Tom paddling his Pyranha Mountain Bat kayak on the Hvítá í Borgarfirði

Kayaking on the Hvítá í Borgarfirði

Another wet morning on the west side of Iceland. Eventually we get up and Tom and I run a section of the Hvítá í Borgarfirði. Andy drives for us as his kayak is in no state to run a river with this many rocks in it.

Tom and Andy looking at ice stalagmites in Stefánshellir lava cave

The river is OK, but it is far from the most enjoyable river we have kayaked in Iceland. There are some enjoyable rapids, but there are also numerous portages around some nasty looking rock trenches. We know this is an area of volcanic rocks, and after our experience on the Skjálfandafljót and having seen a rock bridge at Barnafossar, we are somewhat cautious. We paddle all the way down to Barnafossar, and Tom and I attract quite a crowd whilst we stand at the top of the falls apparently working out the best route to paddle them.

After lunch, we go exploring in a local lava tube cave, called Stefánshellir. We find the entrance by spotting a large number of parked cars and trucks. It is not too clear where the cave entrance is, but we find the main cave after a short detour down a small dead end. The cave is massive, and runs for quite some way. We explored about in several side passages, and played about with the camera flash and some long exposures. There are excellent ice stalactites and stalagmites, and parts of the cave floor are solid ice. At one point we find a large hole in the roof where me meet a group of tourists, a human turd, and a used sanitary towel. It is not clear whether the 3 items are related, but we keep clear of them all.

Two more copies of Tom than we normally see with flash trickery in Stefánshellir

We head south and plan to be back in Reykjavík tomorrow. Our camp tonight is on the edge of some farm land, and as the evening wears on the wind increases. We put the tent up, but as the evening goes on and the wind gets stronger our tent, that has served us well so far, gets flattened. Tom and I had already gone to bed, so we had to get up again and pack  up the tent, complete with now rather bent poles. Andy elects to sleep in the Landrover, and Tom and I head off to a promising looking barn. The first building we get to is actually a house, so we skirt round that and find a barn full of hay to spend the night in. Apart from the wind, I slept rather well, but Tom spent a good bit of the night awake worrying about the local rat population. I am sure I must have been protected by my green Buffalo pertex underpants that I have now been wearing non-stop since we left Helsby on the 23rd June.

Wind damaged tent poles