As an undergraduate at Cambridge University, I participated in a glacier research programme at Austerdalsbreen, Norway, in 1956 and then visited the Svartisen area, close to the Arctic Circle, in order to explore and survey Larshullet, at that time the deepest known cave in northern Europe. I returned to Svartisen in 1957 in order to continue both cave and glacier studies.
Having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Geography from Cambridge University in 1958, I spent two years at the University of Oslo, where I carried out research under the supervision of Olav Liestøl of the Norwegian Polar Institute. He encouraged my interest in glaciers and glacier-dammed lakes and helped me establish the Svartisen Research Project. Between 1960 and 1962, I was a postgraduate student at Cambridge University; I was awarded an M.Sc.in 1963.
I was appointed a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield in 1962 and an Assistant Lecturer in Geography at the University of Manchester in 1963. In 1969, I took up a 2-year appointment at Aarhus University, Denmark, where I established a course in Glaciology which has continued since then. Whilst at Aarhus, I started the Okstindan Glacier Project in Norway. I returned to Manchester in 1971, was appointed Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography in 1976 and Reader in 1990. Having retired in 1997, I was appointed Senior Research Fellow, and then, in 2008, Honorary Senior Fellow. My current appointment is as Honorary Fellow in the School of Environment and Development within the Faculty of Humanities for a fixed term period from 1 February 2017 until 31 January 2020.