AN amateur geologist who has had a lifelong interest in the outdoors and wildlife has gifted a collection of rock samples to the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to help students gain a rock-solid education.

Calum Anton, from Fortrose, on the Black Isle, gave UHI more than 50 rock samples, including rare specimens from around the Highlands and Islands, the rest of Scotland and Europe.

Among the highlights are ammonite fossils, Pahoehoe lava from the Azores and fossils of an extinct type of oyster called Gryphaea, commonly known as Devils Toenails due to their curved and bumpy appearance.

They are on display at the UHI Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Hub on its Inverness Campus and will be used by school pupils and students from UHI’s geography degree course.

Anton said he was around 17 when he became interested in geology and found crystals in a lump of white quartz in a drainage ditch in Strathyre Forest. He said: “From that, I hope this small but broad selection of rocks and minerals, largely from Scotland, will stimulate an early interest and direction in schools and students in the Highlands. That gives me great satisfaction.”