27th October 16
Driving rain, gale force winds, heavily laden packs, freezing river crossings, glaciers, rugged terrain and massive mountains didn’t prevent Gold and Silver Award Duke of Edinburgh students from completing the gruelling Laugavegur Trail in Iceland during August. The 55 kilometre four day walk, described generally as a moderate walk, (not sure which bit was moderate), was a challenging but totally rewarding experience for all 23 participants. The ever-changing scenery was spectacular ranging from lava fields, glaciers, black arctic desert, lush forested valleys, volcanic mountains and natural hot springs. The wonderland of colours offered by this diverse landscape were incredible with hues of vibrant greens, browns and greys all of which were completely in contrast to the brilliant white ice of the glaciers. The campsites along the trail, set in locations where the views are nothing but amazing, left the group exposed to the temperate weather conditions Iceland is subject to even in summer. Fierce winds and rain tore at the tents reinforcing the importance of securing the temporary homes properly.
This incredible and unforgettable journey left everyone with a feeling of achievement and appreciation of the beauty and diversity of Iceland but also with a very healthy respect of how conditions can change and how important it is to be prepared for everything. The hut at Alflavatn contained a very apt phrase on the blackboard, ‘Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst!’
Thank you to ex-pupil, Richard McEnery and to his fellow ex-marine, Luke Baker. Without them the trip would not have been possible.
Although the river crossings looked easy enough from our seats on the bus, day 1 was definitely a shock to the system! But as we went on throughout the four days, our group picked up our pace and the morale of the group was definitely more optimistic. This was needed on the 400m hill we encountered on day 3! The stunning scenery was something out of a fairy-tale book and as challenging as the hike was, I would do it all over again (even the river crossings and uphill’s!) and would recommend it to anyone!
Thank you Sandy, Santi, Richard and Luke for making this incredible experience possible, and for forcing me out of my comfort zone!