The walks at the weekend were fantastic to get a look at the Alps close up. I was constantly reminded of my geography lessons from back in school. I can remember quite a bit about those classes and sometimes wonder why I didn’t take up geography as a career. It was one of those subjects, and there weren’t many, that seemed easy to learn and to understand.
Anyway, we had a teacher called Ms. Fox and while she had her moments (I remember learning line dancing at one point), overall she had a great enthusiasm for all things geographical. We learned about volacanos, the different types of rock, rivers and lakes, the weather systems in central France, freeze thaw erosion and so on. While Ireland is equipped with some fine examples of the geographical features Ms. Fox taught us, I only realise now why she was so excited about them.
When you see the glaciers coming down the slopes, the valleys they have carved out many thousands of years ago, the rock layers in the cliffs, the morraines of abandoned rock left behind, the scree slopes, the ravines and waterfalls it all seems to make sense. Seeing these things in the flesh rather than in a text book gives you a far greater appreciation of the forces and times involved. It’s like walking through a geography book chapter.
Due to rising insurance costs our school stopped trips overseas the year or two before I started school. It’s a terrible shame because if school children could walk through what I experienced at the weekend I’m sure they’d come away with a much better understanding and respect for what’s around them. Or am I staring through some rosy tinted glasses?