When the Forest Service trail programme began in Thórsmörk in 2013, our first challenge was to establish a base camp for the work and a site at Langidalur was chosen. Developed in close cooperation with Ferðafélag Íslands, the aim of the camp was to provide basic facilities for the volunteer teams who were camping in the area during the summer months including shelter for cooking and a dry space for the teams to use in the evenings. Conditions were very basic at the start, but Langidalur became our home.
Delivered by our friends from Húsadalur and the Kynnisferðir truck (2013)
Repairs and improvements in preparations for the first teams (2013)
The addition of the kitchen and food storage area (2014)
This year, summer has arrived early in Thórsmörk and the good weather has helped us get ahead with preparations for our main volunteer projects which will start in June.
Our first team of the season joined us for 2 weeks in May and included experienced volunteers from the United Kingdom, USA and Canada. As well as setting up the Langidalur volunteer camp in preparation for the summer, the team focused on GIS data collection, trail surveys and maintenance on several of the main routes.
It has been a really great start… the sun is shining and now we are ready.
The volunteer camps have been very quiet this week as our teams have been away hiking on Laugavegurinn.
Each summer our 6-week volunteers have the chance to hike from Landmannalaugar during their ‘hiking week’ as a small reward for all their hard work. As well as a welcome break from the challenges of trail building, the hike is an opportunity to explore and enjoy the area (without carrying trail tools and timber).
We would like to say a huge thank you to Ferðafélag Íslands for their support with these trips. Also, special thanks to all the amazing hut wardens who have helped us along the way.
Johnny Rolt and Ollie Campbell have made a short film about their experiences volunteering with us in Thórsmörk last summer. As well as a taste of life at the volunteer camps, the film visits our projects and worksites in Thórsmörk, Goðaland and along the Laugavegurinn trail. Congratulations to Johnny and Ollie on this amazing work. It’s beautiful!
Spend a few minutes in Thórsmörk with us now…
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.