Students visit land of fire and ice

Pocklington School Students in IcelandDuring October half term, 16 geography and chemistry students from year 11 to Upper 6th accompanied by teachers, Mrs McDowell and Mrs Brennan, took a trip to Iceland to experience the breath-taking scenery and explore the abundance of geographical features.

Mrs McDowell writes about the trip below:

Iceland is a stunningly beautiful and enchanting country, which sits on an active volcanic ridge at the edge of the Arctic Circle. The Iceland tour packed in sights in the South West region around Reykjavik and took place over three days.

An early morning flight from Manchester airport leaving at 6am enabled us to arrive at Reykjavik airport by 9am to start our tour. We were met by our guide and driver who took us to Reykjanes Peninsular to see the geothermal activity at Gunnuhver Hot Steam outlets and the Bridge between the continents, where the North American and Eurasian plates are moving apart. The first day was extremely wet, however, we continued on to explore the volcanism and hot mud pools of the Reykjanes Peninsular at Krysuvik and the volcanoes at Stora and Litla Eldborg. This gave us an opportunity to observe a protected crater. We were given clear advice not to step off the walkways as the moss growing can hide crevasses in lava underneath or scalding hot springs as Ed Sheeran discovered! In this volcanic area, we also saw sulphurous rocks, red iron oxide and basalt, rich in iron and magnesium.

On the second day, we had clear blue skies with a temperature of -3°C and cold winds. We set out on the classic Golden Circle tour which visits many of Iceland’s most famous sights. This started at Thingvellir National Park, which is situated on the mid-Atlantic ridge and is visibly tearing apart in a riot of geology. This was also the site of Iceland’s Viking parliament.

A view of a waterfall in IcelandWe continued on to the Secret Lagoon, a wonderful experience! We took a relaxing dip in the oldest geothermal bath in Iceland, first built in 1891 by channelling the natural geothermal waters of the Fludir region. The temperature of the water was between 38 and 400C. The hardest part was to dash from the warm water to the changing room with temperatures below freezing!

We then went on to the Geysir (a spouting hot spring) area which contains the first geyser known to modern Europeans. We observed the Strokkur Geysir which erupts every 4-8 minutes, 15-20m high. Some students managed to obtain some fantastic photos and videos of this amazing experience. This was followed by a breathtaking view at Gulfoss, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Gulfoss is a powerful two-tier waterfall roaring away on the Hvita River. It is set in a deep canyon, which adds to the spectacle. We also enjoyed the view of an icy glacier north of the river.

In the evening there were high hopes of seeing the Northern lights. We followed an app to guide us about the time of activity in the night sky and managed to see a faint green colour, which quickly passed. 

For a Flickr album of more photos click here.