About the Hiking
Iceland Challenge 2019
We are off to the stunning Thórsmörk valley for our summer hiking challenge this year. Choose to make the hike either a personal goal achieved for you, or by raising some funds for a charity that’s close to your heart.
Join Iceland Traveller team members Julia and Yvonne, who after the huge success of last year’s hike have decided to do it again – same format, same great guides in Iceland, same level of challenge but in a different landscape.
Find out more: Our training walks begin on April 28 with a Breakfast Hike, followed by May 11, May 28, June 9, July 20 and 21, and August 11. Typically we’ll walk 7-12 miles over different terrain. Walks are free to join and are planned as a preparation for the Iceland hike in August as well as a chance for people thinking of joining us to get to know us and ask all about the plans. Walking plans are available in more detail here, though the best way to keep up to date with this information is via our Facebook group (link at bottom of the page) or to contact us by email.
What to expect: Designed to be an experience above and beyond the walking or hiking you might normally undertake, the daily distances are not huge, but the terrain is harder going and even though the temperatures in August are not particularly low, the elements could also be a factor. We’ll be accompanied by professional Icelandic guides, and the luggage will be moved for us each day so we hike with day packs only. Overnight stays will be spent in mountain huts and at the start and end of the trail, in a farm guesthouse with hot tubs. We’ll eat well, see beautiful scenery and enjoy great Icelandic hospitality. August can be Northern lights season, so with dark skies and without light pollution, sightings of this magnificent spectacle may be possible.
This 6-day trip (which includes the 4-day hike) begins and ends in Reykjavik with all of the arrangements in Iceland taken care of by us. The holiday can easily be extended to allow time to see more of Iceland before you leave for home, perhaps to see the rest of the famous Golden Circle or to spend some time in Reykjavik, Iceland’s charming capital city. The group will be a maximum of 20 people, so do join us with a group of friends, as a couple or as a solo traveller, you’ll be very welcome.
To join the challenge, you will need to be in Reykjavik on August 17 2019, and depart on or after August 22 2019. For an ATOL protected package, we will arrange flights from the UK, or you can make your own flight arrangements and provide us with the details so that we can arrange transfers to and from the farm. Prices are based on full board, including equipment and sharing a twin/double room (in guesthouse accommodation). Our guides will be Icelandic, there will be plenty of good wholesome food and we’ll be well looked after. We’ll have a celebration dinner at the end of the trip too. Dietary needs are not a problem, just let us know well in advance about any special requirements that you have.
Where do we hike? Iceland Traveller’s hiking challenge is a 4-day guided expedition in South Iceland in one of the beautiful locations in the country and will cover approximately 50-60 km through steaming geothermal hills on day 1 and then into Thor’s valley, that has been carved by glacial meltwater to form a deep gorge and braided streams, surrounded by mountains and glacier peaks. The walking paths will vary from gravel tracks, rough lava and boulder terrain to mountain paths and grass tracks, with some rough and steep ascents and descents to climb up out of the valley to see the panoramic views of the Highlands and South Coast.
Equipment: Full details of the kit list will be provided for everyone joining the trip, but expect to bring sturdy hiking boots with ankle support (that you have already worn in), waterproof and breathable hiking clothing including hat and gloves and a waterproof day pack. Sleeping bags, and utensils to eat with are provided by the guides, though you will need to bring a water bottle or flask. We’ll arrange a local equipment event and discount shopping evening. Equipment can be hired if required.
Weather conditions: August is berry time! The Thorsmork has quite a distinct micro climate so it’s hard to predict. It’s reasonable to expect temperatures in the range of 11°C to 6°C during the day, making snowfall unlikely. Night time temperatures could dip to 0°C. As always in Iceland, sun, rain and wind is likely, and the Icelandic weather is famous for being fickle, so you should always expect rain, regardless of the season and really every season in a day. Sunrise is at about 05:30 and sunset at about 21:30.
Food in Iceland: Icelandic food is tasty, wholesome and there is plenty of it. Lamb and fish are regularly offered, and although there aren’t many root vegetables, there is plenty of salad. Cakes and sweet foods are popular and coffee, tea, and the best fresh water anywhere are always readily available. On hiking days, we will have a packed lunch of breads, meats, egg, cheeses and salads, with cake, biscuits, fruit, nuts and Skyr (Iceland’s equivalent to yoghurt/fromage frais). The lunches on hike are substantial and no one will go hungry. Individual dietary requirements are carefully catered for. Artisan brewing is extremely popular so there’s plenty of local beer available. Icelanders are good at catering for dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets, please let us know about any requirements that you have.
Our promise to you: Customer service and satisfaction is very important in Iceland, and we all want you to have a great experience (and a challenge) so please read carefully the information that we have provided and let us know about any questions that you have as you book and certainly before we go! If you walk regularly and are prepared for rough terrain rather than steep ascents, have the stamina to walk all day even if the weather isn’t great, then this could well be for you. This will be a sociable event led by professional, friendly and encouraging guides. It’s also a personal challenge and not a competition, but equally everyone needs to be prepared. We started a hiking group in March 2018 to prepare and train for the hike. The group has been a great success, it’s sociable and purposeful and we now meet for regular walks that are enjoyed by people who have been to Iceland, who will join the 2019 and those who enjoy walking with others. Part of the success of our Iceland hikes lies in the building of friendship before we go, whether it’s through connecting with us on social media and/or joining a walk if you live locally. Our main social media group is Iceland Traveller Hiking on Facebook and we’ll set up a What’s App as time goes by.