Shot for the Day (10 February 2017)

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Scene from coast in Iceland, where sheep roam free and like to nibble your bicycle tyres.  Where is your favourite place in Iceland?

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Shot for the Day (08 February 2017)

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End of day in Iceland in 2011 when I cycled round the island. It was the middle of summer and on the first few days, the temperature was a balmy twenty degrees Celsius.

A few days later, the skies open and for the remainder of the 18 day circumnavigation, the weather was in single digits and rained steadily most days.  However, what stays with me above all else from Iceland was the unrelenting wind. Regardless of one’s orientation, the wind seemed to be permanently against one. If ever I have been close to quitting on a ride, it was several days into that experience.

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Shot for the Day (2 October 2016)

Sunset in Reykjavik

Last couple of shots from Iceland.  On the day I finally completed my circumnavigation of the island on my trusty cycle, I went for a wonder around the shoreline of Reykjavik.  I was treated to the most glorious light across the bay.  The yellow light house a beacon at twilight just as it was at night.

Prior to arriving in the capital, I had camped on the shoreline of Jökulsárlón.  This image was taken close to midnight.  As Iceland is just south of the Arctic Circle, it has little darkness in the summer.  However, even though it was meant to be the hottest time of the year, it was chilly, with temperatures still very much in single figures that evening.

Ice sculptures at midnight

Shot for the Day (27 September 2016)

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I have visited Iceland a few times.  This was from my most recent trip there, when I cycled round the island.  This was one of the rare days when it did not rain.  I was around 300km east of Reykjavik when I took this shot.  The wind was with me that day and I covered over 100 miles.

This next shot was a couple of days out of Egilsstaðir, close to Hoffell if I recall correctly.  Just a mile or two away from the road where I was cycling, was this the view I was treated to, of a glacier positioned on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park.

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Shot for the Day (09 September 2016)

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A shot from the archives.  This one was taken in Iceland when I cycle around the island.  I had made my way around the peninsula and had to back track through the mountains.  Ahead of me, the clouds loomed ominously above the range I had to cycle through.  Needless to say, I was soaked in the mother of all storms.

Just over a week later, I was on the other side of the island.  The omnipresent clouds parted momentarily as I passed an abandoned house.  Soon afterwards, the rain fell and the clouds closed in.  If you can overlook the bad weather (these were taken in the height of the Icelandic summer) and the relentless winds, cycling around this rock in the middle of the Atlantic was a fantastic expedition.

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Day 12: Jokulsarlon to Litlahof

We woke up to thick cloud but there was no wind or rain. Planned to do 130km. When we got on the bike Dave began to suffer from the illness that had struck him on his way out here.  It struck him quite  early in the day and as it really kicked in he could hardly move.  We attempted to do 35km’s before breakfast but Dave couldn’t make it so  we stopped and set up for a hot drink. Cycled a little bit further. Julien then got his second puncture which was very annoying as he only had two inner tubes but it was caused due to the poor gravel road surfaces.  We now have no inner tubes left, so fingers crossed.

By the afternoon Julien  was getting really cold. Dave was very ill. Dave wanted to thumb a ride as he could go no further. Julien decided to go on to find a hostel. There was nothing, so he cycled on and on and on. 40 clicks down the road found a  town called Litlahof.

A landlady said she had a house with rooms. Julien took the room at about 4pm and waited for Dave. He was in a bad way so arrived at 8 PM. When he got to the hostel we had a chat and decided that Dave should rest up and either meet up with Julien at the end of each day or head to Reykjavik. Four days to go. About 110km solo planned per day.

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org

Day 8: Reykjahlio to Moorudalur

The beginning of the hardcore cycling. Had planned to travel for two days and meet Dave in Egilsstadir.We have been going through the highlands so you are at altitude and it feels really really cold. We have been battling with more fierce headwinds.Every morning we look to the flags to check the winds and every morning they are blowing madly. There was NOTHING en route at all, not village, no shelter – nothing, just very big open plains at elevated level with non-stop winds pinning you back.

Cycled our hearts out for 45 kms and then stopped. It would normally take 3 hours to go that distance but it took 5 hours.  It was unbelievable.  Eventually we flagged down some locals to ask when the next town was. They said it was 35kms otherwise they suggested that  I should cycle back in the direction I had come from. There was no way I was going to do that. In the end did we did 78km. Stopped in Moorudalur. It was 8km off of a   main road on a dumpy gravel road. It was a tiny little camping ground but massively windy so we set about finding a sheltered place on a hillock, a challenge in itself! The camp had a nice little bar with wifi but no mobile connection. A lovely sanctuary after a very hard day.

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust
020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org

Day 6: Kinnafjall to Akureyri

Woke up to another beautiful day, Julien treated himself to a bit of a lie in. It was still cold but bright always helps.  Broke the tent down.   Set off and headed 55km down the hill towards Angelique’s location.  The head winds were at it again and even though the cycling was downhill it was only possible to reach 8mph, cycling into the winds is heartbreaking and always a challenge .  It was an unrelenting 4 hours. When we met up with Angelique she deduced that Julien needed to lose some kit to make the head winds easier so we had a bit of a turn out and Angelique will be taking 10 kilo’s of stuff and leaving it at the airport on her way out tomorrow.

Currently Julien’s leg muscles look like I imagine Popeye’s would.  Now having a nice meal and preparing to wave Angelique off in the morning. Dave is on his way and is flying out tomorrow although Julien will be heading to Akureyri in the middle of nowhere so it will take a few days to meet up.

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Day 5: Blonduos to Kinnafjall

This morning was a beautiful one to wake up to. Sunny and bright, not words we would have associated with Iceland so far.  The road out of Blonduos was calm and tranquil and we covered about 35-40kms without seeing any traffic. However, this was clearly too good to be true. As we turned a corner we could see a rising valley ahead of us.  Shit! came to mind. It is difficult to put this into words but we could see tiny cars up ahead of us climbing very very slowly. This did not bode well for us lowly cyclists.

We climbed 500 metres higher and higher up the hill. It was grueling and exceptionally tough. As we reached a plateau at the top of the mountain it was still fairly sunny and warm and the scenery was awesome.

As we began to head down towards Varmahlio (a small town housing 120 residents) we could see the massive drop ahead of us and it was a long long long  ride down. The weather was  beautiful and  really warm. We safely reached the bottom and after an amazing lunch  thought ‘life is great’.

Over lunch we looked at the map and saw that we could get 45 km towards our next destination.  Unfortunately our luck was out and the stand on Julien’s bike broke. No stand on a touring bike fully loaded is frankly a pain in the arse as you can’t just stop for a drink. You have to find something to lean it on. This put Julien in a grumpy mood. Then the weather clouded over and it got cold. Our non-stop uphill climbing of only  15km took us a whole  4 hours! We were so high up that we got to the point where there was snow all around us. We were yet again battling strong head winds  and we were freezing cold. Finally we reached the path at the top. We had drunk a lot of water and were very thirsty. The wind chill made it below zero. Julien had full weather gear but Angelique’s full weather kit had one missing in transit so we hailed her a lift down the mountain. Julien camped alone at the top of the mountain and experienced -2 degrees in the tent.  That said it was a beautiful evening with clear skies and the now familiar light nights.

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org