A GROUP of Darlington students have experienced the effects of global warming at first hand during the most ambitious trip undertaken by their school.

The students from Hurworth School visited Sólheimajökull, which translates as the “sun house glacier”, during a trip to Iceland.

The glacier has been melting since the end of the 19th century and is now retreating at a rate of around 100 metres per year.

The Icelandic adventure was chosen after students in Years 8 and 9 were canvassed by teachers on what sort of school trip they would like the following year.

Geography teacher, Simon Gray, said: “They all agreed they wanted something different to what had been offered previously, so we did a lot of research and chose Iceland.”

The five-day trip by the 44 students also took in sights like the Blue Lagoon, where they were able to swim in warm, geo-thermal seawater, and the impressive basalt columns, reminiscent of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Other activities on the volcanically active island included walking amongst the mud pools and steam vents and across a volcanic beach, seeing the lava fields, and drinking the natural, crystal-clear Icelandic water.

Mr Gray added: “This has been the most ambitious trip the school has organised in terms of numbers, cost and adventure level, and they’ve all really enjoyed it. They’ve seen global warming in evidence, they’ve walked up a volcano with a heated river, and they’ve seen the most spectacular waterfalls.”

Hebe Baik, 15, said: “You wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to go somewhere like that. It’s one of the best trips I’ve been on.”

Caitlin Speed, 15, enjoyed the waterfalls which, she said, “you don’t get on that scale in the UK”, while 15-year-old Will Phillips’ favourite trip was to the Blue Lagoon.

All the students agreed with Harry Wood, 15, who was most impressed with the glacier and would have liked the trip to have lasted longer.