April 28, 2014, by Emma Thorne

Countryfile joins Geography’s Cumbrian field trip

Geography students from the University, set against the stunning Cumbrian landscape, are to make an appearance on an upcoming episode of Countryfile, BBC One’s flagship Sunday evening show.

Presenter Ellie Harrison and a film crew spent the morning with around 180 first-year undergraduates as part of the School of Geography’s annual Easter field trip to the Blencathra Field Centre in the Lake District.

Ellie joined a field sketching exercise with the students in which they used the process of sketching to abstract the features in the landscape that reveal the long and fascinating history of Blencathra mountain.

National treasure

The mountain was formed 450 million years ago before Scotland and the rest of the UK were even one land mass and its current form is shaped by glacial processes that still dominate the landscape and the way it is used to this day. This long and complex history makes it very important as a place to study Earth Surface Processes.

Dr Nick Mount, Associate Professor of Hydroinformatics, said: “Filming for BBC Countryfile provided an ideal opportunity to disseminate the message that Blencathra mountain is a real national treasure.

“It represents almost half a billion years of Earth history, and is a perfect example for the study of geological and geographical processes.  Its educational significance is often overlooked because the mountain is such an attractive destination for walkers and climbers.  However, the regular field teaching that the School of Geography has undertaken on the mountain, which has involved more than 2000 students over more than a decade, underlies its ongoing educational importance.”

Historic region

The first-year Geography field course at the Blencathra Field Centre, run by the Field Studies Council, take place over a period of eight days, during which students learn about aspects of both the physical and human geography of the Lake District and its surroundings.  In particular, it focuses on the development of skills in landscape interpretation and Earth-forming processes, and the industrial and economic history of the region.

Countryfile were filming at Blencathra for a segment due to be aired on Sunday May 4 looking back at the mountain’s history amid news that the land may be up for sale by the Lonsdale Estates, with a reported price tag of £1.7 million.

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