Iceland Star Grab

A journey around Iceland in August 2014. The only plan is to visit as many of the stars (points of interest) on my paper map as I can. There are 25.

Current progress:

Left pannier - chain lube to get me up Denmark, almost empty. Air filter oil if I need to clean / dry out the foam air filter.

Inside: sleeping bag, thermals, cup, stove, pots and pans.

Right pannier - 1L petrol fuel bottle for stove, 1L 10W50 oil for KTM.

Inside: tent, pillow, spare 21" tube (rubber is to prevent the vibes against the pannier rubbing the tent poles through the canvas)

This is a first! I don’t know how to fish at all. Zero hours of my life have been spent rod fishing.

Waterproof Xperia Z1 for all duties, Garmin 62S as backup.

I’m taking a KTM 640 Adventure from 2007 with ~50,000 miles. I chose this over a 990 Adventure due to the weight and ability to get it running again if it goes for a swim in one of Iceland’s many rivers.

Whilst the bike has Mitas E-10 tyres, the existing 2000 miles on the rear combined with another 1000 just to get to the ferry port in Denmark mean that I expect they wouldn’t last the entire trip around Iceland. This gives me the opportunity to try Pirelli’s MT-21 tyres, which I shall have fitted once I arrive in Iceland. If there is any rubber left on the E-10s after the journey up, I’ll keep them in Iceland in-case I need them to get back home if the MT-21s are dead.

Leaving my house in London to catch the Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry, via Oxford to pick up some bits.

Sailing to Hook is more expensive than a Calais ferry. The combination of accommodation, arrival further north, and 7am start on the continent make it a winner for me.

An uneventful slog up the motorways, through Holland, Germany, and into Denmark.

Poised for the 11.30 ferry the next day, I camped at Hirtshalls after picking up some supplies for the 2-day ferry journey.

The vast majority of bikes have some kind of knobbly tire fitted, and there were two other 640 Adventures in the queue as well as this Swiss couple on two Yamaha XTs.

Not only interesting bikes, but also some impressive campers.

Our call to board came. The journey to Iceland begins.

There’s not much to do on the ferry.

And the couchette option packs nine beds into a tiny room. Bring your own bedding too.

The journey is occasionally broken up with sights, like arriving briefly at the Faroe islands.

Supplies bought from Denmark helped pass the time.

Iceland arrived in the morning, a clear, perfect day.

First stop was the first town, to swap over tyres.

Ready to get star hunting. My first target was a bird colony in the far north east.

Once the main gravel road ended, it was time to follow what was marked as a trail on my map.

Star 1!

My interest took me to Skalar, a deserted settlement, which had a red shelter marked on my map. I didn’t expect the real one to look the same!

Then a rather stony ascent up a hill for a view.

Mission accomplished, now time to head back along some more tracks to set myself up for the next day, including this one which was sign-posted as ‘impassable’. It wasn’t.

I camped overnight at the foot of the Asbyrgi cliffs, ready for the next day’s star grab…

Star 2! First stop the Asbrygi cliffs.

You can see the area I’m in has sunken, exposing the cliffs.

Star 3 - Next stop Detifoss.

Then following the road took me to these boiling mud pits, not a star on my map, but they should be…

Star 4! The geothermal pools.

Star 5! Dimmuborgir lava fields.

Once I’d finished with the Myvatn area, I headed back up north towards a long trail marked as running past some hot springs.

The trail ended unexpectedly, before my map suggested it should. A new, under construction route was being made and the original was blocked off. With weather closing in I though I’d had a lucky break…

But 55mph didn’t last long as I hit loose large rocks not yet packed into the surface. It was very difficult to ride over.

The weather was bad enough for two things to happen. First, I deployed my rain poncho. Second, I’ll be damned if I’m camping in this weather.

The bike parked up in Akureyri.

With yours truly enjoying a beer in this hostel.

And it just so happens that Akureyri hosts the Icelandic national Formula Offroad competition tomorrow, so the star hunt will have to go on hold a day.

Damn that looks brilliant, good luck finding all the stars :smiley:

Very cool, look forward to the next episode.

Wow, incredible photos as usual. Do you never stay still for more than 6 months? :smiley:

WOW!!! That looks incredible - I’d even be up for camping out in bad weather for that sort of landscape and views - and I gave away my tent years ago… :smiley:

Loving your work Gibson.

get a effing job will you !!! :smiley:

glad to see the essential bottle is pannier attached :stuck_out_tongue:

have fun

ps don’t forget the customary ktm having a sleep picture !!!:Whistling:

Yippee another travel log.
I love seeing your travels, always inspiring.
Looks awesome.

Awesome pictures as always, thanks for sharing Martin :slight_smile:

‘Formula Offroad’ came to Akureyri this weekend, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see it.

The buggies have around 600-800hp, though more is allowed, as are turbos and superchargers.

The idea is to navigate through a set of gates in as fast a time as possible, incurring a time penalty for hitting or missing gates, over a number of stages. The fastest time wins. The sport is characterised by challenging near vertical climbs.

The competitors regularly get stuck.

But some make it look easy.

Wow. Thanks for sharing. Looks like one for the bucket list!

Amazing! Thanks for sharing photos and videos