FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

circa 1966 Ralph E Ireland , Nottingham - FSC Orielton

I attended a Field Studies course in August 1966 at Orielton including a visit to Skomer . Sadly, I have never been able to get to another, but I did become a Life Member that year.

30 Orieltonpond Web R Ireland Whitesands Walk Web R Ireland

I forget the exact title of the course, but I was on the geology and geography of the Pembrokeshire Coast; it was for adults. The staff were very generous in the way they conducted the course, adapting it to the varied interests of the course members – so, for example, botany was included.

One distinct highlight for me was a trip to Skomer. I went with a couple who had a car. My red notebook (probably bought at the 'shop' at Orielton), which I still have, records the route to Martins Haven to pick up the boat. Alf Knowles was the boatman – Milford 3271 – and the fare was 10/- (50p in today's money)!

Alf informed us laconically that 'the puffins have all left'. We arrived on Skomer at around mid-day, and Alf informed us he would be back mid-afternoon. We were on our own! It started to rain; it began to pour. Nothing for it but to traipse around the island, which we did. Despite the soaking we received, there was much to enjoy. I recall seeing a fungus (unidentified – a boletus, perhaps) that literally glowed, despite the heavy rain.

When Alf returned, we had to jump some feet down onto the landing platform, because the tide was out; a scary moment; Alf's strong arm saved us from falling. On our return to Orielton, how glad we were to make use of the boiler room to dry out our clothes – and us!