Not a species of wildlife, but a category of visitor. They are unmistakable with their map cases, sensible waterproofs, and rock hammers dangling from their belts. The  universities bring them annually to this geologically diverse area. Each trip must weigh a ton as we lose a little more pink granite, some rotten basalt and the  few precious fossil leaf beds. I suppose it is silly to get sniffy about this depletion. we have miles of dry stone walls (dykes) and rocks are never too far from the surface when you use spade or plough. There could be acres of fossils concealed in this volcanic and sedimentary area. In Northern Italy in the most modest villages, the marble paving slabs have literally dozens of huge ammonites  worn smooth underfoot.

So the common cry of locals declaring ‘there will be nothing of the island left’ is a an interesting one.I think it has much to do with the adjustment to the onslaught of the tourist season, so necessary ,yet so intrusive.  100 years ago marble was quarried here and can be found in many cities in the UK.I don’t expect there was any complaint about rock depletion there.

Geology students bring income to the island and their field trip can mark the beginning of a long term relationship with the area.The one I met this morning was very pleasant, she didn’t even complain about the muddy paw prints the dog left on her very smart waterproof jacket.

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