Weather looked clear out the window at 0530 AM in Ólafsvik, good news after yesterday’s deluges and mist. Checked seismic forecast, all quiet. So off for a pre-breakfast hike on the sunny side of the local stratovolcano, Snæfellsjökull (1446 m.), which inspired Jules Verne’s “Journey to the centre of the earth”.
Getting out of the car on to volcanic gravel where the blacktop road ended reminded me more of the moon or maybe Mars. Crunchy volcano debris underfoot and all around, minor cones and fissures in various stages of erosion. Both compasses useless... lots of magnetic rock about. At least we have GPS. Only me around... plus the birds, midges and eventually a trio of sheep.
Not so far away at Hellissandur the vertical monopole antenna of Iceland’s long wave transmitter, 189 kHz broadcasting RÚV Rás 1 service. At 412 m height it’s visually unmissable, one of Europe's tallest structures: The Shard in London is just 306 m. high.
Back for breakfast at the hotel: Icelandic couples out for an energetic weekend, some here for a mountain run which finishes in Ólafsvik this afternoon. Americans visiting relatives and a coach of French tourists from Paris! The bakery opposite doing a brisk trade with locals in 4x4 pickups collecting breakfast; they’re in to radical haircuts and extensive tattoos in this town.
Cloud now down and hiding the glacier on Snæfellsjökull so time for a coastal hike. Djúpalónssandur is famous (and popular) for its beach of black pearl pebbles; the submarine rocks offshore have claimed many ships: some debris remains on the beach and the map lists many wrecks. A T hike was the best option although isn’t ideal. Hiking westwards there is the deserted ruined village of Dritvík and to the east there are the grassy cliffs of Lonskirkja. I didn’t expect to be hiking in boots and shorts here at 64 degrees North but with almost no wind I wasn’t the only one enjoying the strong sun.
A fine day finished off with a juicy portion of Sea Trout back at Ólafsvik.