The cloudy road ahead

In the next month or so, I and two friends will be attempting to cycle around Iceland.  Usually, there would be the standard helping of trepidation by friends and colleagues at the idea of cycling over a thousand miles, around a desolate and sparsely inhabited island.  This year is more ambitious than I had originally intended due to the continued eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.

Indeed, the repeated action of the volcano and the broad level of information I am receiving from various sources (some more trusted than others) means that I am none the wiser as to whether we will be able to fly to Iceland and then circumnavigate it without being either blocked by the volcanic activity or halted by falling clouds of ash.  Conundrums and tribulations aside, this is all adding up to be quite the adventure.  Usually, if I were only concerned about my own travel, this would not be an issue as one can more easily roll with the punches when you are solo.  However, with the much appreciated company on this trip, along with the variety of start points for the journey, I need to make sure that I am not going to waste anyone’s precious vacation time.

I must admit to being more than a little seduced by the adventure ahead.  Each year, I like to have something new, something that sets each challenge apart from the previous ones.  Last year, it was covering thousands of miles alone.  This year, Eyjafjallajökull is throwing all sorts of variables in my path.

I have read various reports from other cyclist and newscasters reporting back on the eruptions as they happen.  The official word was that they would be over within the next couple of weeks and that the prevailing winds would prevent any falling ash from inconveniencing us as we make our way clockwise around the island.

In addition to the complexities of Eyjafjallajökull erupting, its three previous eruptions on record have each been associated with a subsequent eruption of Katla.  So far, there have been no signs of turbulence beneath Katla’s surface.  However, having last erupted almost a century ago in 1918, vulcanologists say that a new blast is overdue.

“So far there have been no signs of the re-awakening of the Katla volcano but a lot of things can still happen, so we are monitoring it quite closely,” Dr Einarsson said.

Here is an image that caught my eye.  My cycling companion Dave summed it up best when he said something along the lines that we needed to make sure we had all a decent breathing mask in our bags.

So, after all the procrastination, this is what it is all about:  The angry gods of the underworld spewing out its ash and magma.  In a strange turn of events, after thinking that Iceland would be bereft of tourists, I have been reading about how the volcanic eruption has heightened tourist figures as people come from far and wide to see the angry mountain humbling our Western way of travel and life in general.

Please note: None of these images are mine.  They have been sourced from fellow photographers on the net.  If you would like me to credit your image or remove it, please email me or comment below

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