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From Writer to Rockhound: Crystals are Calling

Katriona Macmillan is an author by day and a Scottish Rockhound and Crystal Supplier by night.

A Cave on the Scottish Coast (Hunting Crystals)

A Cave on the Scottish Coast (Hunting Crystals)

One Day a Friend Found some Quartz...

A few years ago, a friend of my brother was staying with us on holiday. He is a bit of a crystal guru although I didn't know it at the time.

A week or so into his stay, my brother and I were both working. We left this poor friend to entertain himself for a day or two. Another friend volunteered to take him up north and show him the sights of Scotland. There's a lot to see and a full lifetime couldn't cover it all, so of course he agreed and the two headed north together.

A full day passed, I arrived back from a kitchen shift, and there were lumps of quartz all over my living room. I thought it was hilarious when he explained to me that it was mountain quartz, perfect, and might even be worth something. I thought it was hilarious until I held it in my hand and took a good long look.

The fractures, the rainbow refraction, the smokiness and the clarity all hit me at once. This quartz was beautiful and it was just lying around all over the mountains. I decided there and then that I would take the trip north and see for myself.

They weren't wrong. There's quartz in them there hills. And the knowledge of quartz has driven me to some of my life's greatest adventures so far.

An agate found on the west coast of Scotland

An agate found on the west coast of Scotland

The Birth of a Rock Hound

When my German friend headed home, I took note of where he had been and I retraced his steps. Sure enough, I found a mountain crumbling into quartz pieces, exactly where he said it would be. I didn't climb it, I couldn't. I couldn't get past the quartz lumps. I spent all day sifting through the scree to look for clarity and depth like what I had been shown.

When I cam home that day, it was with a handful of small pieces of quartz that I thought were excellent. It was with one or two rocks I couldn't explain, and it was with a newfound understanding of the world we live in. A day spent looking at rocks might seem boring as hell to most people... but I was hooked. I was heading down the rabbit hole head first.

To be fair though, even nowadays I wouldn't turn back if you paid me.

A Smokey Quartz Agate Geode from up north

A Smokey Quartz Agate Geode from up north

A Hobby of a Lifetime

In the beginning, I was just hunting crystals for myself. I wanted to find prettier and prettier ones. I learned I had an eye for agate, even though it took me a while to be able to spot it. I thought I might end up as the quartz lady, providing mountain quartz to the masses.

One day, I drove all the way out to the north, parked up on the mountain, then went off to collect. On the way back the mountain iced over, the paths became impassable. I got into a little bit of trouble. I had to call a tow truck to come and pull me back off the mountain... but I couldn't help myself, I kept going back.

It's not as much about the collecting as it is about the going outside and being in nature. I'm a wild camper, a nature enthusiast, and the type who can start fend for herself. Except, of course, when it comes to getting stuck on mountainsides!

The shock! The horror!

The shock! The horror!

Learning to take your phone

What have I learned? I've found out how to spot certain crystals, I've gained confidence in my own ability, and it has made me healthier. It led me to the hobby of gold panning, which I like - but not as much as rockhounding.

It's led me to make a lifelong bond with the friend who got me into it. So much so, in fact, that we have decided to go into business together to produce a crystal shop that - well, that isn't quite as ordinary as the others are.

A monster agate from the north of Scotland

A monster agate from the north of Scotland

Making back petrol money

What started as me selling a couple of crystals in order to make back the petrol money to go explore some more, has now grown to become its own thing. Our new crystal shop is going to sell the best finds we pick up from up and down the country.

As well as exploring for crystals, we are able to hand-polish them, cut and shape them, and even turn them into jewellery. If you want to get in on this all-natural, rough crystal action, then we want your custom. Pop us a visit to see what goodies might be waiting to be united with their forever homes.

Find our new crystal shop - The stone Circle - online at:


Hand-Polished Jasper and Calcite in host rock

Hand-Polished Jasper and Calcite in host rock

Still Writing though

Don't panic... Just because I have discovered a love of rocks does not mean I have forgotten about the writing. The new book is in the works, in the editing stages, and will hopefully be out by summer. Stay tuned... I am working hard!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Katrionawrites


Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 12, 2021:

Wow! Those are beautiful rocks. It is a nice hobby to enjoy.

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