Friday, 3 January 2014

Icelandic Christmas 2013

Christmas is normally a time to spend with family and sit about getting fat, I decided to give that a miss this year and go and hunt for the Northern Lights in Iceland. This was going to need some serious cold weather gear. Daytime temperatures can be as low as -20 degrees C, H18 down jacket, plus a Down vest for if things got really cold!


Left is Andy, Fran and Orion staying toasty warm while looking for the Northern Lights (the green tint to the sky is caused by something called “air glow” I believe). Right is Andy in a Hangar 18 down jacket enjoying the view on top of unknown Icelandic mountain. 

It was a truly magical trip, the very first day our little Jeep Wrangler had to cope with steep gravel roads covered in an inch of solid ice to find some amazing geothermal steam areas and bubbling mud pots. The cold weather gear was so good the main problem we found was when we went inside we got so hot so quickly we had to spend 2 minutes at the door of each shop/cafe taking off layers before we expired with the heat.

Sitting around waiting for the Northern Lights can be a frustrating business, it's fair to say it can also be miserable if you don't have the right kit, the Down Jacket was more than up to the job. I didn't even get the Down Vest out of the tiny stuff sack it comes in. We waited for 5 hours at Thingvellir for the lights to come out, they never did, but it was warm enough in thick Salopettes and the Down Jacket so not a problem to wait for so long. We only wished we had left earlier when we were caught in a snowstorm on the way home and nearly lost sight of the road.





Left is Fran holding onto her hat after an abandoned drive along an icy road in gale force winds. Pictured right is Andy enjoying Gullfoss waterfall.






We visited frozen waterfalls, and rivers, walked through some amazing scenery and saw some amazing things. I am already thinking about the next trip and what other treasures the country has to offer.

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