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Geography Trip to Iceland

After a day of travel and a busy first half of term, on arrival in Iceland, the students relaxed in the outside geothermically heated hotel pool.

The following day started with a visit to the Secret Lagoon which is fed by a natural hot spring, bubbling up at a rate of 10 litres per second, maintaining a temperature of 38-40°C and constantly replenishing the supply of fresh, clean water in the pool. From here it was off to the impressive Gulfoss, a spectacular waterfall of thundering noise, which creates a fine drizzle in the air creating a rainbow in the sunlight. Geysir followed soon after, an awesome display of natural forces shooting a spout skyward to a height of 15 - 18 metres high. The final stop of the day was Þingvellir National Park, a place where Icelandic culture and geology meet hand in hand. Walking along the mid Atlantic Ridge, the divide between the North American and Eurasion plates is a reminder of the power that the natural world possess. Þingvellir  is the original site of the world’s longest running and  still ongoing parliament and in 2004, Þingvellir was accepted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This was followed by an early morning start for some adventures along the South Coast of Iceland. First stop was the LAVA centre, an interactive display that explains the country's frequent earthquakes and the creation of Iceland over millions of years. With an engaging presenter and some hands-on explanations, the Natural Hazards of Iceland were brought to life. Skógafoss was the next stop, a truly memorable experience in windspeeds of 30mph, strong enough to blow students off their feet, this impressive waterfall soaked most of the students who ventured close to the plunge pool. Lunch in Vik followed by a walk to the snout of Sólheimajökull Glacier, a sober reminder of the challenges of climate change - this glacier has lost nearly 1km of ice since 2000. The final stop of the day was Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi two beautiful waterfalls. Many students enjoyed walking behind the falls at Seljalandsfoss and the clamber through the gorge to the hidden beauty of Gljúfrabúi. Later that evening, Iceland produced its trump card, the Northern Lights. A stunning display of greens and purples lit the sky for over an hour, a truly remarkable and memorable experience.

The final full day started with a visit to Hellisheidi Geothermal power station, a perfect case study for GCSE students, followed by the sulphurous springs at Gunnuhver Hot Springs and Krýsuvík Mud Puddles. Perhaps the highlight of the day was walking in the newly formed lava field of Náthagi Valley, slightly mind blowing to think that the land we were walking on is less than 18 months old! The day finished at Flyover Iceland, a state-of-the-art technology that gives the feeling of flight with special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience.

Mr Talbot, Teacher of Geography, who led the trip, says “This was a stunning few days that brought Geography to life and a great way to start half term. The students were engaging, interested and had a great time. Whilst the photos will record great memories, the personal experiences will last much longer.”