Geography Trip to Iceland
2nd May, 2017
On the morning of the 24th March, 27 excited pupils, accompanied by four members of staff, left Merchiston and travelled to Glasgow airport.
Once we had arrived, we were quickly whisked away to the bridge between continents, and then over to the Blue Lagoon. For many boys this was the highlight of their trip. However, after a long day’s travel we were grateful to reach a traditional Viking hotel and restaurant on the outskirts of Reykjavik.
The next day, after a traditional Icelandic breakfast, we headed off to see the Hellisheidi geothermal power station. Then we journeyed through endless lava fields to visit two spectacular waterfalls. A real highlight of the trip was the Solheimajokull glacier, where we put on crampons and got ice axes to ascend the glacier. This was an awesome experience. Then to finish the day we went to the black sand beach in Vik.
On the third day we went down along the south coast of Iceland, where we saw examples of how earthquakes could devastate a community and even went into an earthquake simulator! After that we continued along the coast to reach the glacial lagoon which was another very picturesque spot. To finish the day we visited a huge lava field and learnt how Hekla’s eruption caused the French Revolution.
On the final day we toured the Golden Circle and also saw how Eyafiatlayokull had destroyed, but also provided for, many livelihoods and got to hear a personal account of the explosion and the recovery. On our first stop in the Golden Circle we saw the gigantic waterfall Gullfoss which processes 209,340,000m3 of water a day! We also went to Geysir, the location of Strokkur, one of the few active geysers in the world, which erupts every seven minutes. Finally, we finished of our day by going to Thingvellir, the site of the ancient Icelandic parliament.
On the whole the trip was a brilliant experience, with my personal highlights being the Blue Lagoon and the glacier walk. However, this wouldn’t be a Geography trip if we didn’t learn something about geography! We saw how glaciers erode the land like sandpaper, we saw how tectonic plates can lead to different environments and also learnt about reforestation and green energy.
Finally, this trip would not have happened if it wasn’t for the careful planning of Mr Buchanan and Dr Bower. We are also grateful for the supervision of Mr Charman from the School and Mr Dennis, Dr Belding and Major Ewing in Iceland. Also I would like to thank our great tour guide Brimdis and our brilliant bus driver Frans.