Stamford Students explore Iceland’s geographical spectacles

Stamford Students explore Iceland’s geographical spectacles

14 November 2019

Nearly seventy Stamford Endowed Schools students from Year 11 have travelled to Iceland for a five-day trip to experience its natural geographical features. This is the fourth year that students from Stamford have undertaken the trip, which helps them explore, in real-life, the content of their GCSE topics including tectonics, the impact of climate change upon glaciers, coastal landforms and much more.

The start of the trip brought a visit to the Gunnuhver and Reykjanes Geothermal Power Station, and the bridge between continents, before time to relax in the warm, mineral-rich thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, set amongst a landscape of black lava. The afternoon brought the Seltun Hot Springs, Reykjanesviti lighthouse, and views of the Valahnúkur mountain. A highlight at The Perlan Water Tower Museum was the chilly tour of a man-made ice cave, at -17 degrees Celsius, which allowed pupils to experience the sounds, smells and sights inside glacial ice. This was followed with views of the sights of the city from a 360-degree observation deck. The end of the day was marked with a 4D multisensory virtual experience inside the ‘FlyOver Iceland Experience’, where students felt the feeling of flight inside a 20m spherical cinema.

An early start on day three introduced students to the ‘Lava Centre’, a new facility dedicated to revealing the secrets of Iceland’s volcanoes. A drive past the Eyjafjallajökull flood plain took students to the Sólheimajökull glacier walk, where the impact of climate change was striking. With the help of an experienced glacier guide, students learned to use basic ice equipment, crampons and ice axes to traverse the natural ice sculptures and deep cravasses. After lunch, students enjoyed the coastal town of Vik, and a variety of waterfalls and beaches, lined by balsalt cliffs.

Day four was more relaxed, with a trip to the Secret Lagoon; a natural hot spring and bathing pool in the small village of Fluoir, on the Golden Circle. In the afternoon students discovered where the first parliament of Iceland had been formed; exploring the great Gullfoss double waterfall and walk between the continents in the Thingvellir national park.

On their last day, students enjoyed walking tour of Reykjavik and saw the impressive cathedral and city’s unique architecture.

The group’s main bases were the capital city of Reykjavik and the town of Hella. Hella sits just west of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, on the shores of the River Ytri Rangá, and offered the opportunity to study glacial systems and landscapes as well as water and carbon cycles.

Mr James Mitchell, Geography teacher at Stamford School, said: ‘All the students were fantastic on the trip and got to see the wonder of geography in action.’

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