An Icelandic Adventure

At the beginning of the Easter Holiday, a group of 18 St Mary’s geographers from years 11-13 embarked on a trip of a lifetime to Iceland. Flying into Keflavik, the adventure started as soon as our party set foot on Icelandic soil.

On the first day, we walked amongst solfataras, boiling mud pools and hot springs, before driving through the lava deserts to Leif the Lucky Bridge, a bridge between the North Atlantic and Eurasian plates which spans the fissure said to be the Mid-Atlantic Ridge showing the effects of continental drift.

At the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Station, where harnessing the earth’s heat means Icelandic homes receive almost free hot water and heating, a young female engineer gave us a very interesting talk about the power station and life in Iceland.

The amazing waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss were a 60m drop of a wild, thundering water cascading in a curtain before us.

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We stopped-off at the visitor centre set up after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010. It showed entrepreneurial initiative as it was built and is run by one of the farmers most affected by the explosion to capitalise on the interest created from the event.

The sun shone for our traverse of the glacial snout of Solheimjökull. We were kitted out with crampons, helmets and ice axes and there was plenty of time to stop and take photos of the natural ice sculptures, ridges, moulins and deep crevasses.

A walk on Reynishverfi beach with its black volcanic sand and craggy coastline allowed us to revise about wave cut notches, caves, arches and stacks – great to see geography textbooks brought to life!

We stayed in a prime (no light pollution) location in the hope of seeing the famous Aurora Borealis. After some patience, we could not believe it when we were treated to the most spectacular natural light show of our lives.

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At Jökulsárlón, a stunning glacial lagoon, the stillness of the water disguises the enormity of some of the icebergs broken off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier tongue as they make their way down to ‘diamond beach’ where they sit on the black volcanic sand, glistening in the sunshine. We collected some of the 1000-year-old ice to have in our drinks that evening!

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It was a real treat to experience The Secret Lagoon, a tucked away watery retreat within the ‘Golden Circle’. Built in 1891, this outdoor geothermal bathing spot remains at a constant temperature of 36-40°C. As we stepped into this blissful water, with snow on the ground and steam rising from the water, we all felt a sense of calm and tranquillity.

We managed to fit in a few hours of sightseeing before flying home with some amazing memories and valuable learning experiences from our five days on this special Island.

Watch this space for the next amazing Geography trip in 2020!

By N Boyer-Castle