Post by Kirsty Duffy, 2nd year BSc Geography student
From Monday April 15th to Saturday April 20th, 34 2nd year BSc geography students and 4 members of staff travelled to the Lake District for this year’s field class module. After a short journey in the mini buses, the group arrived at the hostel and settled in after sorting out rooms. After a brief lunch break we were off out, togged up in warm and waterproof gear ready for all possible weathers. The group walked for about an hour as the staff familiarised us with the Langdale area. Richard educated us about the native trees of the Lake District and much to most student’s horror, Neil shared with us the dead sheep he had found by the river which also turned out to be a good indication of recent flooding. After the walk, we stopped off at the nearby pub for a drink or two. With no warning of the route back, several rather unfit students trekked up and over a very steep hill back towards the hostel; though some found it very easy and managed to run it. At our allocated time of 6.30, the group sat down to devour a very hearty three course meal followed by a relaxed evening spent in the hostel’s common room.
On a very windy Tuesday morning we were up dressed and ready for the day by 9am. The staff drove us to Langdale Valley where we would partake in group activities that aimed to familiarise us with the field work equipment, as well as giving us some ideas for the forthcoming group projects. However, we were frequently disrupted by the high gusts of wind that meant most of the time was spent running after flying maps or notebooks, a few of which were salvaged from the river. Nonetheless, the day was good and we managed to fill our notebooks with enough data ready for calculations later that day. After the field work we stopped off at the pub for a drink before heading back to the hostels – this time in the mini buses – for dinner. The evening was spent sorting out the group projects, ready for the next day. Students being students, we took full advantage of the well-stocked hostel bar before retiring to our rooms for some much needed shut eye.
Day 3 & 4
Wednesday started off in a light drizzle as the groups collected their equipment and headed off to their chosen field sites. There was a good range of projects including macro invertebrate study, mapping of the non-native sycamores and chemical analysis of lake samples. Over the two days of group work, the students got on well with their individual projects, most working up to the early evening.
The last full day of the field class and by now the groups had collected their data and were busy preparing their presentations for the evening. Another great dinner cooked by the hostel staff, topped off with an irresistible sponge pudding, and we were ready for the graded oral presentations. A system of ‘tallest goes first’ – courtesy of Richard, the groups took turns to present their findings across the 2-3 days’ work. After about 2 hours of presenting and listening, everyone was looking forward to an evening of socialising and relaxing. Not forgetting a drink to celebrate a great week in the lakes… or two… or three.