Iceland Trip 2019
During the first week of the Easter break staff and students departed for what is now Hurstmere’s sixth trip to Iceland. Just over 40 lucky students from Year 11 got the opportunity to visit this fantastic country and see the northern lights! It was also the first time that the trip included visiting the north of Iceland, which was not only amazing, but was where the majority of our time was spent. Students conducted themselves immaculately, and should all be very proud in the way that they represented the school. It was an incredible and unforgettable experience for everyone.
After a relatively short flight we arrived at Keflavík International Airport in Reykjavík. It was from here that we took a long and tiring 5 hour coach journey to the north, and eventually settled in Akureyri for an overnight stay. Despite the fact that it was extremely late, the hotel kindly cooked up some fresh salmon from the fjord next to the hotel for us, yum!
It would be impossible to give an account of all of the stunning places that we visited, but there are some notable highlights from students and staff that had to be included, plus pictures paint a thousand words so we have included some great photos for you to admire.
“Today we started off with a journey to Goðafoss, the ‘waterfall of the Gods’. We arrived to see a long gorge which led to a compact but beautiful waterfall. Lots of photos were snapped from a viewing platform, which was nice as there was also a rainbow present. Once we wondered around the waterfall, we went inside a small café and stocked up on souvenirs, snacks and drinks. It was a great start to the day with the weather being fantastic.” -Charlie Luck
“We then took the coach to Dettifoss waterfall, which is the most powerful in Europe. We made our way through the snow towards the main waterfall. Like Goðafoss, there was a viewing platform that allowed us to take pictures of the waterfall. The weather was cold but still bright, and was well worth the wait on the coach!” -Oliver Seal
Both Goðafoss and Dettifoss are both major tourist hotspots in the north of Iceland, attracting many visitors each year. Thankfully when visiting Dettifoss we had the chance to travel further up the river, closer to its source, where we located another small waterfall. Many students were able to draw connections to what they had studied in class, as it was a fantastic real life example.
Myvatn Nature Baths
However, one of the best parts of the trip was visiting the Myvatn Nature Baths, which was far less commercialised than the blue lagoon, and also came with a stunning view overlooking the magnificent Myvatn lake and volcanic landscape! We had the opportunity to bathe in the natural, hot, murky waters. Another noticeable thing whilst here was the strong smell of sulphur, with many complaining about the eggy smell! This was a relaxing activity on our first full day in Iceland.
“After such a jam packed morning we proceeded to climb the ridge of an extinct crater. This was an incredibly challenging trek, but our determination allowed us to pull through. Mrs Bennett conquered her fear of heights due to two magnificent students helping her. From the distance, a tall athletic Mr Baston emerged from the dust. Once at the top we admired the glorious view of Iceland.” -Josh Beckingham
Husavik Whale Watching
On the day before our return we were lucky enough to go whale watching from the whale watching capital of Europe: Husavik! Setting off at around lunchtime with North Sailing, we were fortunate enough to see multiple minkie whales and even a young Humpback! It was freezing out at sea, and so we had to put on additional coat to protect us from the conditions. We were also grateful to be treated with hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls on the journey back to Husavik from the crew. It was at this point many of us were exhausted but it was worth it for the mind blowing experience!
Lava Tube Caving
On our final morning before we went to the airport we went lava tube caving, this involved getting kitted out with crampons, hard hats and head torches before exploring the extinct lave tunnels.
The lava cave was amazing, to see stalactites and stalagmites made of ice and the strange geology in the lave tubes formed by the molten rock from past eruptions made you feel like you were in another world. When we all turned off our torches and sat in silence in the pitch black it was both slightly scary and very peaceful; an experience I will never forget! - Max Boles
Listening to feedback from the students it has to be said that the 2019 trip to Iceland is one of the best trips to Iceland we have had, especially with the new areas we explored in the north and the new activities added in this year. As well as being enjoyable and educational, it also gave students a brief break from exam revision. The staff and school are very proud of everyone that went and it was a pleasure to take such a great group of students away. We now look forward to the 2020 trip! (if you are going to be in Yr11 in 2020 and would like to go to on the Iceland trip and have not expressed an interest please come speak to me).
-Mr Baston and Mr Monksfield