This year our Overseas Event Coordinator Amy joined our 2015 Iceland Trek, here she tells us about it…
On 1st July 2015 I met our Iceland trekkers at Heathrow airport, we were all very excited and after a quick introduction, before we knew it we were checked in! Overall an incredible £70,000 was raised for charity; myself and all of the 30 trekkers were in high spirits, each trekker was telling their story behind their fundraising for the amazing journey we were about to embark on!
Ahead of us we had three days of trekking up 3465 ft mountains, snow glaciers and river crossings with the amazing support of the Skyline crew, Icelandic guides and Miriam’s family providing meals for us.
Landing in a cold and misty Reykjavik, we met our Icelandic guide Oscar who was happy to share his knowledge of Iceland to the group on the ride to camp. I ensured I had layers to keep warm from the chill outside, a big difference to the weather in the UK!
After 150 miles and 4 hours of travelling past villages, farmer fields, open geysers and large snow patches we finally reached our first campsite, Landmannalaugar (600m altitude), in the late evening and we were greeted by Miriam’s family. After a demonstration we paired up and built our tents which we would call home for the next 48 hours. Once dinner was eaten in the mess tent we washed up and off to bed we went!
A night spent under canvas was invigorating; we woke to a hearty bowl of porridge, and after washing up from breakfast we prepared our lunches for the day. Walking boots on, rucksacks packed and sun cream rubbed in – we were ready to begin the challenge!!
Our first day took us out of Landmannalaugar camp site and up a rocky edge towards the mountains. When we reached the top the view was stunning; the ground were smothered in snow and the further we trekked, the more snow we tackled. The weather was unpredictable, one minute we would be wearing a t-shirt and the next we would be wearing our coats & gloves!
As we continued trekking we passed hot vents, thick snow and geysers that blew steam from the hot water below! We knew this was something we would never see again in a lifetime and stopped for lunch to take in this gorgeous scenery! Whilst on our stop we saw some small but incredible movements in the snow on the hills which everyone eagerly took in.
After lunch we headed towards “Hrafntinnusker Hut” which was a steep climb, however due to extreme weather conditions at 3158ft, we turned back and begun the descent to camp! Some trekkers managed to trek downwards on two feet, however some of us couldn’t help but either fall or slide!
On return to camp many of us were eager to jump in the Hot Springs before our evening meal! The Hot Springs were surrounded by greenery and swamp-like land and this was a truly amazing experience of the nature of Iceland. Ice cold temperatures hit as we entered the water, moving closer to the river flow it began to heat up, as if I were boiling a kettle. This was a perfect moment!
After our evening meal, washing up and briefing for the next day’s adventure, we moved into our tents as the air was cold and we had an early start preparing for the toughest day of the challenge to come!
We packed up our tents, ate breakfast and hopped onto the coach for a 3 hour journey to Basar Camp, which sits at 257m. We drove through rivers, past waterfalls and saw our first sighting of animals and cyclists on the road too! As we turned onto the unmade roads we passed snowy mountains and saw glaciers in the far distance.
Arriving at camp, we had ten minutes for a quick toilet break before setting off through the wilderness and up the steep steps of the mountains. We trekked further up until Oscar found the perfect lunch stop, a flat surface edge overlooking the area for miles! It was incredible!
We walked on along a single sandy track footpath, climbing man made steps, surrounded by grassy landscapes and then snowy mountains – a complete contrast!
Fimmvorduhals points where the craters Modi and Magni sat at an altitude of 3465 ft. The group continued to climb this ascent, but some made our way back to camp.
Arriving at camp, we pitched our tents for the remaining trekkers as it was going to be a late arrival back. Later that evening when everyone had returned, we were served our evening meal and bedded down for our final night in camp.
Today’s adventure took us through freezing rivers, crossing bare foot and jumping on stepping stones! We climbed through valleys and to the top of Seljalandsfoss waterfall, with a 200ft drop we stopped for our lunch to admire the beauty of it! After the descent we continued trekking through the ravine, along rocky grounds of the river to meet the coach which brought us to the accommodation in Reykjavik.
On this night we had our celebratory meal, dining at Reykjavik Restaurant which offered us a beautiful seafood and meat buffet with a wide choice of puddings. As the evening progressed, speeches and congratulations were given to commemorate trekkers on their achievements and later in the evening the group wondered off into town and partied Icelandic style!
I started off early and headed out to town, exploring the nine interest points of Reykjavik and browsing the local stores. By mid-morning, the whole group were awake and ready to set off to the Blue Lagoon to relax before heading home.
Driving up to the Blue Lagoon we saw nothing but smoke rising from the crystal blue water. Using fresh clay as masks and floating in the warm water, we relaxed in pure tranquillity for the afternoon – everyone was having a great time. What a way to spend our final time in Iceland before heading back to the airport!
I would like to thank everyone who took part in the challenge; they were such a strong group to trek with.
Take a look at our 2015 Iceland Trek Video which can be found here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emP3mbaetg8&feature=youtu.be