Abstract

In the first paragraph of his discussion of our paper, Burton sets up his definition of what he thinks should have been the structure and purpose of our paper, his opinion of what a review should be and then complains that we did not follow his definition. We reject his definition, having defined our purpose in the abstract of our review. We were invited to write a short review of the Precambrian–Lower Palaeozoic tectonic history of Scotland. We structured the review around the topics that interest us; the paper was not, and could not be, an in-depth review of the opinion of everyone who had published relevant data and ideas on the topics covered in the paper. Our purpose, in the space allotted, was to present an overview review rather than a lengthy document argued in detail with references to everyone who had published on the topic. A full detailed analysis and review of the kind suggested would have been far too long for the Scottish Journal of Geology. The purpose of the paper is stated in the abstract and the last paragraph of the summary. There was no conscious effort to exclude Bluck's work; his work did not feature in our review, just as that of many hundreds of geologists who have also written on the subject. Several people who reviewed the manuscript, including the referees, made no mention of the absence of references to Bluck's published work, and it simply did not occur to us as we wrote it. We regret that this has caused offence. In our short review, we outlined our views and did not try to include and argue against all the different opinions with which we disagree. To have done so would have quadrupled the reference list and at least doubled the length of the paper. The whole Highland Border issue has been argued interminably for ages (often in the Scottish Journal of Geology) and, in the end, the consensus was against Bluck's views (e.g. Henderson et al. 2009). There is no point in bringing up arguments just to shoot them down; we do not see that as a positive legacy to Bluck, whose work in fluvial sedimentology was superb.

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