%20proof%20German%20Mine%20Managerspdf.pdf
Gold from Highlands mine to be made into Scottish jewellery, The Guardian, 2 January 2020: www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/02/gold-highlands-mine-scottish-jewellery
Cononish Gold and Silver Mine, Scotland, Mining Technology: www.mining-technology.com/projects/cononish-gold-and-silver-mine/#:~:text=Cononish%20gold%20mine%20location%2C%20geology,Park%2C%20approximately%2090km%20from%20Glasgow.
Scotland prepares to strike it rich as its first goldmine opens... and it's filled with £255m of the precious metal’, The Daily Mail Online, from 26 October 2020: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8878391/Scotland-prepares-strike-rich-goldmine-opens-255m-precious-metal.html
Scotgold Resources Ltd: ‘Cononish Project: Background and activity information relating to Cononish Gold and Silver Project’: www.scotgoldresources.com/projects/cononish-project/
BBC News ‘The rollercoaster ride of Scotland's first gold mine’, from 2 December 2020: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-54886709
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Scottish Government Policy on NPs: www.gov.scot/policies/landscape-and-outdoor-access/national-parks/
Scotland's first national park opens, Guardian online, 24 July 2002: www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/jul/24/britishidentity.scotland
West Highland Railway Lines
YouTube video clips on Tyndrum: www.google.co.uk/search?q=History+of+Tyndrum&client=safari&hl=en-gb&prmd=inmv&sxsrf=ALeKk017FMKAjWLiSuS-v3hD74JBo9Cl9A:1607114465247&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjgxsH2l7XtAhX1snEKHTZeCnAQ_AUoBHoECAUQBA&biw=1024&bih=666
‘Cononish Gold and Silver Mine, Scotland’, Mining Technology, nd: https://www.mining-technology.com/projects/cononish-gold-and-silver-mine/#:~:text=Cononish%20gold%20mine%20location%2C%20geology,Park%2C%20approximately%2090km%20from%20Glasgow.
'Scotgold Resources Ltd: ‘Cononish Project: Background and activity information relating to Cononish Gold and Silver Project’: https://www.scotgoldresources.com/projects/cononish-project/
‘Gold in Scottish Highlands: surge in prices transforms village's prospects’, The Guardian, November 8, 2009’: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/nov/08/gold-mining-tyndrum-scotland-scotgold
The Open University’s geological virtual microscope
Virtual microscope homepage: https://www.virtualmicroscope.org/
Search page: https://www.virtualmicroscope.org/explore where gold can be typed into the rock forming mineral box to bring up an example of native gold.
Metalliferous ores: https://www.virtualmicroscope.org/content/metalliferous-ores