3rd October 2017

September Sun, Sea and Sediment Sampling

Mr Lockwood, Subject Head of Geography

“It’ll be alright.” said Miss Baker reassuringly, as the minibus ploughed on through the rain, “Weather forecast said it’ll stop at ten.” And it did; bang on 10 o’clock the rain stopped and the sun came out, just as we stepped off the bus. It started raining again about 20 minutes into the homeward journey but we were dry and that was what mattered.

3 days on the east coast for the GCSE coastal fieldwork and we didn’t get rained on once. We sat on the beach for lunch each day and there may even have been a bit of a sun tan by the time the last group rolled back into High Storrs car park. The weather gods were clearly smiling, as were most of the 154 students who behaved brilliantly, coping with the 7.15 am start and 10 hour days (11 on one of the days) with unfailing good humour and positivity.

We started at Flamborough Head, looking at the caves, arches, stumps and stacks that the sea has carved out of the chalk headland. Then it was off to Barmston where softer, boulder clay cliffs and winter storms make it the fastest eroding coastline in Europe. The resort town of Hornsea was next, where multiple coastal defences are lined up against the encroaching North Sea to protect the tourist trade and the money it generates for the area. The data that we collected will help students to assess the effectiveness of the coastal defences and has helped to bring the coasts unit of work to life.

With 12% of the GCSE riding on their knowledge and understanding of fieldwork techniques and the strong likelihood of a coastal question on the exam too, it was important to get the day right but no amount of planning could have guaranteed that the September sun would shine as we sat on the beach collecting our sediment samples.