Friday, 15 January 2016

Iceland 2.13: Hveravellir

After lunch we decided to visit another geothermal area - Hveravellir - but this couldn't have been more different to our experiences in the morning.  For a start the weather was warm and sunny, so it was necessary to shed several layers in order to avoid overheating.  Also, Hveravellir is in a relative flat area on the highland plateau, just off the Kjölur Route (F35), so no hill climbing of any form was necessary.  Hveravellir is a fairly busy place by local standards since it boasts a café, a campsite, some lavatories and - amazingly, given the remoteness of the location - a bus stop.  During the summer months a service bus travels daily between Reykjavík and Akureyri, and it was parked temporarily in Hveravellir in order for its inhabitants to empty their bladders and sample the very fine cakes on offer.

Hveravellir is beautifully maintained, with excellent board-walks allowing close (but safe) access to the steam vents, boiling lakes and fumaroles which make up the site.

There were even examples of Homo photographicus here...

There was a traditional mountain hut in the middle of a lava field, presumably dating from significantly before the current modern conveniences were built.

The hot, volcanic stream had been dammed in order to make an outdoor pool, and several people were availing themselves of the facilities.  Not the largest - nor the most attractive - of such bathing areas, but those who'd gone for a dip were clearly enjoying themselves.  There were even rudimentary changing facilities!

The last few shots were taken on the drive back to Kerlingarfjöll, and hopefully give some idea of how empty and bleak the highland desert really is.  Apparently in the middle of nowhere we found a small parking area with a "sun dial" which identified all the distant peaks.

The final two panoramas show the views looking west and east respectively.  The first shows the huge ice cap of Langjökull; the second shows Hofsjökull on the left and the assorted volcanic cones of Kerlingarfjöll in the centre.  A truly majestic location, and these small images don't really do it justice.