Any night that you sleep on an insulating layer of hay and cow shit is a good one in my books…
Waking up in a barn at the closed Highland Hut of Versalir we could hear the wind outside, just like the big bad wolf trying to blow our house down. The prospect of going outside to dig a hole for the morning poo was not a great one, especially as we didn’t have a shovel.
Putting off starting the day’s run into our new best friend, Icelandic headwind, we chatted to a journalist from Iceland Magazine and tried to dry our still soaking wet clothes by jumping around in them. This did not prove effective,
French Inventor/Hiker Sebastien had told us about a strange man-made cave that is 40km from Versalir and we were intrigued. Partially because it sounded really weird and also because it was only 40km away and the weather was as good as we had come to expect.
Heads down, down jackets on and faces covered we started our day into the wind again. Hail and snow storms intermittently slapped us across the face and left us off the trail for a bit. It is actually very difficult to navigate whilst staring at the floor with your eyes closed.
With the second half of the day mostly uphill, we were a darn sight more prepared for the weather than the last few days, seeing the squalls fly across the landscape and either hit or miss us. There were slightly less outfit changes than days gone past as we actually discovered how to look after ourselves in the Icelandic Highlands.
The road was a single line to the horizon, splitting the sea of black around us. One particularly strong snow blizzard had us losing the trail and heading in the wrong direction but the bright colours of our support crew gets us back on track. Soaking wet and freezing cold, we don’t want to get lost out here.
Getting towards our finish for the day we still have no idea about Sebastien’s Cave and nothing on the horizon resembles his description. What looks like a large grey wall is the only thing there and as we get closer it becomes apparent that it is tapered at one end, open to the elements but sheltered if you’re lucky.
We are not.
People have camped here before, we can tell from their rubbish. We have a quick break, change into dry clothes and talk about a plan. It’s too windy outside to pitch the tents and there isn’t enough room in the cave.
Inspired by intrepid explorer Bear Grylls, we get into the nearby Highland Hotel. We didn’t plan on such luxury, but we didn’t plan on a constant headwind either, so it seems like a good balance.
Plus more people could tell us what a stupid idea this trip was…