Land of Fire and Ice


Our Iceland Visit by Matthew Hill (Year 11)

On the 11th of February, after an early morning get up, we embarked on the first trip back to Iceland since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Landing in Iceland was an experience in itself, runways full of ice and winds gusting us back to where we came from. Once we had all disembarked from the plane and acclimatized to the freezing weather conditions, we all got some much need rest as we headed back to the hotel for the first night. 

Day 1: We rose to the most beautiful sunrise we could have ever seen and set off to our first location. A few moans, groans, and naps later we arrived at our first location: Séltun. The smell of Sulphur dominated the air as plumes of steam and gases from deep underground rose. After this we then got back onto the coach to the coast where waves the size of houses came crashing into the shore. With a fetch over 5000 miles coming from Antarctica, there was no surprise that the waves were this big!  

Day 2: Waterfalls! The moment many of us were waiting for. Our first stop was the smaller Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Covered in icicles over 8ft in length, the waterfall was a good introduction to the day’s first topic. Next was its big brother: Skógafoss. With even bigger icicles, the spray from the waterfall was immense. It felt like we were having a shower! Then the first challenge of the day came, 419 steps covered in ice to the top of the waterfall. At the world-famous black sand beach, we were able to see first-hand examples of coastal erosion and the landmarks it causes. The next topic of the day was my all-time favourite, Glaciation. When we arrived at the Sólheimajökull, we were all speechless. The size of the thing was incomparable. Whilst trying not to fall over when climbing the glacier (which a few people did) we had time to stop and admire the beauty of this area from a higher point, emphasizing the vast size of the Sólheimajökull. On return to the hotel, we set off to the field round the corner from the hotel in Hvolsvollur and waited for Northern Lights but an hour later we started to lose hope. But then I spotted the glimpse of green we had all been waiting for. Within seconds my and many others dreams had come true. It was a moment we most likely will never experience again.  

Day 3: We went for a nice relaxing time in the secret lagoon to start. Next on the list was a quick physics lesson. Stopping off at the world famous ‘Great Geysir’ we got to see one of the most desired sights, erupting every 5 minutes. 

Overall, and I am sure everyone can agree with this, Iceland was something that we can never forget. This trip made us realize what the future could look like from an environmental and economic view but also showed us some of the most beautiful places you could ever imagine. It is a geographer’s dream! There is one final thing that must be said, a massive thanks to the teachers and guide Rob who had to put up with us and planned this trip. They were the people who made it happen and we are extremely grateful!