Cast: Tom Bradwell, Derek Fabel, David Small, Matt Burke and Rich Chiverrell (the Advance party), with the imminent arrival of Consortium P-I Chris Clark (first foray into the field on the project so far) and film crew Vince Jones and Saskia Pagella due in Thursday….
Early Monday morning (and following the very excellent timing schedule of logistics guru Bradwell) the teams departed. Chiverrell (without side-kick) laden with Ground Penetrating Radar, RTK GPS, Gamma Spectrometer and Vibrocorer departed Liverpool (36 hours after returning from EGU2014) to collect Matt Burke from Glasgow and journeyed to the ferry terminal in Aberdeen. Meanwhile Cosmogenic Nuclide (CN) dating team (Derek and David) travelled ‘light’ with lump hammers, rock saws to Edinburgh, meeting Tom B with the BGS pickup truck loaded, somewhat unusually for a glacial geology trip with a ‘peat corer’ and a dedicated functioning Shetland glaciations GIS database and maps. Around 18.30, the MV Hjaltland Ferry departed the port of Aberdeen, and Briticechrono team reconvened to the bar for a further planning session. Replete with an excellent nosh, a calm crossing and monster breakfast on the boat in the Port of Lerwick, what passes for an early summer’s day on Shetland awaits: drizzle and a cloud base slightly above sea level……
Further confirmation of the excellent Tom logistics waited at the accommodation, excellent choice Shetland Self-catering at the Decca located on the edge of Lerwick a building that was Shetland’s Radio Navigational Signal Station for 35 years until the early 1990’s. About lunchtime the rains ceased and the clouds fell even lower and we departed for the southernmost sites on mainland Shetland. We drew a blank at Fitful Head, where five blokes wandered somewhat systematically looking for boulders on grassy hillslopes with 20m visibility! Learning quickly we ran away and went to Dalsetter, visited the famous ‘Dalsetter’ Norwegian boulder by repute from the Olso region but in a dry stone wall and not a viable CN target. However success quickly followed with eight boulders (pseudo-erratics) in the immediate environs that are glacially sculpted and sat proud of ground level. The boulders were all coarse grained to conglomeratic mid Devonian sandstone and sampled in two nice clusters. Eight down on day one, many to follow…….
Tomorrow hopefully Tom, Derek and David fly to Foula (Scotland’s remotest inhabited island) if the clouds and fog abates, to collect cosmogenic nuclide dating samples of mainland Shetland erratic boulders transported by the last ice-sheet. Chiverrell and Burke will explore key sites on the mainland and assess possible OSL dating locations.