We were thrilled to get school groups back out to Iceland this February Half Term, and it seems the excitement was shared by teachers, students and our Field Study Tutors too,
Cath Rule, Geography Tours Development Manager at Rayburn Tours (we’re pretty sure that she holds the official title of ‘Iceland’s number one fan’) tells us what she missed most about this captivating island in the middle of the Atlantic and why she is thrilled to be back in Iceland with school groups.
A New Volcano
Let’s start with a big one! On 19th March 2021, after months of earthquake activity, a volcanic eruption finally began in the uninhabited Geldingadalir Valley on the side of Fagradalsfjall Mountain. It started as an effusive, fissure eruption, although very quickly a number of spatter cones formed, with activity eventually becoming focused at just one of these cones. The eruption continued for 6 months and the lava flow changed the landscape of the surrounding valleys of Geldingadalir, Meradalir and Nátthagi. The new lava field, named Fagradalshraun (beautiful valley Lava), covers an area of 4.8km². It is possible to walk to the Natthagi Valley to view the newly formed lava flow and you can speak to your Tour Coordinator about safely including this in your itinerary.
Iceland is jam packed with take your breath away, wow inducing, drop dead dramatic scenery. Waterfalls, glaciers, fjords, hot springs, canyons, rivers, mountains, craters and black sand beaches compete for attention and the adventurer is spoiled for choice at every turn. I love how the landscape is constantly changing from moody and ominous to mysterious and uplifting, as the seasons and the weather change, sometimes within the space of ten minutes. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get back exploring.
Iceland may be a small country geographically with a population of almost 370,000, but it certainly packs a big punch. This country leaves a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to visit. The Icelandic people are brimming with national pride and maintaining their heritage and traditions, along with protecting the environment, are priorities. This doesn’t hold back their creativity and there is a rich procession of successful authors, artists and musicians.
They will be happy to tell you that Iceland is the best in the world at any given opportunity and the country always ranks very highly for gender equality and on the World Happiness Index. The people have many distinctive traits and quirks that make them special. No matter what the weather they are extremely fond of a dip in a thermal pool. Not to mention their love for an ice cream, antidotes to many an ailment. Despite the harsh weather and dark winters there is an optimism about the country that is contagious. We could all definitely do with catching some of this right now.
I’ve always found it amusing that the tourist shops will try to sell cans of Icelandic air. Boy do I appreciate this now more than ever before! Taking a deep, lung filling breath of the air in Iceland never fails to energise and bring about a sense of peace. Obviously you need to pick your moment; taking a deep breath whilst surrounded by sulphurous hot springs might have quite the reverse effect.
Let’s get back to Iceland
If you can’t wait to get back to Iceland too, then we’re here to help. Our team are helping many schools finalise their plans for later this year and 2023, and we are here to support you every step of the way too. With our ABTA and ATOL licenses, Covid Guarantee and comprehensive insurance plan, you can also feel confident that we’ve got you covered.