Geography trip: The Isle of Wight

Geography trip: The Isle of Wight

When Paul told us in October that we would be going away, over the water, for a residential fieldtrip, a lot of us got our hopes up. Would it be to Spain, to study the impact of tourism? Could it be to Iceland, to study volcanoes or glaciers? Maybe even North Africa, to study hot arid environments? Sadly, “over the water” meant only the Solent and the destination was the Isle of Wight.

For some of us the fieldtrip was something we looked forward to, a chance to get out in the field and do some serious Geography. For others it was a source of some trepidation: an unknown destination, a field study centre, and close proximity with others who we might not necessarily know well. But it was also an opportunity to get to know people in the other classes.

Fortunately, it turned out to be a great experience. Despite reservations about the accommodation, the food and the “boarding school” regime, the Medina Valley centre proved to be nowhere near as Spartan as rumour had it. After an easy train journey from Waterloo and ferry trip to Ryde, in nice blustery weather, with Paul and Emma pointing out key geographical sites, we finally landed safely and walked down the Ryde pier to our waiting bus.

We had been warned that going to the Isle of Wight was like going back in time, but we hardly expected to experience the pleasures of bus ride in a charabanc which might have come from the 1950’s version of St Trinian’s. Nevertheless, we safely arrived at the Medina Centre where we spent two full days and three long, long nights working for our Geography Skills paper.

Steve, our resident expert from Medina, kept us thoroughly busy and entertained with his anecdotes and poetry, whilst Paul and Emma ensured we didn’t waver or flag in our work. The nighttime sessions, until half past nine, were quite exhausting and demanding in all honesty. In what spare time we had, we were able to play pool, Twister, mega jenga and other pursuits whilst others, Alex and Jono usually, took early morning runs for several miles.

Getting up in the morning was possibly the biggest challenge for most of us, as well as facing a full breakfast, something that reminded many of us of boarding school, though the challenge of making a packed lunch was certainly something to behold at quarter to nine in the morning.

The river study on the Tuesday and the coastal management study on Wednesday (with a visit to the pub in Ventor and dinosaur footprints at Compton Bay) were good fun generally, helped by nice weather. Then suddenly it was Thursday and we made our return journey across the Solent and then by train to Waterloo. For some, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but for all of us it was something to remember since we all got along so well as a group and the expedition was genuinely enjoyable.