Today we launch our 2020 programme and begin the search for volunteers who will join is in Thórsmörk next summer.
No previous experience of trail construction work is necessary as practical training will be provided. We are looking for participants who have some experience of camping and hill walking, enjoy wilderness landscapes and are ready for a challenge. Iceland’s notoriously changeable weather means that our teams have to be well prepared with warm clothing, good waterproofs and sturdy tents. Due to the strenuous nature of our work, participants must be physically fit and as many of our work sites are in remote locations, we do a lot of hiking to get to them!
Full details and application forms are now available… https://trailteam.is/opportunities/
We will start to allocate places at the beginning of January and applications will close on January 31st.
If you would like to join the team in Thórsmörk next summer, don’t delay – apply now!
Last season we introduced tree planting into our volunteer programme for the first time. Although this is quite different to the regular work of the trailteams, everyone was very eager to get involved. Taking a break from the Thórsmörk trails, the teams travelled to the Forestry Stations at Tumastaðir and Þjórsárdalur where our colleagues organised and guided the work.
Various tree species were planted (depending on the location) and these included both native birch as well as fast-growing poplar. During a series of projects with the foresters, our teams planted more than 5000 trees.
With this successful start we plan to continue and plant many more trees in 2020.
Full details about our 2020 volunteer programme, including placement dates and application forms will be published here on December 15th.
Last summer, one of our biggest work projects was the construction of a series of timber-frame steps on the west side of Valahnúkur. The aim of this work was to improve safety for hikers, repair damage and significantly increase the carrying capacity of this popular trail.
It was a huge challenge as the teams had to carry the materials up to the work site which was close to the top of Valahnúkur. Also in several places, they had the difficult task of breaking through stone so that the steps could be fitted into position. It was a slow process, but they succeeded in the end.
A design using timber-frame steps was chosen because of heavy trail use, steep terrain and the lack of good building stone in the area. The individual timber steps were made at the Langidalur camp and then carried up to the work site dug into the trail and fitted together. They were then filled with stone and earth before being covered with decking boards. The design included spaces between the steps where soil and ryegrass seed was added to encourage re-vegetation to help strengthen the trail and protect from erosion. Next season we will return to Valahnúkur to continue the work.
Here are pictures of our work on Valahnúkur last summer…
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.
Finally after months of talking, Skype meetings, shopping and planning, we are ready for the arrival of our first volunteers of the season.
On Sunday we will open the Langidalur Volunteer Camp and get back to work on the trails. As the snow is now disappearing, the first task will be improving trail marking ahead of the main visitor season.
During the last weeks we have been busy cutting new trail markers and moving equipment and supplies ahead of the volunteers. Now we are ready to start and very much looking forward to the arrival of the team.