In 1953 I went on a marine biology course from school. It was led by John Barrett and was a wonderful introduction. I had worked in the Post Office at Christmas in order to have enough money to buy a suitable jacket and I knitted a woolly hat to match. We had different fillings in the sandwiches each day to ensure variety for John Barrett - and these even included swede sandwiches.
The following year I went again to Dale and many years later I went back with my husband on an island hopping course - quite an adventure as we had to jump from the boat to the shore of each island.The gannets were a wonderful site, sound and smell.
Ever since 1953 I have been on field courses almost every year and have led them myself for my students, especially at Rhyd y Creau and at Preston Montford.
In the summer of 1955 as a University student I went to Malham Tarn on a two week course with the Botany Department of Bedford College, London. I was a zoologist myself. Dr Francis Rose led the course. This was my first experience of Sphagnum mosses and boggy places and I’ve been hooked on bryophytes and boggy places ever since although I still struggle with moss identification. We travelled by train, taking our cycles. It was extremely hot while we were there but it was beautiful. Fields were golden with buttercups. It was an ideal time for finding plants in flower. Although I identified a new eyebright for the county, sadly I can no longer remember what the species was that got the young Charles Sinker interested.
We spent some time examining the algae in Malham Tarn. I was asked to swim about and collect specimens but Dr Rose was not satisfied with my efforts so tried himself. He had a dark skin and was very surprised when he got sunburnt. It was a really comprehensive field course, covering a wide range of habitats – yet another excellent experience at an FSC Centre – and much later I met up again with Charles at Preston Montford and through the Council for Environmental Education committee meetings at Reading University in the early 1970s.