SCIU3FC: Residential Field Course (Biology - Lochearnhead)

CO-ORDINATOR: Dr Andre Gilburn

Course Objective

  • To develop skills in identifying common Scottish organisms with particular focus on garden birds, bees, moths and other invertebrates, trees, woodland plants and ferns.

Learning Outcomes

  • To be able to identify a significant number of common Scottish organisms

Teaching Programme

  • Students will have five 2-hr identification sessions, one with each of the staff members attending the course.

Teaching Timetable

  • The field course will take place between September 17th and 19th 2010 at the Lochearnhead Scout Station. The course will begin at 9am on the 18th.

Course Assessment

  • Students will have a test of their ID skills ability at the end of the residential field course.


  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Clothing and footwear including
    - A pair of decent outdoor footwear
    - A water proof jacket
  • Clipboard, waterproof notepad and pens
  • Any necessary medication

Diet: Food will be provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the 18th and breakfast and lunch on the 19th.
Illness prior to departure: We very much hope you will be fit enough to travel. In the unlikely event that you cannot you MUST obtain medical certification to this effect and inform the department (01786 467840). There are no opportunities to retake this course until the next academic year, so non-attendance will prevent you from being able to move onto Honours.

Cost: Students are required to pay £20 towards the cost of the field trip. This must be paid to the School Office prior to departure.

Guidelines for staying at Lochearnhead

In order for you to have a pleasant stay at the Scout Station, please stick to the following simple rules:

  • It is not a hotel. Keep public rooms and cabins tidy; don’t leave things lying around, and use waste bins. Wash up any kitchenware after use.
  • There are houses close to the centre. Please respect their privacy and do not go where you are not allowed to go.
  • There will be no smoking anywhere inside any of the buildings.
  • Out of respect for those who are trying to sleep, noise MUST be kept to a minimum after 11.30pm.
  • Please lock rooms when left empty. Pilfering from unlocked cabins has happened in the past.
  • Please put all rubbish in the bins provided.
  • Do not use fire extinguishers unless there is an emergency. Students unnecessarily discharging a fire extinguisher will be charged.
  • The water in the toilet wash basins is not suitable for drinking. DO NOT leave the taps running as they can run dry.
  • Streams running through and above the station must not be tampered with as they provide the water for the toilet blocks.
  • No one must sleep inside the main buildings.
  • Do not empty water from the boilers – they must always contain some water otherwise the elements burn out. The boilers will automatically refill, so please be patient.
  • Do not leave heating on continuously in the chalets. They are only there to take the chill off. Warm accommodation is available for all in the main buildings.
  • Always make sure the chalets are well ventilated otherwise they will steam up.
  • NEVER wear outdoor footwear in the main building. Please leave boots etc at the entrance.
  • Please be careful not to damage the fixed mattresses. There is ample storage under the bunks so rucksacks and cases do not need to be placed on the mattresses.
  • Please turn on the extractor fans when using the showers and please turn them off when you have finished.
  • Please keep the door of the drying room shut.


We will have fairly comprehensive First Aid Boxes with us for use at all times during the field course. If you require anything from the first aid boxes, please let a member of staff know so that we can replace the used items and keep the boxes fully stocked.

You should report any ill-health to a member of staff. It is possible that you may encounter ticks whilst carrying out fieldwork. The recommended treatment is to remove the tick using tweezers, grasping the head as close to the skin as possible and rotating rather than pulling. Try to avoid leaving the head buried, and disinfect the bite once the tick has been removed.

The guidelines below set out basic safety precautions which should be followed at all times, whether on field classes or on independent field work.

  • The nature and purpose of the trip should be understood by all concerned before the trip begins. Pay particular attention to any specific safety instructions. 
  • Work should be carefully planned bearing in mind the experience and training of the participants and the nature of the terrain.  Care must be taken not to overestimate what can be achieved.
  • All members of a party should know what to do in the event of an accident or emergency and a first aid kit must always be carried. 
  • Students are required to indicate any physical handicap or medical condition so that suitable precautions can be taken.
  • Use personal equipment and clothing which is suitable for all weather conditions and terrain likely to be encountered.  You will be informed of requirements in advance; no-one will be allowed to set out unless they are properly clothed and equipped.
  • All participants should know the international distress signal. This consists of the following: (a) A group of 6 signals (e.g. whistle blast, torch flashes, shouts or waves of a cloth); (b) 1 minute pause; (c) Repeat (a) then (b) as often as necessary. (The reply is a group of 3 signals, repeated at 1 minute intervals if necessary).
  • On no account should students climb on cliffs, quarries or trees.  Do not touch farm or other machinery, or any items found on old army ranges. (report the latter to the party leader immediately).  Do not enter deep water or rivers in flood.
  • Always obtain permission of the land owner before entering a site.  Do not trespass on railways.  Observe the Country Code, close all gates and do not disturb farm animals.
  • In environments deemed by your supervisor to be hazardous, do not work alone; three is a suitable minimum number for unsupervised work.
  • For fieldwork in remote areas you should be able to read a map and use a compass.  Map, compass, whistle, survival bag and emergency rations should be carried at all times.
  • Check the weather forecast, and keep a constant look out for changes in weather conditions; if the weather deteriorates, turn back.  Conditions such as tides etc. must also be checked and work planned accordingly.

Leave written word with your supervisor or an agreed local contact person of your route, work location and expected time of return (include map references).


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