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Range High School completed their field trip to Iceland in the February half term and encountered spectacular geographical features and areas of outstanding natural beauty. After landing in very snowy and blizzard like conditions, we made a brief stop for lunch at the local shops before heading to the Blue Lagoon. Here, the pupils relaxed in the hot natural springs, whilst enjoying the impressive views of the volcanic features that surrounded them. Outside temperatures were hovering at around minus 3 but the hot water, fed by the local geothermal power plant made it an oasis of relaxation.
Day 2 saw temperatures plummet even further and conditions worsened. This led to severe weather warnings and unusual road closures around most of Iceland. Despite this disappointing news, it presented us with the opportunity to explore Reykjavik, as the roads here were the only ones open. After a whistle stop tour of the city and visits to the President’s official residence, Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church and the centre of Reykjavik, we retreated back to the comfort of the hostel for lunch. We then spent the afternoon in the local ice skating rink where the pupils got to show off their skills on the ice.
Day 3 and the conditions improved somewhat, meaning that we could venture deeper into Iceland. A 3 hour drive to the Sólheimajökull glacier meant a very early start. Conditions at the glacier, despite being particularly cold, were perfect and all students made it up and down the glacier and experienced some breath-taking views on the way. The next stop was the village of Vík, where students got to see one of the most isolated communities on the Island. A short drive away from Vík brought us to Reynisfjara, which is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland. With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches.
The next stop brought us to the stunningly beautiful waterfall of Skógafoss which is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of 60m and a width of 25 m. Due to the particularly cold weather, we got to observe Skógafoss in its very striking frozen form, which is very rarely seen. With daylight quickly fading, it was a race against time to try and make it to our last two destinations.
A one and a half hour drive took us to Iceland’s most popular waterfall, Gullfoss. Arriving with just enough daylight, we got to observe Gullfoss just before darkness. We were greeted with extremely cold temperatures, and the wind rocketing through the canyon made the -10°C conditions feel more like -20 °C. One last stop brought us to the Great Geysir Region of Iceland. Here, we got to observe the fountain Geyser, Strokkur. Located in the area beside the Hvítá River, it is one of Iceland’s most famous geysers, erupting once every 6–10 minutes to a height of up to 40m.
Unfavourable weather conditions and second day cancellations meant that we didn’t get to see Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park or the Northern Lights but it gives us an excuse to go back at some point in the near future.
Mr Hughes, Geography Department