Hurst Geography Explore Iceland - Hurstpierpoint College

Hurst Geography Explore Iceland

We began our trip with an early wake up on Thursday morning to travel to the airport for our flight. After landing in Keflavik, we transferred to Reykjavik where we would be staying for the rest of our trip. After leaving our luggage in the hostel, we started exploring Reykjavik, visiting the statue of Leifur Eirikkson, Reykjavik Cathedral and most importantly the Omnom chocolate factory! We then split off into groups to complete a scavenger hunt of the city, searching for the best pieces of art work and a fun fact from a local person to help build up our perception of place to support the A-level specification. After returning to the hostel in the hub of downtown Reykjavik, we had dinner accompanied by the livestream of House Music which was a nice way to end an action-packed first full day.

On the second day, we got up nice and early to start our day of adventures. We began by visiting Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, which generates over 303MW of electricity each year and this is supplied across Iceland; this was a great link to the Resource Security element of the A-level. Afterwards, we went to The Secret Lagoon which is naturally heated geothermally and was a nice way to warm up given we weren’t used to the cold Icelandic temperatures. Following this, we followed the famous Golden Circle tour taking in the spectacular sights of Gulfoss waterfall and Geysir (hot spring), both of which were breath-taking and dramatic. The day rounded off with a visit Pingvellier where you can walk between the North-American and Eurasian plate boundaries – real geography in action as well as idyllic views of Iceland’s scenery.

Day three began with a trip to the Lava Centre learning about Iceland’s volcanic geography before we stopped off at the most amazing waterfall, Seljalandsfoss. Although it was rather cold and wet due to the spray, we managed to walk behind it which gave us some rather jaw-dropping photo opportunities. After drying off in the bus, we prepared for the favourite activity of the trip: walking on a glacier. Having suitably kitted up, we clambered across Solheimajokull glacier with some of the group even tasting the meltwater in the old Viking style! It was fantastic to see and walk on a real glacier and see in real life features of glaciation. It was sad to note the impact that climate change is clearly having on the glacier with the vast retreat of it. The highlight of the glacier walk was walking through a crevasse! With the weather drawing in, we travelled to Vik beach to experience a volcanic black-pebbled and sand beach for the first time with spectacular coastal scenery of basalt hexagonal columns. Big shout out must go to the bus driver who kept us entertained with various Icelandic stories about each location we visited.

On the final full day, we travelled to Hrauanfossar (Lava Falls). The clear blue meltwater was gorgeous, made even nicer by the amazing weather and blue skies. Back in Reykjavik, we rounded off the final day by going up Reykjavik Cathedral to see the city from a different angle. After settling down for our last night in the hostel, we received an excited message that the Northern Lights had been spotted. We rushed out and spent our final evening in Reykjavik watching the lights dance around the night sky. It was the most amazing way to finish off a fantastic trip to Iceland!

Written by Zoe R, UVI Geographer.