47 students and four staff visited Iceland over the half term break on the annual Upper Sixth Geography trip. The accompanying photos taken by Ben Smith show some of the sights. Having set off from Rossendale at 1am we were tired out when we reached Iceland in the afternoon but were quickly re-invigorated by being lightly poached in the Blue Lagoon's boiling water and then scrambled under its hot waterfall, not to mention being dry roasted in the hot dry room and steamed in the sauna.
The first day saw us getting lost because the driver could not speak English but the volcanic scenery and plate tectonics made up for that. The Earth did not, unfortunately, move for us but it did spit at us at Geysir and we enjoyed a nice slide down to Gulfoss with Adam doing some of it on his back! The strange juxtaposition of a banana plantation where you could eat humungous elaborate ice creams in a country as cold as Iceland rounded off the day apart from yummy pasta at the cafe and more cooking of human flesh in the geothermal swimming pool next to the youth hostel in Reykjavik.
On the second day we went off to the south past Hekla, the volcano which is the doorway to The Journey to the Centre of the Earth apparently and we endured wonderful(!) stories about Saemundur the Wise. The winners in the race to the top of Valahnjukur mountain are on one of the photos - where do they get all that energy from? A special round of applause was given to Mrs Helm who had been training for weeks to get to the top with her two sticks. The stupendous views were followed by heroic efforts by the male students to get the young ladies across the Stakkholt river several times without getting their feet wet (well done Iain!) so they could experience the unique features at the end of the gorge. Gigjokull glacier was the end of the day but we then had birthday cake for Mrs Robinson at the hotel.
The Fellowship of the Ring came out in force to see us safely get on and off Solheimajokull glacier on the third full day. The temptation to dispose of certain students down crevasses was resisted by the staff and safety procedures were again observed to the letter as we ascended a nearby mountain for more stupendous views. Skogafoss waterfall was the background for yet another group photo after efforts by certain students failed to find the giant's treasure which is hidden behind the fall and gave them a thorough soaking. Thorthur Thomasson, the curator of the wonderful folk museum told us about life in the area long ago. He was thrilled when Oliver played a hymn in the church where everyone has to go to sing from Icelandic hymn books! After that it was back to Reykjavik for some retail therapy (at those prices?), more pasta and another broiling in the swimming pool.
And so up we got at some unearthly hour the next day to fly back to Glasgow and home sweet home after a fabulous trip, the essence of which these few words hardly begin to portray.