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Skjaldbreiður - Hiking up a classic shield volcano

Pictures are at the bottom...

15 July, 2012

Skjaldbreiður is a classic shield volcano near Þingvallavatn, perfect circles on the map. It's relatively high, but very gentle walking, if you can get your car close enough. It was also the right sort of size for a sunday day walk that was more than a local hill, but not a 6am epic adventure.

I had some help from some friends getting up, but we were on the road at a reasonable hour and headed off. Straightforward driving but a little rockier than you'd want to take a small car to. There's a main road that follows the power lines east to west, and a side road that leads up to Skjaldbreiður itself. As people drive all the way to the summit in winter (And we saw jeep tracks on the snow quite high up) but there was no way my car was going all the way, we just stopped when we decided it was too bumpy.

We were going to have to walk sooner or later anyway. Of course, after a slight rise we ran into tourists on quad bikes, who'd driven all the way from Reykjavik. They seemed both impressed to meet other people, but also disappointed to meet other people in their wild desolate nature. No matter, we were headed for the top!

It's lumpy walking, but gentle. The summit rim has some very interesting ropey lava, and we found quite a few tiny little tubes all over the place. The crater is much bigger and deeper than we'd expected, but it is a pretty big mountain really. The weather was a little hazy most of the afternoon and grey, but basically fine.

Another lovely day out!

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