North of the wall part 1 (The day to day life and making friends with the staff)

I’m back and as promised here is a summarised account of the independent fieldwork I undertook in the desolate but somewhat magical lands of NW Scotland. For ease of reading I have divided the trip up into 4 segments and, rather like a soap opera, will display two this week and the other two next week.
So ladies and gentlemen hold onto your seats for this week’s exciting instalment is all about the day to day schedule and the lodge staff.

So on an ordinary field trip the lecturers will have you up and out by 9am sharp and it is likely that you will be toiling away in the field until 5 pm (6:40pm once!). However, the great thing about independent field trips is that there are no lecturers to install a departure time and so we never left the lodge much before 10 am. Me and my mapping partner Kat would then spend the morning counting down to lunchtime, eat lunch, comment on how 1:10 pm was the worst time of the day and then spend the afternoon counting down to tea time. We tended to be home between 4 and 5 each day. We would then spend the evening inking in our penciled daytime ideas, cooking the evening meal and probably eating too much chocolate.

Ready to hammer open some rocks

Ready to hammer open some rocks

Another major part of day to day life was the weather. Now I’d like to think that Kat and me are pretty tough people, i mean we had gale force winds (gusts up to 80 mph!), rain, sun, and cold and we went out in all of these. But the few days we had off the weather was warm, damp, slightly sunny with no wind – why you ask? Because in scotland at this time of year that is perfect weather for midges. I’m not talking one or two, i’m talking swarms, literal clouds! I’d never seen such a battle force of flying insects before, the only joy they gave us was dying, crushed between the pages of our slammed shut notebooks.

Us hiding in our midge nets, sort of like a bomb shelter

Us hiding in our midge nets, sort of like a bomb shelter

 

Five weeks is a long time but it was a great opportunity to get to know the staff at the Inchnadamph lodge. The owner and founder Chris is a brilliant man whose sense of humour takes a bit of getting used to but once he realised that we posed no threat to the serenity of the lodge we  came to befriend him (I believe, but you can’t really be sure). He would take other guests on a tour of the lodge and in the dining room where we worked would announce “This is the dining room and here are the geologists.” We came to meet his crazy dog called Sheba that wanted nothing more than to accompany us on our fieldwork. The other staff got friendly with us too and shared hilarious stories about other university geology departments and why one of them got banned! I obviously can’t share this with you dear readers for that is something that you must go to the Inchnadamph lodge and find out for yourselves (or ask me in person). They never charged us for washing because we were there for such a long time and when we came to leave I felt almost sad to go, even though I was so sick of rocks I never wanted to see another piece of limestone again!

Where we stayed... just kidding! These are the ruins of an old house where we mapped.

Where we stayed… just kidding! These are the ruins of an old house where we mapped.

Talking of rocks, the next episode of ‘North of the wall’ will explain some of the geology of our project and some funny anecdotes about the other guests staying with us. So tune in next week for North of the wall part 2!

 

Even though we had been there for five long weeks, we still couldn't hate the beauty of the place.

Even though we had been there for five long weeks, we still couldn’t hate the beauty of the place.

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Eleri

About Eleri

Eleri has now graduated from the University of Leicester. Hello! My name is Eleri Simpson and I'm a 4th (and final!) year geology student at the University of Leicester. The parts of my course that I love the most are: mapping, igneous and metamorphic processes, geochemistry and volcanology. Outside of learning I'm part of the First Aid society and the University concert band, where I play the clarinet. I enjoy evenings at the pub, cooking, walking in the countryside and a good cup of tea.

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2 responses to “North of the wall part 1 (The day to day life and making friends with the staff)”

  1. Kathryn Clarkson

    Not the most attractive picture we’ve ever done…

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