The Geography department took 24 Sixth Form students to Iceland – the land of fire and ice – to study glaciated forms, waterfalls and volcanoes.
The girls spent five days travelling along the south coast, stopping regularly to visit glaciers (in Icelandic: jokull), waterfalls (foss) and volcanoes. Seljalandsfoss was first, followed by Skogarfoss in such bright sunshine that a double rainbow was cast by the spray. The girls then donned crampons and harnesses and hiked up the snout of Solheimajokull with expert Icelandic guides.
The following day was spent visiting the huge lava field created by the Laki eruptions in the 1700s, which is said to have been a contributing factor in the French Revolution. The undoubted highlight of the trip was Jökulsárlón, a deep lagoon that has been gauged out by a glacier known as breidamerkuljokull. The lagoon is filled with giant icebergs made up of ten-thousand-year-old blue ice carved from the glacier, and it was an astonishing sight in the bright sunshine. Returning toward Reykjavík, the girls stopped off at Gullfoss (a huge waterfall that plunges down into a fault), Thingvellir (the historic site of Iceland’s thousand-year-old parliament) and the obligatory but extraordinary Geysir. Before flying home, the girls had some time for some relaxation in the Blue Lagoon spa, a turquoise geothermally heated pool set in the lava fields of the Reykjanes peninsula.
Iceland is a uniquely well suited as a destination for a geography trip and, though extraordinary in any weather, we were particularly lucky to see it in such splendid sunshine.