A Day in the Life of a Field Geologist

Wednesday, August 23

Incase you've missed my 'Week in Pictures' posts I'm currently away for seven weeks in the very north west of Scotland working on my mapping project. It consists of 35 days of solo fieldwork for my dissertation and is a huge overall part of my geology degree. 

I've made it to the seventh week (!?) without totally losing my mind so I thought I would share a little 'day in the life' style post. No one will quite understand how physically and mentally demanding it has been so I'm glad I have four other people to live with who know exactly what it is like.

So my day starts at 8am with a filling breakfast and a cup of tea while I fill out my field safety log (this details where I will be and when I'll be back) then it is time to shower, get dressed and make my lunch.

My bag mostly stays packed minus the few thing I have to take out at night to work on. I take everything I need for geological mapping (maps, notebooks, compass etc) as well as warm things like my fleece, jacket, hat, gloves and buff. I take these out everyday regardless of the forecast because you never really know.

My outfit has been relatively the same for the past seven weeks, I have a few pairs of walking trousers/leggings, t-shirts and fleeces. My much loved (and used) Berghaus walking boots will have to be retired after this trip which makes me really sad. The rest of my kit was bought mostly from Sports Direct and Mountain Warehouse.

At the start of every day I walk to the area I'll be working in and find a comfy rock to start my notebook for that day with a little safety briefing and my aims. 

The iPad mini I bought in May has been worth it's weight in gold for mapping. It means I can take unlimited notes out into the field with me to help when I get confused (which happens a lot). 

Lunch is usually a roll (with either cheese, egg mayo or tuna) but today I have left over jambalaya. I also bring lots of snacks because it is important to keep my every levels up and it helps motivate me. 

Oh no it has started to rain... this happens a lot in Scotland and in my mapping there is no where to take shelter so I just have to suck it up and keep working as best I can.

Normally I head back about around 4/4:30pm but I start to flag about 3pm (having long since done my 10,000 steps for the day). I take this time to add as much detail to my notebook as possible and enjoy the view over Balnakeil Bay. 

This is the point I normally put on a podcast because I start to get very lonely. I'm addicted to 'My Dad Wrote a Porno' and also enjoy 'The High Low'.

In the evening it is time to finish off our notebooks for the day, writing an end of day summary and ink in the work we've done on our maps. This is the part of the day I most struggle with, especially at the start, because I'm so tired and hungry. Another cup of tea is always necessary...

This first part of my dissertation gets handed in near the start of September which is coming scarily fast... and if one more member of my family says 'enjoy your holiday' I'll scream!

If you want to see more photos from my beautiful mapping area give me a follow on Instagram. I've been posting almost everyday since I got here.

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