On Friday 5th May, 24 geographers and 6 teachers had an early start to begin the L6th Geography field weekend to the Lake District. The purpose of this trip was to collect data to aid us in writing an Independent Investigation - a piece of coursework which accounts for 20% of our A level. The Lake District was an excellent destination for us as it is a previously glaciated area which also has some villages and towns. We had the opportunity to choose between a physical and human based investigation.
Around noon we arrived at Castle Head Field Centre, which lies between the southern fells of the Lake District and the shores of Morecambe Bay. Shortly after arriving, we had our first classroom session of the trip. This was given by two of the camp’s teaching staff, Mel and Tors, who did a really good job of keeping us entertained. They were to help us to prepare for our investigations for the next few days.
After a briefing of the weekend, we headed out to Grange-Over-Sands, a small town only five minutes from the field centre. Here we split off into groups of four to record data including sound and crime levels and emotional feelings, and to carry out environmental surveys and questionnaires. After a productive day in Grange, we had another classroom session to conclude our findings and learn about different types of data. In the evening, we had great fun playing table tennis and indoor football, two activities provided by the centre.
Saturday began with a bit of later start, but we were all up and ready in time for the third classroom session of the trip, during which we planned the methods we were to use later in the day. Three mini buses then set out to Coppermines Valley at Coniston, a 40 minute drive with a stop for supplies along the way. The rock at Coniston is part of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group which was eroded by glaciers 450 million years ago to create the landforms present today. We were to be studying these remains, working out the direction of ice flow and getting a feel of what would be involved if we were to choose to study a physical question.
On arrival, we were faced by a steep walk to reach our first destination where we looked at the rotation of glacial debris. Measurements of individual rocks were taken in order to work out the direction of ice flow. We then progressed to look at striations which are scratches cut into the rock by glacial abrasion. This interestingly showed a direction of ice movement that matched the flow shown by the previous recordings. Following this data collection, we headed further up the mountain and stopped for lunch on a scenic hillside overlooking the valley. This boosted our energy levels for what was to come, as half an hour later we had made it to Levers Water - a large tarn set in a hollow created by a corrie glacier. Moral was high after the ascent and we all awed at the expanse of the view.
The rest of the day consisted of a trek back down the valley, followed by another evening classroom session. This was the turning point of the trip as we had to decide whether we were going to base our investigations on the town of Grange or the valley at Coniston. The aim of the first two days was to give us an idea of possible investigations we could choose to carry out. Personally, I chose to answer a question regarding globalisation in Grange rather than going back to the valley. This meant that on the third day, I headed back to the town to collect data with a few others who were researching a similar question to me.
A group of 8 went back to the valley with Mr De Rosa and Miss Walker to look at glaciation. The weather was on their side and they managed to have a shallow paddle in a small river after a hard day's work. The students in Grange also enjoyed the fine temperatures and took the odd break from surveys and questionnaires to buy an ice cream. The main focus however was to gather enough material to analyse then link to our research hypotheses. I asked some questions to a number of people, such as where they were from or how they found the service provisions in Grange. It was interesting to see that the outcome was largely positive and the majority of the responders used words such as pretty, peaceful and friendly to describe the town.
During the final sessions of the weekend, we concluded our findings and practiced doing some statistical tests on our results. By midday on Monday, we were satisfied with the progress we had made and felt prepared for the coursework ahead. It was a fantastic weekend and we are very grateful for all the help from the staff involved.