Whether you do Human Geography or Physical Geography, field work is a key part of your course. At Durham, you generally have at least one field trip a year. In my second year, I went to the Lake District and stayed at the Blencathra field study centre.
Before field trips, there are often preparation sessions. For this trip, we were assigned projects and groups to work in. Some of the projects included: wildfires, molehills, landslides, and sheep scar erosion. We had four weeks to decide how we would structure our project and how we would collect our data in our groups. This was slightly daunting because I didn’t know many people on my course, but everyone in my group turned out to be lovely.
The accommodation was very warm and ranged from rooms of two to rooms of four on this trip. However, depending on where the trip goes to, accommodation can vary significantly.
A day would consist of getting up at around 7:30 am for breakfast at 8:00 am and going to bed at around 10:30 pm. The trip lasted a week from Saturday to Friday and followed this schedule:
- Saturday: Arrive at Blencathra and go geocaching
- Sunday: This day was a coach tour around key areas in the Lake District. We also learned how to take notes in our field note book which came in handy during our data collection days.
- Monday: A techniques day where we spent the day around a river measuring things like river flow. Luckily the department sent waders (long wellies) so that we didn’t get (too) wet!
- Tuesday: Data collection for the project. Tuesday and Wednesday were probably the most physically challenging of all the days as we had to walk up and down the sides of the valley off path. Despite how tired I was, when we got to the top we got to look at some amazing views as well as slide down the slope at the end.
- Wednesday: This was another day of data collection. Unfortunately for my group, our GPS deleted our data! So we had to repeat our measurements from the day before. Luckily, we were much more efficient at collecting the data so got much more done.
- Thursday: 10 kilometre walk and working on group presentations.
- Friday: Presentation day! Each presentation lasted 15 minutes which included 3 minutes of questions from staff and other students.
Field trips in Geography will be challenging but definitely still some of the most fun, memorable and rewarding experiences during your time at Durham.
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