Our day started by gathering in the canteen where we were briefed on all of the health and safety rules for our day at the coast. We piled on to the buses quickly due to our excitement about the adventure that lay ahead of us.
Arriving at Murlough National Trust we were glad to see it was a warm, blue sky day as we watched local residents taking their dogs for a walk and happily basking in the sun. We were split into our groups and assigned a teacher to guide us for the day and equipment to help us with our data collection. As we travelled through the five thousand year old grey dunes, we were greeted by some cattle over a fence excited to have their yearly visit from Wellington. Some claimed they were probably just happy to get munching on some grass, however, we reckon they are just big fans of the school!
We followed a path made of fir planks down to the coastline which have been put there by the National Trust to ensure the sure dunes are protected for many future generations to enjoy. As we ventured onto the beach, we began our first task measuring the size and angularity of rocks found at the base and the top of the beach. Our teacher took the opportunity to explain to us the process of longshore drift that was moving these particles along the beach, this really brought our classroom learning and diagrams to life. At the beach we took the opportunity to practice our field sketching and create our own artistic impression of Murlough beach with the Mourne Mountains in the background.
On the way back from the beach, we completed our next task of collecting data on the number and types of species in the different dunes as we moved inland. We were given quadrats to see how many plants we could discover in a small square and used a species chart to identify them.
Once back to the bus we drove onto Newcastle with a memorable class rendition of the Snow Patrol song ‘Run’. At the park we devoured our pre-prepared lunches before walking along the promenade to complete our final task which was identifying the different types of coastal management being used by the council there to protect the coastline. As we walked we learnt about how groynes, rock armour, gabions and sea walls are protecting the much loved promenade. This was a great way to learn about coastal management techniques by seeing them in reality.
We are thankful for a great day out expanding our Geography knowledge and collecting all the data we need to test our classroom theory in our fieldwork reports this term.
Report by Abbie Martin and Katie Douglas 10DSA