04 May 2022

Badly attended but lovely day in the field

Our field trip to Cwm Idwal was coming up again. I like the trip! And the weather forecast was good. Quite unlike on the day we had rather unsuccessfully done the other field trip within this module. The previous trip had not been well attended, and I had spent quite some time being rather frustrated about all these coaches we hire for students who just don't show up. It happens so often that we have to send an empty bus back to the coach company. And that is such a waste. I had decided to make the student sign up. I had already done that for the previous trip, but then I had only not reserved a spot for students who had specified they would've come. This time I would only reserve a space for a student who had explicitly stated they WOULD come. And I got 42 confirmations out of 71. Not an awful lot, but not unexpected either. And after having confirmed the numbers with the man who liaises with the coach company, three more students emailed me to say they couldn't come for various reasons.

The University had not long before announced it had relaxed its rules about occupancy of coaches; for a long time the rule had been that we could only put 50% of capacity in, but now that was raised to 80%. So with my 39-42 students, one coach would suffice. Unfortunately, our Health and Safety officer had decided we needed to do stick with the old rules for the rest of term. So, still two coaches were hired.

As the campus is diametrically opposed to the field site seen from my house, I left it to other staff who live on the other side of the Bangor to accompany the coaches. I drove myself. And at Idwal cottage I first met Jaco and then Lynda. Lynda had brought one of her dogs! That was a pleasant surprise. And not much later, the coaches arrived. Including a disgruntled Katrien who wasn't happy that only 21 students had showed up. I didn't like it either! But what can you do? I will be grumpy at the students who had indicated they would be there just didn't bother to show up, because it is rude to both the University and the environment to make empty coaches drive around. But now we had to just make the most of the day.

We had plenty of staff, so we could split up in small groups. And we did the tour of Cwm Idwal. We cover geology, glacial geomorphology, a tiny bit of botany, and then quite a lot of science history. I had good time with my group. We went anticlockwise around the lake, and Lynda's group was going in the other direction, so there was a bit more dog cuddling going on when we met roughly in the middle.

Cheeky robin at the parking lot

Into Cwm Idwal

See the colourful dots of the group ahead of us on the path

Group pic (taken by Emily)

By the end of the day we were disappointed about the numbers, glad with how the day had gone with those who had showed up, and all in love with the dog (especially our technician Gareth, who was there as our first aider). And then I could go home and continue my preparations for the upcoming dissertation presentations!

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