Chris Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, The Open University
If you are interested in joining the next presentation starting in October 2021 contact the Convener by clicking on the flying pigeon at the top right of the page. Meet Chris at the Skiddaw u3a Open Morning on September 15th.
The Group meets on the third Friday of the month. Between November and March indoor morning sessions are held at Portinscale village hall. All day field trips are arranged betwenn March and October. The course lasts for two years after which members will retire from the Group and if they wish join the independent Continuing Geology group that is not affiliated to U3A.
The rocks and scenery of Cumbria reveal almost 500 million years of Earth history during which the region was blasted by huge volcanic eruptions and covered by shallow tropical seas, deserts and thick ice sheets. To wet your appetite read the article from the December 2020 issue of Cumbria Life: click on 'Cumbria Life article' at the top right of this page. Here you can also access 'A beginner's guide to geology in and around Keswick' by clicking on 'A beginners guide to Keswick geology'. This guide is based on material used during the two year course.
There are two parts to the group’s annual programme: morning indoor sessions and all-day geological walks. Members may join the indoor programme only but the walks will be run on the assumption that participants are attending the indoor sessions. The indoor meetings and walks will cater for those with no knowledge of geology and existing members who have some knowledge. Presentations and discussions will be triggered largely by what we see and participants’ questions.
A practical introduction to geology
During the late autumn and winter of 2021-2022 these sessions will give a practical introduction to minerals, rocks, fossils, geological maps and geological processes that have shaped the Lake District. In 2022-23 the indoor sessions will deal with aspects of global geology including the major surface features of the Earth, continental drift, plate tectonics and key events in the geological history of the UK and Cumbria.
This part of the programme will illustrate and reinforce concepts introduced during the indoor sessions and provide insights into the geological history of Cumbria. We will visit various locations around Cumbria starting at 09.30 finishing in the late afternoon. Walks will be up to 8 miles in length and a few involve ascents of up to 500 metres, whereas others involve driving to a number of locations where there will be short walks. Car sharing is encouraged. Lunch will be taken in the field although on some walks cafes and pubs may be visited. To aid communication during field trips, and to save straining the convener's voice, we use the TourTalk tour guide system recenty puchased by the Skiddaw u3a branch.
An Apology to Geology
By John and Lyn Midgley
[This poem was read to convener Chris during the last field trip of the 2017-19 presentation of the course]
Looking for something for the brain to hone
we heard Chris Wilson was a wow with stone.
We joined the group that made us think,
And introduced us to Shap Blue and Pink.
First meeting was fine and dandy,
We met each other and all got friendly.
Moraines and drumlins that first week
Down by the lake we had a peek.
Over the winter in the village hall,
spy-glass in hand we did enthrall.
We learnt the Lakes had many a feature,
And we enjoyed an excellent teacher.
When spring finally came around,
Field trips aplenty Chris had found.
Sedimentary rocks are the very thing
To encourage the heart to sing.
From Threlkeld, Honister and Mosedale,
Shap, St Bees and Borrowdale,
All these trips were great fun,
But not always in the sun.
Winter saw us back in Portinscale,
Continuation of a geological tale,
Magma, land drift and earthquakes
Filled our minds, giving headaches.
However, soon we were back to the sites
Finding examples of so many 'ites.
Jo had a name, did we hear right?
Did he really call it Bollockite!
Sadly, the course comes to an end,
New things for third Fridays we must tend.
Finally we can give our brains a rest,
The good news is there is no test!
PS Nothing seemed to rhyme with blobs!*
- Note about penultimate verse and the PS: Joe Wier, co-owner of the Honister Slate Mine, joined us in Hopper Quarry and told us what the quarrymen’s term is for features that Chris referred to as ‘blobs’.