Iceland Trip

An intrepid group of 32 boys and 5 members of staff set out in mid-October for the first Shrewsbury House trip to Iceland ‘Land of Fire and Ice’.  The main focus was to experience first-hand the landscapes created at a constructive plate boundary and the unique lifestyle and culture of the people living on this volcanic island. 

A very excited group of boys took off from London Heathrow care of Icelandair to land just a few hours later at Keflavik airport.  On our transfer to Reykjavik we walked through the steaming mudpools of Gunnuhver, the smell of rotting fish left a lot to be desired though it was worth it to witness the surprisingly active steam vent emitting a noxious cloud some 30 metres into the air. The boys then had the opportunity of standing on the bridge between the continents, spanning the new land created as the Eurasian and North American plate move apart 2cm every year.  The sun was close to setting as we looked out to sea to the distant island of Eldey and lamented the extinction of the Great Auk!

Over the next 3 days the boys had an action packed itinerary.  They scaled glaciers with crampons, drinking fresh water from glacial streams and wielding ice axes! We donned hard hats and ventured down into the lava tube caves and experienced true darkness as we all turned off our helmet lights deep underground. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the night swimming in geothermally heated pools in Reykjavik and also at the Secret Lagoon with its natural hot springs and bathing pool.  It was also fascinating to visit the geothermal power station at Hellsheidi and understand the science behind the process.  The earthquake simulator was certainly an experience, which left some us quite literally screaming in terror (mentioning no names!).

The weather was perfect for trekking through the Thingvellir national park and visiting the black basaltic cliffs and caves at Reynishverfi.  It was a spectacular sight to walk behind the waterfalls at Seljanlandfoss, where water cascades over 60 metres from a former sea cliff.  We drove across the plains at the foot of the famous Eyjafjallajokull volcano and visited the interactive Volcano and Earthquake centre.  There were many tales of the Icelandic folklore and our guide had an excellent knowledge of the changing economy and industry in the country.  Geysir was very active and this spouting hot spring did not disappoint shooting water every 5-6 minutes creating some fabulous photo opportunities.  It also had a superb gift shop and the boys were keen to offload their Icelandic krona! 

We may have only seen the Northern lights in our dreams but we were certainly left with a smile on our faces as we returned from such a wonderful trip.  Many thanks to both staff and boys for a truly memorable trip.