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Miss Bletsoe-Brown reports......During half term 43 students were accompanied by myself, Mr Marriott, Miss Hills and Mrs Harris to embark on a 5 day trip to the “Land of Fire and Ice”. Our first stop was the infamous “Blue Lagoon”. Students enjoyed bathing in the geothermally heated waters and smearing the silica mud onto themselves hopeful of promises of looking 10 years younger! As night fell, under a cloudless sky and through the heated mist, we were ever hopeful of a sighting of the Northern Lights as all the conditions were right, unfortunately on this occasion we were not lucky enough.
The next day we headed to Seljalandsfoss where the group enjoyed an icy blast and the challenge of sheet ice in order to walk behind the waterfall. At Skogafoss we were blessed by seeing double rainbows and the group bound up the 62 metre climb to enjoy a beautiful view across the island. It was here that Shannon Hamilton had the brilliant idea of writing “Iceland” using the students and despite the strange looks from the other tourists and school groups, we got an excellent photo. We then headed inland to get up close and personal with a glacier. After clambering over moraines and finding pockets of frozen ice, the group got a taste for glacier walking and the sheer magnitude of these geographical features. We then headed to the basalt beach where we enjoyed many of the coastal features learnt about in GCSE Geography. Our final stop of the day was in Vik, the most southerly settlement in Iceland and here many of the group enjoyed a hot chocolate whilst swapping stories of their favourite moments of the day.
Day 3 saw us head over to Heimaey, one of the Westmann islands. Here our plan was to hike up over the 1973 lava fields and up the flanks of Eldfell volcano (200m). Once we reached the top, the students found some superheated fumeroles and many used them to warm their hands, others however, melted biros on them! After a long day of walking, we headed to our second geothermally heated pool and the students enjoyed the waterslides and hot pools on offer.
Day 4 started with snow fall which dusted the vistas outside of the window and made everything look even more magical. Our first stop was Geysir where the group looked on expectantly for the geyser to erupt, however with freezing winds in our faces, the first eruption took everyone by surprise as screams went up as the water did! Determined to video and photograph this awesome Geography, the group waited and waited, excited by every move and bubble until finally they were rewarded with 4 eruptions back to back. From here we went onto Gullfoss and despite the biting winds, no one could fail to be wowed by the sheer awesome size and vista of the falls. Our final stop was to Thingvellir National Park and the mid-Atlantic Ridge, where our field guide was taken aback by our idea to do a “Harlem Shake”. The students walked through this incredible landscape and enjoyed a spot of rock climbing and appreciated another amazing waterfall. Once back in Reykjavik, the student spent their final evening ice skating - it was an excellent way to end such a hectic schedule and have a laugh at the many tumbles and wipe outs that students did on the ice.
It is hard to write in words the awe and wonder that this fantastic country offers to geographers. All I can say is that 5 days gave us a mere taster of Geography in Action and that many students have asked me this week when we can go back!