Physical skills fieldtrip

On a mild Friday morning in November, just five weeks into University life, I boarded a coach full of tired (and probably hungover) teenagers, about to embark on our Physical Geography fieldtrip to Wytham Woods. Situated to the West of Oxford, the short journey amazingly awoke everyone to begin a day of ecological investigation, confusion, and laughs. I couldn’t help chuckle looking at everyone’s clothes, fulfilling the ‘typical Geographer’ stereotype in raincoats and walking boots. Nevertheless, we were quickly briefed on our day, and journeyed in groups of five to our pre-determined tree plot, to start assessing some trees. We randomly sampled a select number of trees, and measured their height, diameter at breast height, light levels and crown size. Despite our many issues with our measurements (we were getting tree heights of nearly 300m), we had a laugh, managing to collect multitudes of data before lunch, whilst my hugely unwelcomed singing received many choruses of ‘shut up!’. However, as soon as we recommenced after lunch, the rain began. And the temperature dropped. And it simply did not stop raining. Our data sheets were soaked, we were freezing, but we persisted! As the rain got harder, the insanity set further, and the majority of my group even joined in my increasingly bizarre singing!

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Eventually, along with the other groups, we retreated to a barn to keep us warm and dry, until we could return home. Upon the sight of the coaches arriving, we were drawn to the warmth, scrambling on, and letting the tiredness set in once again. Whilst sitting on the coach, I was simply cold, wet and miserable. But after a trudge back to college, and a heavenly warm shower, upon reflection, it was a fun day. We gathered lots of (mainly) useful data, had lots of fun, and I got to practice my angelic singing. All in all, savour the very unique experience – just remember to prepare for the worst weather, and brings lots of food!

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