The A Level Geographers had a fantastic week away at Blencathra Field Studies Centre in the Lake District, with awe inspiring scenery, plenty of rewarding fieldwork, good fun and good food.

There was excitement from the first evening, as the minibus had to be parked down in the valley so that we wouldn’t be snowed in.  Indeed, low and behold, the next day we woke up to SNOW, proper stuff!  Perhaps, our planned day up to Watendlath Tarn wouldn’t be such a good idea!

Unperturbed, our hardy band of geographers, set out in the snow for the minibus at the bottom of the valley (stopping only to make a “Snowman”).  Happily reunited with the minibus, we made our way to Keswick where the students appraised a range of urban fieldwork techniques that they could use for their NEAs, whilst also appraising the local chippy.

On Wednesday, we visited Skinburness to conduct some beach field work. The students developed their profiling, sampling and measuring techniques.  It was extraordinarily cold, which made gathering measurements  challenging.  However, the majestic views of the glassy Solway Firth and the Scottish hills behind, along with an interesting variety of wading birds, more than compensated.

On Thursday, the students developed their understanding of the water and carbon cycle, whilst also learning some associated fieldwork techniques. Watendlath Tarn was “atmospheric “ not to say wet.  Not great working conditions, but it certainly enhanced everyone’s learning.

On the Friday the students honed their field-sketching techniques, and got one last chance to drink in the beautiful views around Blencathra.

After Bradley had tried to harvest some fresh air in a bag and Ashton had collected several bottles of spring water, we made our way home via Mc Donald’s (due to student pressure).  It’s amazing how many Mc Donald’s have closed for refurbishment in February (the students suspected witch-craft on my part)!  Three closed Mc Donald’s later, we roll into an anonymous (but open) roundabout outlet.   Still, it lead to an interesting conversation about “place making”.

The six and a half hour journey gave us plenty of time to consider place and space, as well as providing an excellent transect of the country (commentary provided by Tim), and the chance for a good sing song.

It was a privilege to spend a week with such a great group of students.  They worked hard, were courteous, helpful and fun.

Ashton gained the award for most clothing worn (four pairs of trousers!), as well as scooping the award for “slope style” in a fabulous pair of velour slacks.  Laura got the award for stoicism and singing. Hollie got the award for college out-reach and networking. Jack got an award for the greatest variety of hats (he had to be disqualified from the Elvis impersonator competition, for merely wearing a hat saying “The King”).  Bradley got an award for finally managing to stay upright by Friday and lead eco-warrior. Actual Grace and Lillie got the award for the best Grace impersonation (snow Grace had to be disqualified for having green hair).

We would all like to say an enormous THANK YOU! to Tim Delaney for being an ace minibus driver in tricky conditions, an entertaining local guide (where ever we were) and an all round good egg.  We’d also like to thank our wonderful FSC tutor Clare for her enthusiasm and flexibility.

All in all, a great week!

P.S – Past students, I did stop and think of you, as I carefully selected an unusual stone from the path and lobbed it into the Glenderaterra, and of course sanitised my hands after!

 

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