University Marine Biological Station Millport
Accommodation for visiting students and staff is in a purpose-built hostel (together with new annex) located about 100 metres from the Marine Station main building. There are about 40 twin study-bedrooms (which can be occupied singly if required, but at additional charge). The hostel also contains a large dining room / lounge, where all meals are provided, and drying room, as well as showers and toilets. Vegetarian and special dietary requirements can be catered for, provided the hostel is notified in advance. Please note, however, that requests for special diets (other than vegetarian) should be accompanied by medical evidence of need, otherwise a surcharge may be payable.
Millport is a small coastal town with a population of between one and two thousand, depending partly on time of year. It has a post office and a branch of Bank of Scotland (with autoteller machine). There are two convenience grocery stores and a number of other shops, besides a selection of cafes and public houses. Most necessities can be obtained in the town, although the choice may be limited and the shops are a twenty-minute walk from the Marine Station. There is a wide selection of shops in Largs, including a Morrisons supermarket.
The most common mode of transport for visitors around the island is by bicycle. Bikes can be rented on the island, and for many field courses all students are expected to obtain one. However cycle lights are not provided, so if you think you may want to be out after dark, please bring your own front and rear lamps. If you have your own chain and padlock, these too are worth bringing.
Please note, however, that post to Millport often takes a day longer than to most mainland destinations. Also if mail for visitors is addressed to the Marine Station itself this may result in delay before it can be passed to the recipient.
There is a coin-operated telephone in the Hostel from which calls can be made and received. The number is: 01475 530856
In emergency it is possible for outside callers to telephone the Station switchboard which can pass messages to visitors, but calls cannot be connected to the hostel directly. Increasingly students and visitors bring mobile phones if they have them, which assists with safety, as well as making them easier to contact. Visitors to the Station also have access to computers linked to the internet and so may be able to download e-mails.
You are advised against bringing any valuables, since these are easily lost during field-work, and the hostel is open-access. The Marine Station can not accept responsibility for theft, loss or damage to personal property, which if brought should be safeguarded, or deposited for secure storage with the Hostel Bursar.
Although every care is taken to avoid any accident, and even minor incidents are rare, work on the shore, on boats or in the laboratory is potentially hazardous. It is a condition of acceptance on courses that students pay due regard and attention to safety briefings and guidelines provided via course organisers. Formal risk assessments are available for all activities.
If you have any medical condition which could potentially cause a problem or put you at risk during the course of your visit please advise the Marine Station and your course organiser, if possible well before your visit. We will ensure that, in so far as is practicable, necessary precautions are taken. There is a doctors' surgery within 1 mile of the Marine Station and a cottage hospital on the island. The Marine Station has a policy of attempting to cater for students with a disability, and disabled students have attended courses, but not all activities are practical for them. (For more information and advice please contact the UMBSM Safety & Disability Officer.)
Students and visitors usually arrive during the afternoon of the first day of a course, typically between 3.00 and 5.30 p.m. On arrival, go to the hostel building (the large two-storey building over to the right as you enter the grounds) where the Hostel Bursar (whose office is just inside the front door on the left) will allocate you a room. Visitors arriving earlier in the afternoon often walk into Millport to look around or hire a bike. The evening meal is served at 6.00 p.m. after which there is usually a welcome talk and introductory session. Other meals are at 8.00 a.m. (breakfast) and 1.00 p.m. (lunch). Visitors usually depart soon after breakfast on the final day.
It is really important that visiting students (and researchers and other visitors) bring a sensible range of clothing, including enough changes of underwear and shirts to last a week. (A single washing-machine is available in case of emergency, but should not be relied on.) Being comfortable during outdoors work on the shore or elswhere is essential if you are going to enjoy your visit. This means you don't want to be either too cold, or too hot, or to get unpleasantly wet. Remember that the weather on the coast is not always warm and sunny. Even in mid-summer, chilly winds and rain may coincide with field-work.
Jackets & Jerseys
The answer is to bring a range of clothing, and to be able to add or remove layers according to conditions. For example, bring both a thin pullover or sweatshirt, and a thicker jersey or fleece that you can if necessary wear over it. It is essential that as an outermost layer you have available a good waterproof jacket or anorak. The modern 3-in-1 type, made of two layers, each of which can be worn separately, are best, but not essential. However your jacket should not be too short or else your lower body will still get wet if you have to work or walk in the rain. If your jacket doesn't have a hood then a hat that will keep off the worst of the rain is also advisable. You may also be glad of a pair of gloves, though not thick ones that you can not work in, or expensive ones that may be spoiled by contact with sea-water.
Trousers & Shorts
Bring at least 2 pairs of trousers or jeans that can be used for fieldwork, if only so that you have another pair you can wear if the first pair get wet. (We have a drying room, but clothes still take some time to dry.) It is best if you have one thicker pair of jeans or trousers for use in poorer weather, and one thinner pair for use in good weather. Shorts, skirts and dresses should be additional, since, while it may be warm enough to wear these outdoors on at least some occasions, even in summer this can not be guaranteed.
Boots & Shoes
It is essential that students and researchers bring a pair of wellingtons or similar waterproof boots for use on the shore and in boats. Soft leather or suede hiking boots are not recommended for this since seawater tends to spoil them. Also recommended are a pair of trainers, gym shoes, or soft boots for use outdoors in drier conditions. However, since these may get wet, a further pair of general purpose shoes is essential. If students want to bring a pair of fashion shoes for evening use these should be additional to the other three pairs. You will also need socks to suit the boots and shoes you bring, i.e. you will need one thicker pair to wear with the boots, and thinner pairs to wear with the trainers etc.
Other items for Course Work
Students should also bring a number of items for use in the classroom or in the field. You will usually need a notepad or small notebook, ideally with a plasticised cover, for taking notes in the field, and stationery for taking notes in the classroom. A small rucksack (or alternatively a shoulder bag) is invaluable when working on the shore or cycling around the island, for carrying books and notebooks, spare clothing and so on. This is additional to the large bag, rucksack or suitcase that is used as the main item of luggage.
Other personal items
Towels and soap are not provided, so please bring these, as well as basic toiletries (toothbrush and paste, hairbrush, etc.) Remember to bring a supply of any medicines that you use regularly or may need. A set of smart casual or evening wear is not essential, but may be appreciated if you want to go into the town in the evening. Students will probably want to bring a small amount of spending money to buy snacks and drinks (both on the journey here and once arrived on the island), and perhaps a few small gifts or souvenirs. However for most students a large amount of money is unnecessary since all meals and other facilities are provided.
- waterproof jacket
- pair of wellingtons or similar waterproof boots
- warm hat
- pair of gloves (not essential)
- thin pullover or sweatshirt
- fleece or thicker jersey
- 2 or 3 pairs of jeans or trousers (preferably 1 thicker, 1 thinner)
- pair of general purpose shoes
- changes of normal clothing appropriate to time of year and length of stay
- Personal care
- bath towel and hand towel (two each?)
- toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, etc.
- personal grooming: hairbrush, shaving kit, etc.
- basic first aid items (e.g. plasters, aspirin)
- any personal medication (e.g. inhaler)
- sunscreen (May & June are often the sunniest months)
- insect repellent (for the dreaded ‘midgies’, especially Jun–Sep)
- Fieldwork & study items
- small rucksack or shoulder bag (for use in field)
- small note pad or exercise book (for use in field)
- notebook or A4 paper and ring-binder (for use in class)
- several pencils, 1 or 2 pens and erasers
- marine life field-guide (if you have one)
- spending money (for snacks, souvenirs, etc.)
- bank card (if appropriate)
- mobile telephone (if you have one)
- compact camera (— " —)
- mini binoculars (— " —)
- Personal entertainment, e.g. book(s), game(s), personal music player