On Sunday 12 March at the unearthly hour of 9.00am a group of L6th boys lead by Mr Newbury, Mrs Taylor and Mr Ravenscroft boarded the school minibus for the annual fieldtrip to the Lake District. Our first stop after the Esso garage in Bury was Tebay services where we couldn’t actually afford to buy anything and even Mrs Taylor only bought a cup of tea.
We arrived in Carlisle at lunchtime and immediately set to work making notes on and taking pictures of the £38-million-pound flood defenses put in after the flooding of 2005 to protect the city. We learned about the floodplain zoning, observed the pumping stations and man-made levees, all of which were developed to withstand a 1 in a hundred-year flood but failed to protect the city during Storm Desmond some six years after they were developed. Highlights included trying not to get our trainers destroyed by mud, avoiding dog faeces and a water vole (or was it an otter) on the banks of the River Eden.
The afternoon was spent mapping land use in the city centre in response to the question “Is Carlisle a clone town?” And then we set off to go to Borrowdale Youth Hostel. The Hostel is in a beautiful setting near Seatoller. Lovely location but not good for the stomach in the long minibus that bounces everywhere.
We settled quickly into our rooms and then had a wander around the grounds trying to obtain mobile signal. This failed so we tried to get the house next door to allow us to piggy-back on its wifi….to no avail. We quickly came to accept that we were stuck in the middle of nowhere with no wifi, no signal and no TV….mmmmm. What was even more worrying was that Mrs Taylor had told us we were doing hours of work at night….mmmm. She was right.
Monday was our main Physical Geography day. We left Borrowdale at 9.00am prompt for Glederraterra Beck. We carted ranging poles, drain pipe, flow meters, tape measures, clinometers and dog biscuits up the side of the river valley and proceeded to collect data at a dozen sites down a steep sided valley. Mrs Taylor supervised, Mr Newbury splashed us, Matthew Donnelly spent a lot of time slipping but we got the job done. Highlight was Matt moving along to the last site and disappearing up to his waist in a sphagnum bog. It took two teachers to pull him out. After measuring slope angles and infiltration rates we got back to the minibus for our lunch at 3.00pm….six hours in a river!
That evening post meatball horrors… we wrote up fieldwork. We missed the football, we had no signal or contact with the world. We worked until after nine…apparently we will look back fondly on this like many old boys do. Apparently, we will forget everything about school but remember our field trips…we will see. We will remember the food…we will remember how expensive Keswick was….we will remember the horror of Mr Newbury’s CD collection.
Tuesday was in Keswick along with every other school in the North of England harassing poor unsuspecting tourists and shopkeepers. If anyone drove through Keswick on Tuesday, then there is no doubt that they will appear in someone’s GCSE or A level data. There was nothing else left to do in the afternoon other than sleep on the bus- well it was better than listening to Ricky Martin or Busted.
To be honest it was enjoyable and we certainly got our money’s worth out of our teachers- we had the equivalent of weeks’ worth of input in the three days. Thank you to all.
The L6th Geography Group.