Students take an adventure of a lifetime to Iceland and New York

Over the half term break, Year 10 to Upper Sixth Form Geology and Geography students visited Iceland and New York City. Geology Teacher Mr Angel gives us his account of this spectacular trip.

“The travelling party of 31 students and staff set off in high spirits from School early on the Saturday morning ready for an adventure of a lifetime. The Icelandair flight from Gatwick to Keflavik was smooth and comfortable, landing in the country of fire and ice on time.

Following a hearty breakfast, we boarded the coach with our guide Bergir and off we went to Pingvellir (the site of the earliest parliament in Europe and even more exciting the exposed section of the Mid- Atlantic Ridge – a geologists heaven!)

The mighty Gullfoss waterfalls were thunderous and impressive, the Strokkur geyser erupted on time enthralling the masses whilst the sun shone brightly throughout. Following a good night`s sleep the next day brought us to Skogafoss, another iconic waterfall, the site of numerous car adverts and pop band videos! This was a precursor to the infamous glacier walk. All booted up with crampons and safety helmets our intrepid party ascended onto the Solheimajokull where our ice picks were used to help us through the crevasses. It was dramatic enough to see the growing meltwater lake in front of the ice but picking out the dark bands of volcanic ash within the ice was awesome. The trip to the coast to see the monstrous waves crashing onto the foreshore in front of the spectacular cliffs of columnar basalt will live long in the memory and many a fine photograph caught the action. We said farewell to Iceland following a relaxing dip in the Blue Lagoon.

Off to New York and what a contrast! Busy, lively, manic and chaotic all rolled into one. Bubba Gumps sampled on the first evening before settling into our magnificent hotel was a great start to our stay. Elliot was our guide and he worked tirelessly throughout our time in the Big Apple to ensure we had a great visit. Visits to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the 9/11 Museum were both thought provoking and sobering in mind. The walk to Brooklyn Bridge with a setting golden sun was spectacular but merely matched the splendour and drama of the urban canyons of the city. An evening meal in Chinatown to celebrate Gabriel Downer`s 18th birthday was most welcome. The next day visits to the American Natural History Museum, Central Park (to collect some Manhattan Schist), St Patricks Cathedral and Times Square were all very well received.

Finally, the Empire State building at night offered another glimpse and perspective of this remarkable city. The contrast between the two destinations was as extreme as you could imagine. Students were torn to identify their favourite from the wilderness and raw beauty of Iceland to the busy metropolis of one of the finest cities in the world. The geologists and geographers on the trip will have memories which will simply last a lifetime.”