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Riding the West fjords, Iceland. Wed 12th June

Today we set off from the tiny village of Holmavik at around 11am. It had rained a little over night and was pretty chilly, but we we're snug in our down sleeping bags and slept in. I made us some bacon and eggs on the Trangia stove. Wrapped up warm and headed off.
We took route 61 all the way to Isafjordur around 230 km away and arrived about 6pm at a wonderful little campsite called Tungudalur, right in the saddle of a fjord below a waterfall, fed by melting snow at the top. It is picture perfect. I plan to hike up to the top after this blog to get some fresh ice for my 15 year old single malt ;-)
The ride was fantastic, zooming up one side then down the other of one fjord after the next. Some being really huge and majestic as well as snow capped. The road was all tar and good quality, although you don't want to go too fast as there are plenty of sheep and young lambs roaming free and they tend to get frightened and run towards their mother, whatever side of the road she may be.
Shortly before Sudavik we stopped at a house called littlebraer where there had been a settlement or remains thereof from days gone by, we had coffee and a waffle and then went outside to watch some seals in the bay and some ducks swimming with little ducklings in tow behind.This was just a random house miles from anywhere and even when you get somewhere it is tiny, usually a population in tens or hundreds. It truely is remote out here but also very harsh, stark and breathtaking. Winters here must have been horrendous, cut off from the rest of the world.
Next stop was Sudavik, where we filled up with petrol and visited the Arctic fox conservation centre, where we learned about the foxes and then watched a film about the wildlife in the westfjords. It was great then walking outside and looking at what we had seen in the movie, for real.
What else to say? I think I have used all the cliches to describe this place but it really is that good, even though it rained a little, the sun is out now and the waterfall is beckoning. Hopefully get a few decent photos but it is difficult to do these steep valleys carved by glacial ice justice...or fit them in the viewfinder.
Tomorrow we plan to take route 60 South...

Posted by XJR1300 05:01 Comments (0)

Westfjords photos

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Posted by XJR1300 05:21 Archived in Iceland Comments (2)

10 to 12 June


View Motorcycle Adventure to the Arctic circle and beyond on XJR1300's travel map.

On Sunday we went to the second biggest town called Akureyri, we camped just outside the town up in the mountains. Had a few drinks and then caught up on some sleep. Next morning we checked out the motorcycle museum that is dedicated to a local biker that died a few years back. There is a collection of around 50 bikes and was very interesting.
We then headed to hvammstangi via route 68, which was a mixture of tar roads and gravel, which is fun riding a loaded bike on! We setup camp in ridiculously strong winds and then headed on a ride around the peninsula which took about an hour and a half in thick freezing mist and very strong winds. It was difficult to control the bike and ride a foot wide path to avoid the gravel, I almost turned back, but decided I didn't ride 4000 km to get thwarted by some wind and mist. We finally made it to Hvitsekur, can't remember the spelling. It is a rock that legend says is a troll that was turned to rock when caught in the morning sun. Awesome. There we're also seals to see along the track but it was too misty and we we're freezing so we headed back to camp.
Next day we setup camp at Holmavik and then rode to Drangsnes, a village with population of 80 people. This is where we relaxed in one of three hot tubs fed by a natural spring. Completely free and overlooking the sea. It doesn't get better than this. We also checked out the museum of sorcery and witchcraft, which was very interesting, especially the necropants, google it, I dare you! Next day we headed up along the fjords....

Posted by XJR1300 05:51 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Photos 10 to 12 june

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Posted by XJR1300 06:06 Archived in Iceland Comments (1)

Wild-camping in Iceland

all seasons in one day

Friday morning we hit the route 60 heading South of the Westfjords. This was a beautifully scenic stretch of road that took us high over rugged mountain passes and back down through glacial valleys. There was snow galore and on one high, steep stretch of snow we saw the single snaking track of a snowboarder. Whoever made that descent must have had one hell of an exhilarating ride! The actual road was pretty dodgy; untarred, lots of loose stones and many dips. There were a few hairy moments but we managed to stay upright. Along the way we stopped off at the beautifully layered Dynjandi waterfall. We headed to Bildudalur where we visited the quirky Icelandic Sea Monster museum which tells off folklore as well as present day sightings, the most common being the Sea Laddie. We decided to wildcamp for the night, next to the local hotsprings. It was a terrific experience as we soaked up the sun, enjoyed the magnificent natural bath, and chatted to fellow wild campers (we had set a precedent).

Saturday we headed to the Western most point of Iceland, Latrabjarg, where we we're excited to see puffins. These 'clown birds' are quite a sight and were smaller than I had expected. They were perched on the sheer cliff drop but let us get very close, they seemed to like posing for the cameras. We set up camp a short ride away, another wild camp just off the beach. The beaches on this peninsula are golden sand with clear blue waters, not quite what you expect from Iceland! We had an easy day, taking a stroll along the beach as the mist rolled in. The evening was finished with a warming rum sheltered in the ruins of a 17th century fishing hut.

As we headed out the following morning, we popped in to the local museum which showcases many old items collected from the local area, mainly fishing and naval equipment, tools, household wares and weapons. It also exhibits the fascinating tale of a 1948 rescue mission by the local volunteers of a British fishing boat which run ashore in the cold winter. We spent most of the afternoon on the road, enjoying the views and hectic winds. We we're surprised when one of the side boxes shot off the bike when we we're gunning it down a stretch of tar! We assumed the bracket must have broken but as I collected it the thing was completely in tact, bar a load of superficial scratches. It seems fine now so not sure what caused it. Luckily we hadn't been driving along a cliff road or the box may have made a jump for freedom over the edge, and luckily there was no other traffic or it may have caused a serious accident. We'll be buying some more compression straps, just to be safe. We set up camp in a windy valley but are pleased to say the wind died down overnight and we are now enjoying the wonderfully warm morning in sunnies and tshirts. Once we've packed up we'll visit the reconstructed Viking house down the road. Then take route 54 towards the glacier Snaefellsjokull...

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Posted by The Minion 14:36 Archived in Iceland Comments (1)

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