Skip to content
  • Activity

Scotland's gold trail

Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021

Did you know that Scotland has strong ties with gold mining? Discover the locations where the precious metal is found.

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:

Link to a paper on Lead Mining in Tyndrum:

Article from Mining Technology on ‘Technological Innovation and Adaption: Tyndrum Lead  Mine and the German Managers, 1838 to 1865:

Gold from Highlands mine to be made into Scottish jewellery, The Guardian, 2 January 2020:

Cononish Gold and Silver Mine, Scotland, Mining Technology:,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:

Scotgold Resources Ltd: ‘Cononish Project: Background and activity information relating to Cononish Gold and Silver Project’:

BBC News ‘The rollercoaster ride of Scotland's first gold mine’, from 2 December 2020:


Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Scottish Government Policy on NPs:

Scotland's first national park opens, Guardian online, 24 July 2002:


West Highland Railway Lines and


General sources

YouTube video clips on Tyndrum:

‘Cononish Gold and Silver Mine, Scotland’, Mining Technology, nd:,Park%2C%20approximately%2090km%20from%20Glasgow.

'Scotgold Resources Ltd: ‘Cononish Project: Background and activity information relating to Cononish Gold and Silver Project’:

‘Gold in Scottish Highlands: surge in prices transforms village's prospects’, The Guardian, November 8, 2009’:


The Open University’s geological virtual microscope 

Virtual microscope homepage:

Search page: where gold can be typed into the rock forming mineral box to bring up an example of native gold.

Metalliferous ores:


Become an OU student

Creative commons image Icon Natural Resources Conservation Science under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
BSc (Honours) Environmental Science free course icon


BSc (Honours) Environmental Science

This degree explores the multiple disciplines needed to understand, manage and protect the world we live in. Learn to assess environmental problems, propose solutions, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the natural environment. You'll study topics, including conservation, ecology, ecosystems, environmental management and renewable energy. Develop your scientific and technical knowledge and skills, and learn how to apply them to environmental challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainability. As a valued environmental science graduate, you'll be able to pursue a career in a diverse range of fields.

OU course
Creative commons image Icon United Nation Photo under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license
BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences free course icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences

This degree is ideal if you’re keen to study a specific area of science, or interested in studying across the scientific disciplines. Many of the challenges facing society today will involve a cross-disciplinary approach and this degree provides you with the opportunity to explore a range of sciences. It starts with a wide-ranging introduction to highly topical areas of modern science, giving you a good grounding in each before specialising. You can then continue with a broad-based approach, where you select modules in areas of interest to you. Or choose one of six specialist routes: astronomy and planetary science; biology; chemistry; earth sciences; environmental science; or physics. Your choice of specialism will be included in the name of your degree, for example, BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Chemistry).

OU course
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Keribevan |
Earth science free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology 

Earth science

This wide-ranging on-screen module introduces a scientific study of the earth across the spectrum of scale ? from shifting continents to the microscopic; and time ? from the 4.5 billion year age of the earth to geological processes that happen in a flash. Your studies will include fossil life, erupting volcanoes, mountain building, and the record of earth's changing surface environments. The teaching materials will develop your practical skills using geological maps, microscopes, and many types of field data, alongside developing your general science and study skills. You'll also learn fieldwork skills via virtual field trips or the optional four-day residential field school (for which there is additional cost).

OU course
Creative commons image Icon Image by Nigdabike on under Creative-Commons license
Environment: responding to change free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Environment: responding to change

This interdisciplinary module will equip you to take an active part in sustainability debates. It will provide a guide to the mass of information currently available on key environmental issues, including conservation of biodiversity, adaptation to climate change and long-term food security. It will encourage you to look at these issues from multiple perspectives and to take a holistic view of environmental systems, including how we value them. An investigation strand will run throughout the module, in which you'll look at an aspect of your local environment or consumption behaviour to evaluate the possibilities of future response to change.

OU course

More like this

Creative commons image Icon Image by James St. John. under Creative Commons BY 4.0 license
Digging for gold and other precious metals article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Digging for gold and other precious metals

Where do the metals we use come from and what determines where we get them from? Dr Julie Robson focuses on the highly sought-after metal of gold, which actually occurs with other metals including silver, copper and lead.

Creative commons image Icon Image by Popo le Chien from Wikipedia under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license
What environmental harm is caused by mining? article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

What environmental harm is caused by mining?

Dr Avi Boukli, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Social Policy and Criminology, looks at the impact of mining in Cerro de Pasco, Peru - home to one of the most polluted places on Earth.

Creative commons image Icon NASA Goddard under CC-BY under Creative-Commons license
Nature on the balance sheet audio icon

Nature & Environment 

Nature on the balance sheet

Are we losing nature by not putting enough value on it? Monty Don asks Tony Juniper and Bill Adams in this extended interview from Shared Planet.

15 mins
Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC
Breathing Places: Introduction article icon

Nature & Environment 

Breathing Places: Introduction

Get involved, as we look for the signs of nature adapting to Autumn around the country.






Related content (tags)

Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?