During the Michaelmas half term, a group of Fifth and Sixth Form pupils enjoyed an opportunity to explore Iceland, conducting scientific experiments in a geothermal park, experiencing glacial climbing and viewing the Northern Lights.

Ben (A) and Matthew (A) share their highlights of the trip.

One of the first places we visited was the Hveragerði geothermal park.

We cooked some rye bread in the steam from a hot spring and watched the geyser which erupted exactly every 20 minutes (you could even set your watch by it due to its accuracy).

We then carried out some scientific experiments in a nearby geothermal river where we measured pH level, temperature and ions.

A highlight of the trip was a hike out across one of the beautiful Icelandic valleys.

We climbed hills and walked through hot-spring strewn landscapes until we made it to a thermal river. The locals take picnics there and many were spending a happy few hours relaxing in the river.

We also visited the famous Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon (as featured in many movies including Lara Croft Tomb Raider) and watched the enormous icebergs chip off the glacier and float out to sea.

We also visited the secret lagoon which was a unique experience as the parts of one’s body that were above the water were incredibly cold whilst the areas below water were warm.

Every now and then a geyser would erupt nearby and a sudden burst of seemingly boiling water would enter the lagoon.

During the trip we also had the privilege of visiting the Sólheimajökull to try our hand at some glacial walking and climbing.

It is not every day you get to use a pickaxe and crampons with an Icelandic tour guide shouting at you to reach the top of a glacial crevasse. We even got to taste glacial water directly from the source which was very refreshing.

We were fortunate to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) whilst staying near Vik for two nights running. Much time was spent in the cold and dark gazing at the oddly moving lights in the sky.

That was certainly one to tick off the bucket list!

Throughout the excursion, we experienced plenty of Icelandic culture, met lots of kind and welcoming locals and learnt a lot, including the fact that in Icelandic, there is no translation for the word please.

We would encourage anyone given the opportunity to attend such trips as they are highly valuable experiences.

Takk Fyrir (Thanks)

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