Fifty Hedingham School students and five accompanying teachers had a particularly exciting Easter holiday as they took part in the school’s first ever trip to see the wonders of Iceland (not the supermarket….!) The students spent 4 action packed days exploring natural geothermal spas, spectacular waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, boiling mud pools and extinct volcanic craters.
As soon as the group landed in Reykjavik they headed straight off to the famous Blue Lagoon which is set in a spectacular black lava landscape. The water is drawn from a depth of 2000m and is rich in natural minerals and blue-green algae. As the temperature of the water is between 30 and 400C and the air temperature was below zero, it was a great place to begin the trip! As 15 year old Lily Lee from Sible Hedingham commented, ‘There were so many extraordinary sights to see in Iceland and the Blue Lagoon was really beautiful and so warm!’
Iceland is not blessed with many sunny days a year, but the trip was lucky enough to have 2 glorious days of bright blue skies and they also had a snowfall of over two feet in depth whilst in Iceland which gave endless opportunities for building snowmen and having snow ball fights! Visiting the Solheimajokull glacier in such snowy conditions meant that the crampons and ice axes the students were issued with came in very useful for the long icy walk in a wonderland of ice ridges and crevasses. Brendan Masheder also from Sible Hedingham was hugely impressed by the landscape and said, ‘Everything you see is natural in Iceland and it was so nice to visit things that weren’t built or man-made in any way.’ Ellie Pike from Great Yeldham, who had her 16th Birthday while on the trip, commented “I can’t imagine a more special way to celebrate my birthday than being on a glacier with all my friends”.
During the trip students had the opportunity to visit one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls which has a thundering curtain of water 60 metres high. They walked on the black lava sand beaches (in the snow!) and viewed remarkable basalt sea stacks and massive natural rock arches. They were also able to find out more about the impact of the recent volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 by looking at dramatic photos of the event at the visitor centre.
The trip ended with a walk amongst boiling mud pools and hot springs and a drive through a lava desert before it was time to head home. Fourteen year old Nisha Chahal from Great Yeldham summed up the group experience when she said, ‘Iceland is beautiful and the people there are so happy and friendly it makes you really happy too! The sights were astonishing and I loved Iceland so much that I didn’t want to come back to England!’