30th April 1736

Ochil Hills are struck by an earthquake

The Ochil Hills run by Perth, Kinross, Alloa and Stirling. They were formed around 400 million years ago by lava as it cooled along a fault line, and are characterised by a very steep slope, or escarpment, which serves as a dramatic backdrop to Stirling Castle. In 1736 they were the site of a significant earthquake.

As reported in the Caledonian Mercury on 10 May, several days after the disturbance, there was “a most terrible earthquake, there being two severe shocks about 11 o’clock forenoon [in the morning], and betwixt twelve and one at night three more, which were each time attended with a great noise under ground, and rent some houses, and so frighted a great many people that they fled out of their houses.”

Ochil Hills, as seen from the Wallace Monument
Ochil Hills, as seen from the Wallace Monument

Incorrect reporting

The report had not been precise on the exact date of the quake, stating merely that it had been some time around the beginning of May. However, a series of Notes on Individual Earthquakes published online by the British Geological Survey staked the date on 30 April 1736, and noted that although it was “very poorly documented” it was the earliest known event at Ochil Hills.

This was far from the only earthquake that Scotland has experienced over the years, with tremors having been recorded as early as the 1100s. A ‘swarm’ of earthquakes centred on Comrie for three years between 1788 and 1801. In 2017, tremors were felt right across the Highlands on the afternoon of 4 August.



Other events that occured in April

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