Although the weather and road condition reports were something we were checking on a daily basis, if not hourly just before we left somewhere, heading into the West Fjords was still something that left us feeling a little nervous. Although we had high expectations for the countryside itself, by it's very nature of dramatic mountains, sheer cliffs and stunning waterways, it's somewhere that a bit of weather can play havoc with your travel plans.
It’s only in the last few decades that a group of tunnels has allowed huge sections of the West Fjords to even remain connected to the rest of Iceland for months at a time during the winter - prior to the tunnels they were completely cut off.
Not only are the roads in the West Fjords smaller and more twisty and turny than much of the rest of Iceland, they also climb higher and drop more steeply than anywhere else. So if we were seeing some snow and icy patches at sea level in Holmavik, what should we expect at 1600ft on a landmass that's close enough to be seen from Greenland on a clear day??
To begin with the road looked pretty normal, but once we started to climb the temperature took a nosedive and snow started to appear on the hills. And then on the road. And then the water around us started to freeze and the streams just about managed to keep flowing!
But eventually though we made it to the top and it didn’t take much coming down on the other side before the sun peeked out and the ground started to thaw nicely. The snow didn’t last long, and before we knew it we were into blue skies territory - hard to believe that we’d left low cloud and general greyness back in Holmavik only a couple of hours ago and the other side of a big hill or two and things were more like a sunny spring day. Not that we were complaining :-)
We also saw some kind of fish ladder, mountains hiding in lakes, scooped out glacial paths, a mountain shaped like a jelly mould and giant Toblerone ranges!
The scenery in Iceland really is breathtaking, sometimes nothing much happens other than we stare out the window and take photos, and this was one of those days. Eventually we arrived at Isafjordur and tracked down a campsite. As ever it was closed - nothing there but a locked shed with wheelie bins in it, and several posts sticking up that used to have electrical points attached to them - all bar one that still had sockets! A phone call to the warden got the power turned on for the princely sum of 1500Kr a night, but it was chilly enough for us to want the heater on, so we paid up :-)