Land of Forest Lava and Ash, Porsmork

I Recently went to Iceland for the fifth time and went back to Porsmork a valley lying at the foot of two glacial covered volcanoes Eyjafjallajokull, the one that erupted in 2010 and caused the chaos across Europe for a week and Katla / Myrdalsjokull. The area  is a really stunning with loads of really awesome rock formations everywhere. The area is one of Iceland’s premier nature destinations and is at the end of the most famous hike in the country.

 

I was volunteering for the Icelandic Forestry Service who along with the environment agency maintain the footpaths in the country. My team: Olga  Rick  Matt and myself, were doing a way-marking and mapping project starting to  make the paths clearer and safer by installing extra way-markers on the paths and giving them unique plaques so that people could let others know where they were.  this was supplemented by making the volunteer base nicer and clearing up as it was the very end of the season.

 

I had some really good walks including up this spectacular upside down cone of a mountain Called Rjupnafell,  one of the most beautiful walks I think I’ve had in the past couple of years.   The different habitats and terrains  you walked through just made the walk extra pretty with each stage offering something different. I also did a number of smaller but equally good walks and a run along the top of a ridge which was really beautiful.

 

One of the best times from this trip was seeing the northern lights do a awesome display in Langidalur campsite whilst we were having a bonfire.  I had never seen them before and they are really quite something.

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Another trip to the Hebrides – Colonsay

Last week I spent on Colonsay (an island between Mull and Islay off the west Coast of Scotland) with my girlfriend Kirsty. She was already there so I had to negotiate my way to Oban myself (I was assisted by Kieran, Kirsty’s youngest brother who drove me from Glasgow to the ferry).  I was going to meet Kirsty’s whole family on Colonsay so I was slightly nervous getting off the Boat after a 2 hour crossing. I should not have worried about anything as I really liked them instantly.

After a good evening in the Pub I woke up the next morning to a beautiful morning. Before heading to the Beach I had some more people to meet when  Morna, Alan Helen, Sally, Jen came over for coffee and Haribo! Helen and sally are six and four! That afternoon we all went to Kiloren the first of a few beautiful beaches in the week! We sat at one end of a semicircle of golden sand and chilled out for the afternoon. Eventually the Mc Nichalls joined us and Kieran and Dougal spent the afternoon playing golf balls along the beach.  The next morning I went on the first of three 12km runs round  the island’s solitary road which goes round the centre of the island. There was a nasty hill  just after half way round but it would have been worse going the other way.  After  lunch we went for a quick walk to to the old sawmill  and Gardens.  We then said our goodbyes to Alexandra and welcomed Roddy for dinner.

The next day was a beauty and we went to Macrans a beautiful beach on the west coast of the Island with a great bay which I   swam out into the beautifully calm waters of. That evening we played Risk, a family tradition for the Binnie’s and a fun game to play. I had never played before and  quite quickly got the general idea but spent most of the game watching and learning rather than actually playing. Roddy and I ended up with most of Europe and Africa which turned out to not be a good thing as we promptly lost it all to the eventual winners Alan and Morna.

On Wednesday we got to go out in Dave’s boat and catch fish and lobster. as  soon as we  had put the line in the water  about 10 fish were caught including a sizeable mackerel. I thought that was impressive until we had 8 lobsters in 4 Creels. Most of them were too Small to be worth bringing back so we only took 2 home. There was a super cute baby one about crayfish size that i almost wanted to keep as a pet but I decided that it would be best to let him go and see him in a couple of years when he was the size of the monsters that we came back with. As you can imajine dinner was tasty that evening!

Thursday was spent going over to Oronsay checking out the  ruined priory and coming back to Poll Gorm beach where Kirsty and I spent the next couple of hours chilling out and going for a dip! Oronsay is absolutely beautiful and has fantastic views over to Jura and Islay. It appeared at times as if we had the world to ourselves but the beach was packed with people as it was another scortcher. I came back looking a bit like the lobsters that we’d had the night before but it did no harm as i smothered myself in aftersun and was not too bad. as soon as we returned we were told that the  hay was being bailed over at Kilchatten so we rushed over to find out that there was very little activity going on.

Friday was hay day and after a morning walk up the hill, we spent the afternoon bailing hay to feed Jan’s horses this winter. I came away feeling as if I could be a farmer!!

Unfortunately London was calling and it was time to head bak to the mainland. The fortunate thing was that we had a RIB take us across, Which was a fantastic way to end a amazing trip with Awesome people.  Colonsay has certainly caught my imagination and I hope to go back there a few more times!