On Friday the 12th of February, the Bay of Naples trip departed. 22 Year 11 students took part in the trip for 4 days and 3 nights;

which was accompanied by Miss Alford, Miss Burke, Mr Langan and Mr Rowe.  After awaking for an early departure from Lavington school (3am!), and a quick dash to the plane at London Gatwick airport, the group arrived in Naples.

Upon arrival the group visited Monte Nuovo; the site of a volcano which had formed in just one day in 1538. Beautiful views of the Bay were taken in and there was much discussion about the Campania region’s active tectonics. After a short stop at the Flavian Amphitheatre, the group arrived in Solfatara. Solfatara consists of sulphur fumaroles which are considered beneficial for health (although they did smell a lot like rotting eggs). Our guide explained their formation and the vital action plans in place for those living around the edge of the caldera. We were shocked to discover that there were once 40 active volcanoes in the whole region of Campania! That evening we arrived at our beautiful harbour-side hotel in Sorrento, the Il Faro.

Day 2 involved a short (and a little bumpy) hydrofoil journey from Sorrento across the Bay of Naples to Capri. Capri is considered to be ‘one of the magnetic points of earth’, with stupendous scenery and beautiful buildings. With beautiful sunshine, we spent the day walking through Capri’s main town and the along the island’s coastline. The impressive Arco Naturale allowed us to practise our field sketching techniques; where we reviewed the complex processes of coastal erosion and weathering. Interestingly the natural arch has also received restoration funding from the EU Development Fund (and we discussed at great length the role of tourism honeypot sites and their impact of a resort’s development). Upon returning to Sorrento, students spent some free time in the town, followed by a topical quiz organised by Miss Alford.

Day 3 was the much anticipated climb of Mt Vesuvius. Vesuvius last erupted in 1944, but is still very closely monitored by volcanologists.  As true geographers, we donned various layers, woolly hats and waterproofs. Bracing elements meant that we could neither see the crater or Naples from the Vesuvius’ rim.  However, evidence of recent eruptions surrounded us; volcanic bombs, pumice and remnants of previous lahars. Later in the afternoon students had a chance to view Vesuvius from a different angle (from Pompeii). Devastated by the AD 97 eruption, it quickly became apparent why accurate prediction and preparation for volcanic eruptions is so important. Indeed, were Vesuvius to erupt with the same force today, the city of Naples could be engulfed in pyroclastic flows within 15 minutes. We spent the afternoon learning about the impacts of Vesuvius’ AD 97 eruption upon Pompeii; wandering around many of the homes and businesses which have been perfectly preserved by the ash. After a hard day of walking, students and staff took up the challenge of Tenpin bowling in Sorrento.

The final day involved a beautiful, yet frightening drive along the Amalfi coast. Stunning coastal properties and businesses hug the Amalfi coastline, revealing crystal azure water below. After two stops in Amalfi and Ravello to explore these prime honeypot sites, the group headed back to Naples to get their flight back to London Stansted. We arrived back at Lavington School exhausted, but with a real sense of accomplishment. A great trip!

Many thanks to all of the students for being excellent ambassadors of Lavington School, and Miss Burke, Miss Alford, Mr Langan and Mr Rowe for such an excellent trip!

All photos courtesy of Mitchell Reason and Ffion Boughay (Year 11)

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