With Salt Please: Millport Field Course

The Firth of Clyde

The Firth of Clyde

Findabhair Ní Fhaoláin updates us on progress from the Marine Biology MSc field course in Scotland.

After a very smooth journey across to Scotland, with no late arrivals, lost classmates or terrible phobias of tiny planes, the Marine Biology MSc class arrived safe and sound in the little town of Largs. With a wee (yes they say that here) wait before the boat arrived, we piled into the “Fish and Chippy”, with “lots of yes we are Irish, how did you know?” and “no thank you to the deep fried haggis”.

We now find ourselves on the little Isle of Cumbrae. Here in the newly revamped Millport field station, the folks are terribly keen to see us settle in, as we are the first group since the crew at the Field Studies Council took it over. The tea is flowing and it seems desert follows every meal (yahoo).


The week has started off well, with sunshine to rouge up our Irish faces, but not enough to forgo the wellies and wet gear. The class (we think) is getting off to a good start with rotations between our rocky shore surveys of Littorina litorea (that’s the edible periwinkle to the less fishy inclined) and benthic trawls and grabs out in the Firth of Clyde.


Squat lobster (Munida rugosa) – Hazel Munt

[pullquote]like a strange combination of a slumber party and home work club[/pullquote]With the fear that Monday’s sunshine might have been the only bit we’d see Rob and Ruth brought us for a jaunt around the island, giving us a bird’s eye view of the town and to have a gaze across to some far away snow-topped peaks. Then it was the customary, quick, awkward group shot and back in the van to get the weeks sugary supplies in Millport. Opting to walk back in the sunshine, we were rewarded with the local tourist attraction of the “Crocodile Rock” and a great haul of sea glass, shells and Blue Willow china pieces.


King Scallop (Pectin maximus) – Ciara O’Muirí

We are now coming to the end of day two; species are starting to look more familiar and the trawls are bringing up enough to keep us busy but not enough to make us feel too guilty. Like a strange combination of a slumber party and home work club we work away on our group report, hoping the rest of the week will bring as much tea breaks and “ooh what’s that one?” as we’ve had so far.



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