Stephen Johnson writes the following about his Travel Award trip in 1989....
In 1989 Andrew Sederman and I applied for a Travel Award. Our purpose was to visit Iceland to try to meet some of the now adults who were involved in the first international school trip from Abbotsholme lead by Mr David Dean in 1968 to Iceland.
We won an award that covered our flights from Glasgow to Iceland and our camping costs for the 24 days. Our aim was to travel around the whole of Iceland roughly following the one road that circles the country. We left on 15th July 1989.
During the trip we managed to contact 4 of the people who had hosted the Abbotsholme visitors in 1968 and a subsequent trip made in 1972. Helga Duadottir met us at Reykjavik airport at 2300 on our arrival - when, due to the time of year and the Northern location, it was still broad daylight. She drove us to her sister Erna’s.
We reminisced and they then hosted us and showed us around Reykjavik for 48 hours before we set off around the country.
We climbed mountains into the snow but generally slept at lower levels. After a week of hitch hikingwe made it to Akureyri, 440 kms from Reykjavik. On the way we climbed mountains near Hof, repeating the journey of the 1972 expeditioners.
We also visited the golf course in Akureyri, the most northerly golf course in the world.
On the way we met two other people who had helped facilitate the Abbotsholme trips in 1968 and 1972 - ThornsteinEinerrson (the ex minister of sport) and Bjorn Danielsson who had helped the visitors when they were in the north of the island near Dalvik.
We had access to a flat in Akureyri - our two new friends Helga and Erna had given us keys to an empty flat which they let us use for a few days. We relaxed and recovered here before setting off on the second half of the trip.
Going via several geysers and The Blue Lagoon, we then got picked up by a guy driving a Porsche who gave us a very generous lift back to the airport.
Overall we travelled 1600 km hitch hiking or on a bus. We walked approx 200kms. It is fair to say being so wet and tired so much on this trip hasn’t endeared me to camping - it’s turned me into more of a glamping traveller - but it was a wonderful experience and has made me keen to visit and explore many other Baltic countries since.
......thank you Stephen for sharing this with all of us OAs. I think a lot of must now wish we’d also applied, and gone on an amazing adventure!