A Level Geographers enjoy an amazing visit to Iceland
On Saturday 15th February, twenty A Level Geography students made their way to Iceland. Despite a delayed start due to storm Dennis, the group arrived in time to explore Perlan. The building used to store Reykjavik’s hot water but is now home to an indoor ice cave, a tectonics exhibition and has an outdoor viewing gallery with spectacular views of the city. The following day, it was time to explore the golden circle. First the group went to Hellisheidi Power Plant, which is one of the first places in the world to use carbon capture to try to return carbon back into the ground to reduce global warming as well as providing renewable geothermal energy. The weather cleared whilst we were in the power station to reveal bright blue skies which remained for the rest of the day. We then made our way to Thingvellir National Park, a rift valley which was the site of the first Icelandic parliament. The group then watched a geyser spectacularly erupt before visiting Gulfoss waterfall. The day finished with a walk around the volcanic crater called Kerið before a swim in the outdoor pool.
Monday 17th February started with a visit to the lava centre with some spectacular footage of the recent volcanic eruptions as well as giving great views of Heimaey, one of the few places in the world where lava has successfully been diverted. We then made our way to Reynisfjara black sand beach to see the basalt columns created by volcanoes, as well as observing the power of the Icelandic waves. It was then time for our glacier walk on the Sólheimajökull Glacier. Accompanied by two guides we got to see crevasses, moraines and even a small rockfall. We then went to see the beautiful Seljalandsfoss and Skógar Waterfalls. The day finished with a view of the Northern Lights dancing across the sky.
The following day dawned bright and sunny. It started with a trip to the Blue Lagoon. It was a relaxing start watching the sun rise over the volcano. We then saw hot springs at Gunnunver before observing the powerful waves at Strandakirkja and Krýsuvík. Finally we made a short stop at Eyrarbak, to see what could have been Iceland’s capital city. Along the way we got to learn a lot about the life of Iceland and the many legends. Our final visit of the day was to indulge in the Icelandic tradition of ice cream. As we made our way there it started to snow, so the group decided to go for a soak in the outdoor hot tub to enjoy the snow. Our final day was Wednesday 19th February. We started with a tour of Reykjavik seeing the parliament buildings, the oldest house and site of the original settlement. The students then had time to buy plenty of souvenirs and some went to the top of Hallgrímskirkja church to get a view of the snow covered city.
Overall it was an outstanding visit with lots to explore and many of the students wanting to come back again soon. During the trip the students were praised for their excellent behaviour, courtesy and punctuality. They were a real credit to the Academy.