Just going outside.. …may be some time

Sometimes, to get the answers you need, you have to travel the roads where the gritters don’t go. We have been narrowing our eyes and stiffening our upper lips this week to do more restisivity survey on the New Laund Enclosure. On a slightly less butch note, it was also graduation on Tuesday, so I took time off for the bi-annual lecturers’ fancy dress parade in Preston Guildhall. Congratulations to Neo and Richard on their BSc degrees, which was the point of all the dressing up.

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On Wednesday Simon, Harriet and I went out to do the survey work. The roads were just starting to defrost as we drove out to Whitewell but when we parked in the shade of New Laund Hill the car thermometer refused to rise above freezing. Up on the hill it was a beautiful crisp morning with just a dusting of snow on the higher fells. There was a brisk northerly breeze blowing up from the valley and, although there was quite a bit of ice around, the ground wasn’t frozen solid.

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This was great as it meant that we were able to get the probes in the ground and take the readings we needed. We set out the first 30 m grid right on the edge of the hill and were getting on very nicely indeed when I noticed a little flashing battery warning on the meter display. I knew that the machine had been on charge for 24 hours before we came out, so I did what any bloke would do in similar circumstances and ignored it in the hope that it would go away.

That worked in so far as it let us finish that grid but we only got about two lines into the next one before the cold completely killed the batteries off, the meter gave a plaintive dying squeak and no more readings could be taken for the day. After that there was nothing to do but make sure all the grids were laid out for next time and carry all the gear back off down the hill.

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Not entirely a wasted journey as we did get one grid surveyed and, as the photos show, it’s a beautiful place to work at this time of year.

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This is the end result of our struggles, the resisitivity plot has another whole square added to it and most of that square is bright red high resistance limestone bedrock. The ditch and bank are showing up but there is still a lot of computer processing to do. Hopefully if we can add more data to this over the coming weeks it will all become clearer. Simon has taken the laptop home to work on the data we have already got and we are going back out there on the 14th with many spare batteries to try and do a whole day’s work.

The wildlife of the day was probably hibernating.

Rick

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