The U3A is a marvelous opportunity for people to get out and about and share their knowledge. If something interests you you can be sure some other people have the same interest. The U3A was set up in two very small market towns, Corwen & Ruthin in N. Wales. My extremely small village is situated between the two so I joined both. There were plenty of groups to choose from but sadly NO GEOLOGY. In fact not that many U3A’s in the country have such a group.
With Llangollen, Snowdonia, the Clwyd Valley and all of Anglesey on our door step it’s a geologists dream or, in my case, a trained nurse’s dream.
I decided to set up a geology group and held the first meeting in my home. I asked everyone to write down what they would expect to see & do. I didn’t reveal that I had a list as long as my arm.
I expected members with more knowledge on the subject than myself would eventually take over the group and plan future field trips & visits. Five years on and it’s still me but I love every minute of it: finding guides & speakers, reading & Googling for information on field trips etc.
As the two towns are only 12 miles apart, I run the two separate U3A Geology Groups together. This makes it cost-effective and time-saving. It works extremely well. So far we have had field trips in and around Snowdonia, Llangollen, Parys Mountain, slate, copper, silver & salt mines, museums, an open working quarry and many trips to Anglesey plus a wonderful 4 day stay in Iceland. In the winter months we have presentations and talks indoors covering plate tectonics, volcanoes, caves, microfossils, mapping, hands on fossils etc.
Our September field trip this year was a revisit to the Great Orme, Llandudno for the new members. Car-sharing is encouraged. We always meet 1/4 of an hour before the event to pay fees and have a H&S talk and listen to the guide explaining what we will do & see. I was guide & leader and had prepared handouts for everyone. Hard hats were worn for the first half of the trip in Bishop’s Quarry. We examined the many layers of limestone formation and an area of rocks bursting with fossils, brachiopods, crinoids & coral.
Then, after a picnic lunch we went to see the limestone pavements created during the last Ice Age and a sinkhole, which is caused when the roof of a cave collapses. The weather was excellent and the trip another great success.