Long-term Trail Team placements
Group 1: 28/05/17 – 08/07/17
Group 2: 16/07/17 – 26/08/17
The work we do can be divided into two main parts; trail maintenance and erosion control. The trail maintenance work involves a huge variety of practical tasks including improving drainage, building steps with timber or stone, resurfacing trails with gravel and installing signs. Hand tools including rock bars and stone carriers are used for much of the work but machinery is brought in to support the teams were access allows. Our volunteers work alongside Forest Service staff who cut timber for the trail construction tasks. Trail marking is an important part of our work as it helps to prevent damage to fragile areas and improve safety for visitors. Way-markers for the trails are made on site from locally sourced timber.
The Forest Service is currently developing a new system of trail mapping in Thórsmörk. The Pathfinder project combines GIS mapping and photographs with a quality grading system. We have also introduced a numbering system for the trail markers in the area which helps to improve safety on the trails. This mapping work is now being extended to include sites throughout the area.
Placement structure and project sites
At the start of their placements, our 6-week volunteers will be based at either Langidalur (Thórsmörk) or Básar (Goðaland). They will then switch between locations at the end of their holiday/hiking week. In addition to projects close to these camps, participants will have the opportunity of joining long-range and Highland projects though these are dependant on suitable weather conditions.
- Week 1 Training/introduction week
- Week 2 and 3 Project one
- Week 4 Holiday / hiking week
- Weeks 5 and 6 Project two
Long-range projects – These are organised from both Langidalur (Thórsmörk) or Básar (Goðaland) camps and are a way of accessing remote worksites. Our volunteers stay at wilderness camps close to worksites and carry their equipment, materials and food. Long-range projects usually run for 4 days.
Highland teams – There will also be opportunities for volunteers to join our Highland trail team based at Hvanngil, on the Laugavegur trail, 28km north of our base-camp at Langidalur. Highland projects are particularly challenging due to weather conditions and the remote nature of the camp and work sites. Highland projects include long-distance hiking and usually run for 5 days.
Our volunteers work from Monday to Friday and the working day normally runs from 09.00 to 18.00, however this schedule can vary due to the nature of some of the projects. Participants must also be prepared for some flexibility in these working hours due to Iceland’s changeable weather. Worksites are generally 15-45 minutes walk from the camps. The programme includes 2 days off during each working week.
Holiday / hiking week
Week 4 is a holiday week for our 6-week volunteers and can explore the area or travel further afield. We invite our volunteers to join us and take part in the famous 4-day hike Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk (Laugavegur hiking trail). We will organise transport to the start of the hike and lightweight food for the teams. The hike is optional and participants who do not wish to take part may organise their own free time or even chose to join additional work projects during this time. Participants do not have to make a decision about the hike until Week 3 of the placement. It is important that anyone wishing to complete the hike makes sure that they bring all the necessary personal equipment with them, as it will not be possible to obtain additional equipment in Thórsmörk (See our Equipment list for volunteers). It is important to note that the weather in Iceland’s mountains is very changeable and poor conditions may result in the hike being delayed or cancelled.
There is no participation fee. Our volunteers pay their own travel costs to Iceland and join their team at the Langidalur base-camp in Thórsmörk. Throughout the placement, food, transport and campsites are provided. Please note that participants cover their own costs if they leave the project area during their free time.
Gloves and waterproofs for work are provided as well as any additional safety equipment that is required during the work tasks. Participants need to bring their own personal equipment and it is very important that our volunteers are well prepared. Essentials include: waterproofs and warm clothes, hiking boots and a sturdy tent that you are able to carry when hiking. See our Equipment list for volunteers.
Food is provided throughout the placement. It is important that participants inform us about special dietary requirements before of their placement, as food is often organised ahead of the projects. Volunteers take part in food preparation and all other domestic tasks at the camps.
Our volunteers organise their own travel to the meeting point at Thórsmörk (Húsadalur).
Participants organising their own travel insurance for the duration of the placement.
Our teams stay at established volunteer camps and wilderness camps during their placements. Our established camps at Langidalur (Thórsmörk) and Básar (Goðaland) have basic facilities including toilets, showers, cooking facilities and group tents for eating in. At our Highland team camp at Hvanngil (Laugavegurinn Hiking Trail) facilities including toilets and an indoor group space for cooking and shelter during the evenings. Our long-range wilderness camps have no facilities and all food and equipment is carried in by the teams.