The last field trip that our undergraduates take is the fourth year, Part III trip to Spain. Run in the break between Lent & Easter term the trip aims to gather all the aspects of the course and put them together as a cohesive whole. Other trips focus on specific research areas: e.g. Sedimentology and Petrology – the 1B Southwest trip to Dorset & Cornwall, or Geophysics in Greece, or developing mapping skills in Sedburgh & on Skye. The Spain trip can be seen as the closing bookend to our students’ discovery (and love) of geology that begins on the first year trip to the Isle of Arran.
In August 2018 I was lucky enough to join a CASP expedition to Bear Island, in the Norwegian High Arctic, as a field assistant and as part of my Part III project.
My journey to the arctic began as so many do, in Heathrow airport. We unloaded the minivan-sized taxi required to get all our gear to the airport, and I walked in to the entrance of Terminal 2 wearing a big coat, carrying two heavy gear bags and a rifle case. We drew some looks. I couldn’t help but feel excited and important.
Then I realised I had left my phone in the taxi. Panic descended.Continue reading “Tales from Bear Island: a month of Arctic fieldwork (or, four weeks without a phone)”
In July 2017, I found myself on my first non-compulsory fieldtrip as an undergraduate, in a group of 5 with two academic staff members and two PhD students heading to the Isle of Rum in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. The trip had been planned initially for my Masters project, but with Rum such a famous geological locality, everyone had work they wanted to do there.
Early Sunday morning the department was full of life as bleary eyed finalists arrived eager for their final field trip. The Spanish coastline would not disappoint, a week of beautiful sunshine and exciting, challenging geology lay ahead.
Spain 2016 outshone Spain 2015 the moment the plane took off from Gatwick Airport. David Hodell, our mighty leader, breathed a sigh of relief when French Air Traffic Control decided not to strike at the same time as the Cambridge fourth-year Earth Sciences fieldtrip. 29 students and 8 demonstrators left the drizzle behind us and landed in sunny south-east Spain. A quick change into shorts in the airport loos and we were ready for terrible sunburn.