In March, Hollins’ geography department (Mr Edmondson and Mrs Johnstone), with help from Mrs Hargreaves and Mr Hunter, took 36 pupils from Y9 and Y10 on an amazing 5-day tour of southern Iceland (even with the fact that we left school at 3.45am!). We flew from Manchester airport into Keflavik, near Reykjavik, where we were met by our tour guide and immediately began our adventure, driving to Selfoss whilst stopping to see the rifts created as Iceland is slowly torn apart by the movement of tectonic plates and walk across the ‘bridge between two continents’, as well as bubbling hot springs before climbing a volcanic crater at Stampar. Our accommodation for our first two nights was fantastic – it even had naturally heated outdoor hot tubs we could relax in, surrounded by snow!
On the second day we woke up to a real treat – a swim in ‘The Secret Lagoon’ – a naturally heated outdoor pool. We then went on to see how food is grown in geothermally heated greenhouses all year round – the ground was warm to touch – before driving to Geysir, the site of Iceland’s most active ‘water spout’ and visiting an Icelandic ice-cream farm (yes, in the snow, in March!) before driving to another amazing location – Thingvellir, the 5km wide rift-valley separating the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates. It had to be seen to be believed!
Our third day got even better! It we began driving further south, towards the black-sand beaches near Vik. Here, we learned about Iceland’s deadly ‘sneaker’ waves and saw the stunning coastal landscape of towering headlands, arches and sea-stacks. On the way we spent three hours walking up the Sólheimajökull glacier (with crampons and ice-axes to help us). This activity was simply stunning! We then visited the ‘Lava Show’ – another highlight! The exhibition allows fresh lava, at over 1000oC, to flow right in front of us, allowing us to see, hear and smell this amazing natural phenomenon whilst an expert taught us about the nature of lava in Iceland.
The next day we drove back to Reykjavik, stopping at the Lava Centre – a fascinating interactive museum detailing Iceland’s volcanic history. On the way we stopped at two stunning 60m high waterfalls – we walked to the top of Skogafoss and explored the bottom of Seljalandsfoss. Both dwarf the highest falls in England! We continued on to Reykjavik, where we had a brief tour of the city by bus before checking into our final hotel and heading out for a fantastic meal at ‘The Hamburger Factory’, where we rewarded our pupils with certificates celebrating the Hollins 7 values they had demonstrated. After the meal we were fortunate enough to see the northern lights – a fantastic way to end our visit!
Before heading back to Keflavik to fly home on the final day, we spent an hour in another naturally-heated swimming pool, before buying lunch and doing some souvenir shopping in Reykjavik.
‘Sir, you’ve absolutely smashed it with this trip!’
The trip will be offered to year 8 and Y9 pupils next year. The department can’t wait to run it again!