Enjoying the first day of summer and preparing the Langidalur volunteer camp… in between the snow showers.
The Langidalur camp is still quiet but will soon be open for business.
Preparations have already begun as this season we are starting early and our first team will be joining us in just 3 weeks time. There is a lot to do in 3 weeks, but we are very much looking forward to meeting the new team and getting started on 7th May.
Following their success last season, we are organising pre-departure Skype meetings for our volunteers before we head back to Thórsmörk.
The meetings are planned for April and all volunteers who are joining us this season will be invited. Their aim is to provide an opportunity to discuss preparations for the placements, including the chance to talk about the conditions at the camps, required equipment and travel to the meeting point at the start. It is the perfect opportunity to make contact and for us to answer any last minute questions that the team may have.
The meetings will take place over about two weeks and details of available times will be emailed shortly. We would like to complete the meetings before we move to the Thórsmörk to begin setting up the camps and where Skype contact is limited.
This summer our volunteer teams will return to worksites on the famous Laugavegur hiking trail and once again we will be organising a programme of trail maintenance projects in partnership with The Iceland Touring Association (Ferðafélag Íslands). FÍ have been providing facilities and material support for our volunteer teams since we arrive in Thórsmörk in 2012. The valuable support that our teams receive from the hut wardens is hugely appreciated.
Planned project sites around Emstrur will be accessed by teams hiking from Langidalur and staying at wilderness camps close to the trail there but activity further north is coordinated from a volunteer camp that has been established at Hvanngil. Last season the teams focused their work on a 5km section of the trail between Hvanngil and Álftavatn where the main tasks included improving drainage, repairing damaged sections and adding about 200 new way-markers to encourage hikers to stay on the trail. Working at Hvanngil is particularly challenging due to exposed worksites and changeable weather. Our teams normally walk the 28km trail from Langidalur to Hvanngil in a day.
Despite the challenges, these long-range Highland projects are extremely popular with our teams. We change the groups between the projects each week so that participants experience a variety of locations and work tasks during their placements. Volunteers joining us for 2 weeks this season will hopefully have the opportunity to take part in the Highland projects in the second week of their placement but as always, the final decision will be made by the weather.
Throughout the main season (June-August) our volunteers will be divided into four teams working on project sites throughout the area from Monday – Friday. On Friday evenings the teams will gather at the Langidalur base camp for a meal together, a campfire and the chance to catch up with weekend plans.
We plan to open the camp at Langidalur on May 1st.
Applications for the 2017 programme closed at the end of January and we have been busy putting the summer teams together.
Our request for volunteers received a huge response with hundreds of applications from over 50 countries. A (not so) shortlist was made and the Skype interviews have been completed. Most of the places are now allocated and we have waiting-lists ready to finalise any remaining placements within the next couple of weeks.
This season, the programme has received a lot of interest and allocations have taken longer than expected due to the large number of applicants. We wanted to give all the applications carefully consideration. There were many more good applications than places available and unfortunately it was not possible to accept everyone though we have added some extra places to the programme so that we can include as many as possible.
Now that we have our team, final preparations for the summer can begin!