Tom and Andy at the get-in on the Eystri Jökulsá with the Hofsjökull in the background

Running the Shuttle for the Eystri Jökulsá

Another cold start to the day at our campsite near the Hofsjökull, and another slow start. We pack up our main tent and get ready for 2 nights in the river tent, a 2 man tent that is just big enough to get us all in. It is a long shuttle and will take all day and eventually I am ready to go.

It is a 45 mile drive to our get out, and take me two hours along the not to great roads. I have a bit of lunch with me, but travel light, wearing some of my kayaking clothes that have not seen a washing machine in a while. It is way to far to run, so I set off at an easy pace and hope to get some good lifts.

First few vehicles to pass don’t stop, and a couple do, but won’t give me a lift. I set my watch to beep at 30 minute intervals to help pass the day. Soon enough, I get a lift, only a couple of miles, but it is better than walking. The next lift is great, the guy can speak some English, and initially is worried about my lack of luggage. I explain what I am doing, and he goes out of his way to take me further up the mountain track.

By now, I am past all the farms, and expect the traffic to ease off somewhat. I get another lift though a few more miles from an Icelandic chap who does not speak English. He has got a 4WD jeep with loads of aerials, an inclinometer and pictures of scantily clad women on the dashboard. I am about ½ way, and set off at a trudge up a large slope to the top of a ridge. Start to count oil spots on the road, and I hope they are not dripping off our Landrover. We have struggled recently with mechanics, so I could do without a massive oil problem too. I get another lift after a couple of hours walking. There is not too much room in the car, but I squeeze into the back with the daughter of the couple in the front. This is one of the most embarrassing lifts I have ever had. I am wearing my Buffalo mountain shirt canoeing top, that probably does need a wash, and I have spent quite a few hours already today walking along the road at a reasonable pace. After a short while, my window starts to mist up, and the daughter is definitely trying to edge away. Air vents in the front are quietly opened and eventually windows come down. We manage to have a bit of a chat though, and I explain what I am doing. Get dropped off and I think it is only about 8km back to the tent, so set off looking forward to dinner.

2½ hours fast walking later I see the tent and flop down exhausted: it is now 20:10. Andy cooks dinner, which I trough down with great gusto, despite the fact we are just eating a BeanFeast™. Cramped night ahead.