Skip to content ↓

South Dartmoor
Community College

Year 12 Geography trip

Whilst the South Dartmoor community was slumbering, cosy in their beds in the depths of the night, Year 12 geographers slipped off to start the annual field trip to the Isle of Arran. Keenly awaiting the arrival of the 2:45am Falcon bus to Bristol Airport, excitement illuminated Drumbridges roundabout and the size of the merry throng scared the driver!

Clearing bag drop and security as quickly as possible, the boys found the allure of duty-free cologne irresistible whilst the girls refilled their water bottles.  After a slightly lumpy flight, fifteen happy Sixth Form students descended the steps to Glasgow’s tarmac in glorious sunshine and biting temperatures to find the local bus to take them to the fifth mode of transport; the train to Ardrossan Harbour, with the ferry still awaiting. All this before break time!

Finally, after 12 hours in transit and a journey that included cars, coaches, aeroplanes, local buses, trains and a ferry, they finally made it to their destination. Slightly windswept, a little bit jaded, but definitely impressed by the beauty of the island scenery and with only the wrangling of duvets/pillows into fresh bedding and the consumption of a hearty evening meal left on the to-do list, a good night’s sleep was eagerly anticipated!

The first full day began with changeable conditions and very deep puddles after the first four-course breakie! An extended session in the classroom reviewing field-sampling methods and strategies helped avoid the worst of the deluge and, with clouds breaking and sun sparkling on freshly fallen rain, the class set out to practice data collection on the Lochranza Saltmarsh before returning to the centre for self-made sandwiches at lunch.

The afternoon included the introduction of footpath impact studies and kite graph analysis. Beautiful weather, with a little taste of Winter as a backdrop. After a hearty dinner, there was a well-focused evening classroom session to finish the day off.

Evenings in the student common room were equally structured with table tennis, pool and cards featuring highly as the class maximised away from home downtime.

On the morning of day two for our Year 12 geographers, heavy rain cleared to reveal the promised snow-capped peaks as a backdrop for a quick look at the polygenesis of the landscape and some glacial clast orientation research, before being whisked on to part two in the centre's two electric minibuses!

For the second half of day two, the weather returned to being more typically Scottish! Snowy peaks were shrouded in murky mist, making the sketching and note taking more tricky with soggy paper and imagined landscape views. However, spirits remained high, and the promise of a deluxe hot chocolate by the bus stop in a wonderful warm café spurred the troops on!

The third and final day of the geography pilgrimage involved surveying the change in characteristics of settlements around the island. Fresh from the usual four-course breakfast, the team set off to survey Brodick, Lamlash, Blackwaterfoot and Lochranza.

With dry feet and firm underfoot conditions, all enjoyed the opportunity to sample the delicacies offered by these semi-urban environments by visiting a Co-op supermarket to restock on teenage-flavoured nosh. Plenty of new techniques learnt, both qualitative and quantitative, providing our young geographers with the skills to tackle the more subjective realm of human geography! With one evening session left, delirium started to set in with the prospect of balmy, tropical Devon rain rising in the mind.

Leaving brings such sorrow, especially if you’re a teenager needing to get up at 6am to get to it! The long hard days of crafting enquiry skills in the hills and survey techniques on the streets had swollen their brains as much as the fine catering had swollen Mr. Hodge’s waistline.

Our fine young people had worked hard and with pride equal to the excellent impression they left on everyone they met. Bus and taxi drivers, centre managers and tutors and, most importantly, the residents of the island all complemented their exemplary conduct and most friendly characters. 

Thank you to the parents who entrusted us with their children, and the community who followed our progress on social media. We can’t wait to take next year’s group on this ultimate eye-opening adventure.