The Land of Ice and Fire

Published on 09 May 2016

The Land of Ice and Fire

“The best geography trip EVER!” – Miss Hart          

“Amazing experience; my first trip abroad! Unforgettable!” James W

This Easter the Geography team embarked on an amazing adventure to the land of Ice and Fire;  ICELAND.  Home to Vikings, fairies, witches and elves.

This optional excursion was designed to cover 3 major sections of the GCSE and A level course; volcanoes, coasts and renewable energy. All of which are abundant throughout the country.

Day 1 - Having set off from school with plenty of time, a queue on the M1 provided us with fast check in and a dash through the airport, but we made it!  On arrival in Iceland we headed straight to the Blue Lagoon where we undertook a quick walk around the geothermally heated pools to the power plant viewing and then ventured into the pool itself, letting the water and mud facials take years off our skin.  Our first meal was in the Viking Hotel, where most students and staff tried frozen  rotten shark and were serenaded by a true Viking warrior. Hiking back to our hotel up a huge hill, we all went to sleep exhausted after just one day.

Day 2 – The first of two exceptionally busy days. We visited – Hellisheidi power plant, through the Eyjafjallajokull flood plain and cinema experience. Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls then on  to the glacial walk up Solheimajokull. The weather this day started at 1 degrees and rained continually. The whole Icelandic team were geared up in full waterproofs but due to high winds, torrential rain and hours outside, it turns out waterproof clothing is not always as waterproof as advertised. Despite this the group kept high spirits and having dried out on the bus continued the day’s visit down to Vik to see basalt columns and high destructive waves. Students were fantastic in following guidance on   safety and were a true credit to themselves and  the school. The evening in the countryside accommodation was supposed to reveal the wonders of the northern lights but due to the torrential rain this was not an option; although we did keep checking the northern lights app.  Instead we had a fabulous quiz night where a team of Year 11s rose to the top with their exceptional general knowledge. Our guide informed us in the morning the weather   finally cleared around 2am, by which time we were all fast asleep.

Day 3 – Another extremely busy day but the sun was shining and it was a fine 5 degrees. On this day we headed back toward Reykjavik around the south coast, visiting the Dyrholaey coastal cliffs where Year 11 showed off their knowledge of coastal processes and erosional landforms. (Miss Hart was super impressed!). The group then went onto the geothermal heated greenhouses, Gulfoss waterfall and the impressive Strokkur geyser and onto the Pingvellier National Park and parliament site.  In the evening we went for dinner in the world   famous hamburger factory where after a long wait for our booked tables, we had an excellent meal. Most students then chose to join Miss Hart, Mr Cain and Ms Monk on a visit to the ice cream parlour for a famous Icelandic ice cream treat. 

Day 4 – Our final day. We woke up to highs of 7 degrees and sunshine. With this exciting weather change we embarked on a walk around Reykjavik, exploring the harbour and the impacts of containerisation, looking at parliament square where the protests were the week before and then onto the Hallgrimskirkja church, the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland, where students witnessed the 5275 strong pipe organ being played.  We then took the bus to the Perlan water tower where students could see a 360 degree view of Reykjavik and enjoy yet more Icelandic ice cream. On our way back to the airport we visited Gunnuhver mud pools and the bridge between the continents   where students took great pleasure running from one continental plate to the other.

The trip was a huge success, with staff and students having had an amazing time putting geographical knowledge to practical use and exploring new locations.  Thank you guys.  It was FAB!!!!

(for more pictures visit @vandykegeog on twitter)

Miss Hart

Team Leader of Geography