Crossing fords on the way to the Markarfljót

Up to the Markarfljót

Broke the 9am barrier this morning. I was up by 8:30, but Tom and Andy were still in bed at 9. We ate our meagre breakfast and had another go with the silicone sealant on the front of the Landrover. Got to try and keep the rain out some how. We drive back into town with the hope of finding a post office and a swimming pool. PO was open, but swimming pool was shut, so we had to leave in the smelly state we arrived.

Footpath sign mimicry at the Markarfljót canyon

Set off up the track to the Markarfljót canyon that I had been taken on in 1989. The track is fairly extreme for our Landrover, lots of deep and fast moving fords. I do the driving and Andy is sent off to probe the deep bits, with Tom on the roof with the fish eye lens. These were the deepest and fastest fords I had had to drive through so far. We don’t have a high air intake on our Landrover, so it is a bit nerve -racking. We come across an amusing sign telling of the dangers of fords and instructing the use of probes attached to stout ropes. The track got steeper and the Landrover started to make some new creaking noises. These were tracked down, and we carried on regardless.


The road to the Markarfljót canyon hove into sight and off we shot. A quick lunch, and check of the canyon before the planned descent. We took the binocs and the cameras and set off on foot. It looks like a great run, a really deep steep sided canyon with great looking rapids. As we get near the top though we see the show stopper. In the narrowest section of the canyon, with vertical sides, the entire river pours over a horrible looking drop. There is no way we can paddle that, and there is no way into the canyon to start below. There is also no chance of a portage, as the canyon walls have a massive overhang at the worst point. We are all a bit depressed by this as the rest of the river looks great. Tom disappeared for a while, and Andy and I worried for a bit that he may well have gone over the edge, but we find him again back in the Landrover, reading his book. Tom recons we can lower all the kit and three of use to the bottom with 4 carabiners and 2 throw lines, but Andy and I both disagree.

Andy and Tom examining the impassible drop, in the Markarfljót canyon

We are now camped at the top of the canyon and develop a new game of walking along a crack in the ground whilst looking through the wrong end of the bins. Proves to be far more difficult than we first think and keeps us entertained all evening.