Geographical Field  Trip
Aberystwyth (1972)


By A. Hale L6A.

Our party, nineteen strong, assembled at Ruislip station at nine o'clock on a Monday morning, and set off in our coach (nicknamed 'Pink Panther' due to it's extraordinary colour) for our adventure in darkest (and probably wettest) Wales. In fact our initial scepticism proved unfounded, as our arrival fortunately coincided with the arrival of the first week of summer this year.

The hostel at which we were deposited that afternoon was right on the sea front, and consequently those of us with front rooms enjoyed an unrivalled view of the bay, as well as an unrivalled smell of salty seaweed, a speciality of Aberystwyth. The culinary delights of our hostel also proved a pleasant surprise and the food remained excellent throughout the week.

Geographically our field trip began on the Wednesday when we visited Borth Spit and also examined the local features of coastal erosion. A suggested return walk to Aberystwyth on foot along the cliff top met with only partial support. Having waded through knee deep mud the small band returned and praised the wisdom of the others.

After writing up our notes and enjoying another good meal, we went out to sample the night life of 'Down Town' Aberystwyth. We were soon to find out that there was none worth mentioning.

The next day was spent in the Rheidol Valley investigating the evidence of river capture and glaciation, taking in the Mynach Falls at Devils Bridge and the H.E. P. station in the lower Rheidol Valley.

Day three began on yet another bright morning and we were taken out in set groups to specific areas to carry out land-use surveys of that area. During our surveys it was necessary to interview some of the local yokels and, having translated their replies and assimilated the facts, we produced land-use maps covering our areas, perhaps not all of it but our numerous gnat bites, sunburn and bouts of chronic hay fever, were ample proof of our hard work. The local hostelries seemed, without exception, to be on the top of the steepest hills.

We all looked forward, somewhat doubtfully, to Saturday, as this was the day on which we would tackle Cader Idris, 2960 feet high. Half way up it bore a marked resemblance to the Eiger. The backwall of Cum Cau proved to be more than a match for our frail legs but, spurred on by a can of beer at the top from the fastest climbers, we all negotiated the climb, successfully and continued on up to the summit. The descent, equally tiring, was carried out at a somewhat faster pace with certain persons ending up flying head first down to the bottom.

Tired and hot we returned to Aberystwyth by coach spending the rest of the day lying prostrate on the beach or bathing our weary limbs in the sea. That evening those still in a fit state went to a Disco in the town's Bingo hall, which predictably turned out to be a meeting place for the town's 'teeny boppers'.

Sunday, nominated as the day for urban surveys, turned out to be so hot that a modicum of work was actually completed and the majority of our party spent the afternoon on the beach obtaining such severe sunburn that we were mistaken that night for a catch of local lobsters.

Monday morning saw a furious bout of activity with last minute packing and buying of supplies for the homeward journey.

Leaving the sun and the sea of Aberystwyth behind us we sped homeward, literally, as Clive's driving all the week had resembled that of Jackie Stewart, which in a coach is some going! Nevertheless, we arrived home late that afternoon having had a memorable week both in respect to our studies and in our personal enjoyment, the two factors usually going hand in hand.

Messrs. Cox and Tanner had behaved admirably throughout the week and as a result our trip was a great success.

A. Hale L6A.

1972 School Magazine


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