Here are sixty-four photos from our amazing King’s Ely Prep Geography Trip to Iceland!

Fifty pupils from Years 7 and 8, Mr Alan Parkinson, Mrs Helen Melville, Miss Caitlin Beavis, Dr Ailbhe Duane, Mr Jonathan Hobbs and Miss Kathryn Sudbury, spent five action-packed days exploring the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ from March 15th-20th.

Mrs Melville, who was the main organiser of the trip, said: “Ice certainly greeted us as we stepped out of the airport and straight into a sleet storm, which was a bit of a shock to the system! However, we warmed ourselves up at the incredible Lava Show, where we were given a live demonstration with real lava, of how it flows, cools and interacts with ice. Everyone was gripped by this unbelievable sight so close up and we were excited when the presenter told us that the latest fissure eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula was expected “any day now”. Little did we realise that she meant that so literally!

“The next day we had perfect weather for our ‘Golden Circle Tour’, visiting the main natural highlights of this region of the island. We started with an investigation into a lava tunnel left behind after an eruption 5,000 years ago. The tunnel was filled with incredible ice sculptures from the water dripping into it and when the lights were turned out, we could see absolutely nothing! We then headed to Geysir, a geothermal site with Strokkur, a highly active geysir erupting with boiling water about every six minutes. We enjoyed trying to predict the eruptions and waiting eagerly for the next one!

“Gullfoss was next – the most spectacular of waterfalls with a huge volume of water flowing all year round. The frozen falls made quite the natural spectacle. Thingevllir was our next stop, home to the original Parliament of Iceland in 930 AD and also the location where the rift between the North American and Eurasian plates is most evident. The whole valley is a series of gorges and fissures where the hard basalt rocks are being pulled apart by the earth’s forces. Really quite an awe-inspiring place to be!

“We then headed to our wonderful guesthouse in Hjardarboli, a very traditional family-run accommodation with fabulous hospitality and two very friendly dogs that everyone made a fuss of! Dinner was delicious lasagne, which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone and afterwards we all settled down to card games, reading or getting ready for an early night, which is when the guesthouse owner came through and turned on the television to show us that the latest eruption had literally just started! Everyone was wowed by the images on the TV screen and knowing that we were so nearby made it feel extra special! I would be lying if I said that for a split second Mr P and I didn’t wonder if there was any chance of getting nearer to the eruption! It was so exciting to see the spectacular tv images and outside we were able to see the glow in the sky from the lava 65-kilometres away. What awesome timing to be in Iceland on a Geography Trip when a volcano erupts!

“Things had calmed down with the volcano a lot by the next morning but we were all excited for one of our highlights, the glacier walk! We took in the beautiful rainbows at the Skogafoss waterfall and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine. We quickly got used to the very changeable and unpredictable weather in Iceland. They have a saying – “If you do not like the weather in Iceland, just wait five minutes!” Overall, we were very lucky, only getting wet on that very first day and enjoying some lovely spells of sunshine in between the squalls that magically seemed to happen when we were on the coach!

“I think the glacier walk was a highlight for many. The excitement of being kitted out with crampons and ice axes, and stepping foot onto the real glacier was nerve-racking but incredible. We soon learned to trust the grip of the crampons and thanks to our guides, we strode up the ice like professionals to enjoy the view from high up and to gather for some group photos as a gang of marauding Vikings! We then popped quickly to the black sands beaches near Vik to watch the huge waves crashing ashore from a very safe distance away, before another welcome early night in the guesthouse and dinner with the ongoing eruption showing on the screen behind us!

“We finished the trip with a hike up and around the 3,000 year old Grábrók crater, a visit to the biggest hot spring in Iceland that pipes the hot water for 24 hours over the hills to Reykjavik, and the beautiful Hraunfossar falls, a stunning ice blue stretch of waterfalls. I think we all agreed that we saw the best that this beautiful country has to offer, rounding off our time with handmade pizzas back in Reykjavik, before our journey home.

“The staff team of Mr Parkinson, who acted as our brilliant guide for the whole trip, Miss Sudbury, Miss Beavis, Dr Duane and Mr Hobbs were fantastic, and I cannot thank them enough for all that they did. However, the trip was made even more special by the excellent attitude, enthusiasm and behaviour of all fifty children, who were a huge credit to themselves and to King’s Ely Prep.

“We are now excited for our return visit in October and the information about the Spring 2026 Trip will be sent out to those in Years 6 and 7 in September. I think we have certainly put Iceland back on the King’s Ely map!”

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