An Easter break in Iceland

During the Easter holidays a group of Chemistry students and staff spent six days touring the coast of Southern Iceland on a trip full of fascinating and exciting experiences.

Matthew Roberts of the Meteorological Office set the scene for the whole trip as he explained to the students how volcanic eruptions are predicted and monitored; including developments that are currently under observation.

From Reykjavik, the group moved on to the spectacular waterfall at Gullfoss, the National Park at Thingvellir and then Geysir. Getting extremely wet by walking behind the Seljalandfoss waterfall was a new and awe inspiring experience for most of the participants.

Another highlight of the trip was meeting the Thorvaldseyri farming family at their new visitor centre. The family had been strongly affected by the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption which covered their farm with a thick layer of ash. They were lucky to survive and both students and staff found this a really moving testament to human resilience.

Then it was onto Jokulsarlon; an open lagoon with its trapped icebergs where “Die Another Day” was filmed. A walk from there down to the beach saw them surrounded by small icebergs and witness a couple of seals going out to sea. To round the day off, the group moved away from the tourist trail to Fjallsarlon, another iceberg-filled lake where they were able to stand silently in the mist listening to the ice creaking and the haunting sound of a pair of Great Northern divers; a magical if slightly spooky experience.

The tour ended with a visit to two glaciers. The sun came out for a spot of sunbathing on the rocks with the glacier in the background;  a beautiful picture. Finally it was on to the hot mud springs and a visit to the famous “Blue Lagoon” before heading off to the airport.

The trip was full of new experiences; big blue skies, snow capped glaciers, lava, volcanic ash, the Northern Lights, outdoor hot tubs and swimming pools and the chance to meet some lovely Icelanders and enjoy a bit of their beautiful country.

Check out more of the fantastic photos of this trip on the Alton College Chemistry Facebook page.