We took forty pupils to Iceland for a 4 day Geography extravaganza last week. They travelled through the night, leaving Luton airport before 6 a.m and arrived at breakfast-time in a very chilly down-town Reykjavík.

The first day was spent looking around the capital city, visiting the magnificent cathedral and the President’s house. Pupils were surprised to see minimal policing present, as the country is a very safe place to live.

They visited a geothermal power station where they learnt about new carbon-capture technologies that are being used to tackle climate change and found out how the Icelandic people use heat from below the earth’s surface to produce hot water to heat their homes, roads, greenhouses and even to warm their lakes and some beaches for swimming. They were very impressed by the efforts made in Iceland to protect the environment and minimise pollution and waste.

The hurricane strength gusts of wind made the temperature feel like -10*C and there was snow in the air giving it a magical wintry face-numbing feel.

On the second day, pupils went on the Golden Circle tour visiting Thingvellir National Park where the earth’s tectonic plates can be seen diverging. The sun was shining and the sky was cloudless. They watched the sunrise and spent the day at the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall, waiting for Stokkur geyser to erupt, observing the volcanic crater at Kerrið and learning about the Geography of that part of the island. They were treated to spectacular views of Eyjafjallajokull and Hekla, both large volcanoes and travelled through the snowy mountains with unbelievable sunny weather. Despite temperatures around freezing, everyone enjoyed an hour of outdoor relaxation in the geothermal pools at Fludir. Despite some raised eyebrows at the prospect, all pupils thoroughly enjoyed the bath-warm water and ambience.

The third day had an even earlier start and took in several more waterfalls, some of which were frozen. Pupils climbed to the top of Skogafoss, saw Seljalandsfoss frozen and studied the basalt columns at the black beach at Reynisfjara with its striking coastal scenery, arches, caves, stacks and stumps. They also had the opportunity to put on crampons, helmets and carry ice-axes, to hike up onto Solheimajokull glacier – a magnificent treat in the clear weather with uninterrupted views from the summit to the sea. The scenery was stunning and they learnt a lot about how quickly the glacier is retreating.

Upon returning to the hotel in the evening, pupils were treated to a spectacular display from the Northern Lights which could clearly be seen from the hotel’s viewing platform. This was a wonderful end to a fabulous trip. Our pupils were fantastically well-behaved and enthusiastic and a pleasure to take to Iceland. They returned happy but exhausted and very pleased to have the half-term break to catch up on some sleep!

Mrs. Morland.

Pupil feedback:
“The scenery was amazing . . .it was like being on a different planet. I couldn’t stop smiling!”
“The glacier walk was brilliant fun. I thought it would be hard and at first I was quite scared but it was really worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever get the opportunity to do that again.”
“The trip was something that I will never forget, we did so much in just 4 days”
“I think I’ve got Geography coming out of my ears!”
“It was a fantastic life experience, I loved the geothermal pool.”
“Our guide was fab, she taught us a lot about Icelandic myths and legends.”
“My face froze so I couldn’t even talk. I have never been so cold yet wanted to stay out to see more.”
“It showed me what we could be doing to look after our planet better. They are so into sustainable energy and it made me think about what else we should try to do.”
“Despite the mind-numbing cold, I had the best time. I got to see and do things that I never thought I would. I’m really proud of hiking on the glacier – I never thought I could do that and really enjoy it.”
“ What a photogenic place – I took over 800 pictures!”