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Iceland Trip 2015

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Hurstmere’s latest trip to Iceland took place in the first week of the Easter Holidays with 42 Year 11s visiting this wonderful coun-try. It was a truly amazing week. The boys had a fantastic time visiting and seeing some incredible things and we had astonishing weather with snow and sun. It’s hard to believe, but sunglasses were needed to stop us going snow blind from the blazing sun off the pristine snow! The trip really was one that they will never forget. But don’t take my word for it, here are some snippets from the diary of the trip and some quotes written by the boys who went.

 

DAY 1 - Journey/Blue Lagoon/Reykjavik

The boys were exemplary on the journey navigating the perils of modern airports and arriving in Iceland in good spirits. First stop was the Blue Lagoon. Once the students had figured out how to use the lockers, it was a quick dash from the changing rooms through the freezing air into the warmth of the lagoon. From then on it was mineral face packs and relaxing in the warmth of the water for a few hours. What a great way to start the first day!

“The Blue Lagoon was the first stop and was right next to a geother-mal power station which aided in heating the hot spring as well as an underground volcano. It was extremely relaxing as we went from the cold air to the lovely warm Lagoon. You could also buy a refreshing drink.” - Calum Bradford

“The first stop on our 2015 Iceland tour was the Blue Lagoon. With the smell of sulphur lingering in the air, the steam rising from the milky blue Lagoon, we plunged into the volcanic hot spring. The sun was shining in the clear blue sky as we swam and relaxed whilst making good use of the therapeutic mineral masks.” - Mrs L Bennett

“I think that Iceland was a trip of a lifetime which I really enjoyed. It included many first time experiences including seeing: waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes and glaciers. One of my favourite parts of the trip was swimming in the Blue Lagoon which is a naturally heated pool in the middle of nowhere.” - Euan John

DAY 2

Today was action packed and very busy with lots of exciting places to see and visit.

Thingvellir National Park

“This seemingly simple cliff face is actually the boundary on which the North American plate and the Eurasian plate meet and is quite a natural wonder. This was, as we found out, picked up on in the past. The Vikings had used this location as their Parliament, meeting at least once a year to discuss everything from marriage to disputes. They would also trade goods at this gathering and invent new rules for the clans to follow. This location is a majestic sight, with the rock formations near the cliff forming perfect platforms for speeches and gatherings, and the river at the base of the cliffs was a place of punishment, home to beheadings and drownings as a form of execu-tion. All in all, our time here was very enjoyable, with everybody soaking in the natural beauty of the environment and taking many pictures of it as well.” - Zack French

Geysers

“Magnificent! Going to the geysers was probably one of my best experiences on the trip. There was one geyser in particular, shooting out incredibly hot water between 80 - 100 degrees. Heights for the active geysers could reach up to 40m! Strokkur was the most active which spouted every 5 - 10 minutes. The biggest geyser was the most powerful but can only be triggered by seismic activity, such as an earthquake.” - Jack Monksfield.

“I enjoyed seeing the exploding geysers as it linked with my geo-graphical education and it was a spectacular sight to witness. How-ever, I also liked experiencing a different lifestyle and culture as it provided a fresh view of Iceland.” - Raagulan Umashanker

“I enjoyed the whole thing especially the amazing landscapes covered in snow. All of the things we saw like the geysers and volcanic material left by the volcanoes linked in with my geograph-ical lessons. The geysers I particularly enjoyed because I learned how they work, and there is only a few places to see them in the world!” - Joseph White

Gullfoss Waterfall

“On the second day we went to the Gullfoss Waterfall. We walked up a pathway that led to the waterfall, which was very slippery as it was covered in snow and ice. It was only a short walk but it was still tiring. We were greeted by a spectacular view of the Gullfoss water-fall; the view was breath taking and it is a view that I'm never going to forget.” - Chris Mcintosh

“Before we got to the waterfall I thought that it was going to be a waterfall that was quite small; it wasn’t. I was very wrong about that. It was so huge that at first I thought that we were at Niagara Falls, but the cold made me remember that I was in Iceland. The noise was so loud that I thought that I was near an airplane engine. When I got to the higher level of one of the cliff faces, I thought to myself this country can't possibly get any more amazing to look at! If I go to Iceland again with my family, it would be one of the spots that I would tell them to go and see first.” - Billy Cottrell

Solheimajokull Glacier

“The section of the trip I that found particularly stimulating was the Solheimajokull glacier. It was like a scene from ‘Game of Thrones’! My favourite elements of the stop included skipping stones in the glacial dam, climbing up the mountains of ash and, of course, admiring the fine scenery. I also enjoyed looking in the ice cave and nearly fell into it whilst washing my hands getting the ash off !” – Ben Murphy

 

 

DAY 3

We had a long drive today to visit Iceland’s most photographed feature the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Located in Skaftfell National Park, the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon is a lagoon created by Europe’s largest glacier and is a beautifully blue lake with huge icebergs floating in it. A truly stunning sight! But first a quick stop at an earthquake simulator…

Earthquake Simulator

“This day started with a simulation of an earthquake. It demonstrat-ed how destructive earthquakes can be, and it was an ideal way to begin the day because it woke me up! It also showed me something that probably should have been obvious in the first place : EARTH-QUAKES ARE PETRIFYING!” - Kian Midwinter

Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon

“There was a huge expanse of land enclosed by mountains and, of course, the huge glacier. The sun was shining down on the snow and ice which made a spectacularly picturesque scene. One that we were told was used in many films such as ‘James Bond’. It was a new experience for me and one that I will never forget.” - Lewis Hines-Street

Wow! Just wow! What a sight! My favourite part of the trip was the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. It was like being in the land of giants being dwarfed by these huge icebergs floating in the deep blue wa-ter. It was like being in another world.” - Morgan Haggar

A quiz evening tested students’ knowledge and provided much entertainment with some great team names. An Icelandic victory hot dog each for the winning team was enjoyed nearly as much as the volcanic rocks that the last placed team got as a booby prize!

DAY 4

Thorsmork Valley and Eyjafjallajokull 8WD Monster Trucks

We woke to another stunningly beautiful day, greeting us with stun-ning views from our cliff top hotel. The students were tired but soon got excited when they saw the Eyjafjallakokull and Valley of Thor Eight Wheel Drive trucks! We all climbed into the ex-NATO scud missile carriers that have been converted into the ultimate off road vehicles capable of crossing glacial rivers, conquering snow ice or anything else Iceland could throw it them.

“The Ice Explorer tour started with a drive through the Valley of Thor which is a beautiful flat bottomed valley consisting of a number of braided streams flowing towards the coast over the black igneous boulders and sediment. The valley has been created over a series of glacial movements but more recently the shape has been deter-mined by the latest eruption of the Eyjafallakokull Volcano and the resulting glacial burst which washed down the valley. We had an opportunity to go to the base of the glacier which burst as a result of the eruption. We walked towards the glacier, traversing the extreme landscape and avoiding the deep snow holes. The glacial

depositions on either side channelled us towards the front of the glacier. The eight wheel drive was very 'floaty' due to the amazing ex-missile launchers that carried us to the glacier and the outstand-ing views that TV programme 'Game Of Thrones' takes advantage of. It was an exceptional tour, hosted by the two guides. The fresh deep snow was also great fun to play around in; it was over a metre deep in some places!” - Henry Phillips

“I enjoyed it very much at it allowed us to explore areas of the island that are not very accessible to most tourists. The area is very intri-guing due to the fact that it is constantly changing due to diverse weather and constantly shifting glaciers. I also enjoyed visiting mov-ie site locations such as ‘Intersellar’, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Noah’. Overall the experience was fantastic and I look forward to coming next year if I am lucky enough to be asked to come again.” - Mr B Maher

Reynishverfi Volcanic Beach

The sun was just going down and provided a stunning sunset to see the southern coastline being pounded by the huge Atlantic swell smashing into the cliffs. ‘Take That’ filmed their video for ‘Patience’ here and it’s also a favourite Hollywood set with Russell Crow hav-ing filmed ‘Noah’ onsite last year (but we had better weather!).

“We made a quick 20 - 25 minute stop at Reynishverfi Volcanic Beach. Ultimately it was pretty cool. The shapes and patterns of the rocks, especially in the caves, were rather awesome. Moreover, the waves hitting the shore were incredibly powerful and violent. It was also very dangerous, as if you got too close, you could be sucked out to sea and meet your end.” - Jack Monksfield

Final Thoughts on Iceland

“I think that everyone that went on this trip will agree that we had an amazing time. The trip was filled with incredible picturesque views of the beautiful Icelandic landscapes, many chants and songs on the coach journeys and a lot of panoramic photos of us all in different spots around the country. It is definitely a trip that none of us will ever forget as we all had such an incredible time. Every day had plenty of memorable activities which gave us all the opportunity to take photos for our families back home. Overall, it was a fantastic trip with great people, and I’m so glad that I came along!” – Lewis Hines-Street

“Iceland is a country of breath-taking scenery and geography in action. I will remember it as a trip with many memories and a group of fabulous young men who have done us proud!” – Mrs L Bennett

So, as you can see, everyone had a fantastic time on what was truly a trip to remember! I would also like to echo Mrs Bennett in that the students were a pleasure to be away with, were impeccably be-haved and have given me some great memories. If you’re interested in going to Iceland in the future, keep an eye out for information (or if you are in Year 10 and want to go come see me NOW!).

Mr T Baston – Head of Geography

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