Well after a long day previous, I thought why not head to some of the tourist stops on the tarmac ring road for a brief rest? Heading towards the black sand beaches of Vik, a wreckage of a 1970’s Douglas DC-3 aircraft, waterfalls, and then on to Rekyjavik.
The trail finding map book / bible
Before leaving the Icelandic lads, some advice was imparted; “stay off the ring road dude”. Later it turns out this was absolutely superb advice. There are of course some beautiful places to visit along the tarmac ring road, but the trail riding and the remote backcountry that Iceland has to offer is mind blowing. Anyway more about that later. The other piece of advice was to get a copy of “Kortabok” their map / trail finding bible. This is one of the best maps I’ve bought in a long time, OS maps meets road atlas, and made with quality. It’s the ONLY map of Iceland to get! I could only find it at information centres. So armed with this map book, my evenings were now being spent looking up trails and new routes to change my plans with more adventurous trails.
Iceland’s Douglas DC-3 aircraft wreckage
Now when someone say’s something is 1.2 Km walk, just have a quick check on your own map. Because when it turns out to be 4Km (each way) when you’re 1.2Km in saying “I thought you said…”, you may have decided differently. Only kidding mate, it was a sight definitely worth the effort.
On Nov 24 1973, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft crash landed on Sólheimasandur beach. The crew all survived the impact, but the plane was abandoned rather than recovered and lies there still. So after a short walk we arrive to see the wreckage on a black sand beach near Vik.
Waterfalls and Rain
Afterwards We head on to check one of the many epic waterfalls, albeit in the rain cloud that was sat over the area. Iceland seems to have micro climates dotted around all over the place, not surprising really being an island with Europe’s biggest glaciers and diverse landscape. Anyway while one place is blowing a gale, raining hard and cold, 5 miles down the road can be calm, sunny, and warm. Next thing you’re in towards the highlands and you’ve a cold catabatic wind hooning down from the a glacier.
Bored of Tarmac, Back To The Trails
Enough about the weather, the best part of the day was getting back onto trails, riding route 225 with the French lads was superb. It’s so easy to get wrapped up and focused in on the riding because it is so incredible, you forget to look around. Along with the incredible riding comes remote, and incredible landscapes, and scenery. Sadly I had to get on to Reykjavik and leave the lads to enjoy the rest of the route to camp at Landmannalouger. Which is apparently one of a few very spectacular places to camp (so ill be coming back for this one).