This day was the longest driving day of the trip as we left the south behind and headed up to the north of the country. 415 Km from Hofn to Myvatn via the East Fjords region of the Island. We were really looking forward to this part of the trip as the road winds around the Fjords with epic scenery and finally follows the coast properly. Epic.
When we pulled the curtains in the morning it was a real blow. The weather was a real mess today and not in a good way at all. We have a saying that we can accept any weather other than rain. Cold, hot, Snow, hail, wind, whatever it’s all good, the only exception is rain. And the reason for this is rarely the fact it’s raining, its the Visibility.
Low Cloud and low visibility just ruin the scenery. Mountain tops are obscured and vistas erased. And today was about the worst example of poor vis you can imagine. As we headed into the most scenic part of the route, the scenery was just going to be gone! We were very disappointed.
You can look at the forecast, and hope for cracks in the cloud but the reality was today was going to be a total wash-out. Nothing you can do, so we just cracked on. Had breakfast at the hotel and jumped in the car.
The first section was as expected. Low clouds and poor visibility as we headed around the Fjords. The far sides of the fjords were barely visible from the other and no mountain views at all as they disappeared into the clouds. We barely stopped and just plowed on ruing the missed scenery and views that were flying by unnoticed. The weather had not been kind to us this trip but we had always had breaks, and at times these were miraculously timed, but today nothing was craking at all and the rain just went from heavy with low viz to torrential and zero viz.
Before we knew it we were arriving in Reyðarfjörður 200+Km along the ring road. This was to be our first stop as the town is one of the principal filming locations for the TV Series Fortitude that we really enjoyed. But on arrival, the weather was just still stinking. We took a short tour around the town and spotted a few locations from the show. But didn’t hang around long.
We decided to just write the day off, consider it a relocation day, and not to dwell too much on the lack of scenery. We had certainly had a good amount so far so one day of nearly pure driving would not hurt too much. We were deeply disappointed about the East Fjords but nothing can be done.
The next stop was Egilsstaðir where we refueled and picked up some lunch, before heading into the Islands interior. From this point route-one heads away from the coast and more into the interior, it’s not quite the highlands but the terrain goes up quite a bit, especially out of Egilsstaðir. We had picked up lunch and were looking for somewhere pleasant to eat it but the cloud base dropped and the whole road was shrouded in fog.
We ended up eating at a small pullout overlooking Canyon Moira a pretty little canyon but today it was a grey out…
A little bit further along after another few miles of dreary low cloud, we came to the turnoff for Stuðlagil Canyon. We needed to make a decision here, was the 2-hour diversion, plus 4-mile hike worth it when the weather was so unpleasant. Do we make the best of it or just plug on…a tough choice, but as we approached the junction cracks formed in the impenetrable cloud and the sun seemed to come out as we looked up the canyon. Sod it, let’s give it a go.
The road up to the canyon is a gravel road but it’s perfectly well paved and we could make good progress on it. We wanted the south side of the canyon for better views but this requires a good 3-4 miles round trip hike, in pretty poor conditions and pretty poor moods.
The Start of the hike pretty much confirmed our suspicions yesterday that Svartifoss is actually a waterfall you can skip as the beginning of this hike has a wonderful waterfall, backed by similar Geometric Basalt Coloums, just like Svartifoss, but without the hike.
As we battled the wind and the rain we finally got to the canyon. Our mood really wasn’t the best and there is no pretending we were overly wowed with the place. It’s hard to love somewhere when you are battling to stay upright, cold, and soggy, with the view largely obscured by low clouds. The cracks in the weather were fast getting filled in and we could see heavy rainstorms marching up the valley, so we beat a hasty retreat.
Back at the car, we marched on through the grey-out heading for our destination Myvatn. We had a few sights to visit this side of the lake, but these were penned in for tomorrow so we just pushed on.
Arriving in Myvatn we headed for our accommodation. We were booked into the Vogafos Farm Resort. And finally, this was the first highlight of the day. The resort really is charming. The Reception and farm restaurant is on the main farm site with the accommodations just across the road in a quiet little coppice.
These were the kind of lodgings we hoped for on this trip and were really nordic in nature. Quaint little wooden cabins that conjured up images of Frozen. Simply being in the resort lifted our mood considerably!
We dined in the Farm Restaurant and while it was very expensive the food was the best we had found so far on the trip. The Farm to table concept was amazing and we feasted on Smoked Arctic Charr from the lake, Lava Bread, Farm Butter, Raw Smoked Lamb, Angel Snapps, Farm Mozarella, and Salad Cheese with locally grown salad. It was hard going, as it’s all food we are not really used to and very rich, but great to actually get some real Icelandic food.
We went to bed that night very happy, despite the rubbish drive-in, the Farm Resort really turned our moods around. On a final low note, there was a zero chance of Aurora Tonight so another good night’s sleep.
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