This is the final edited version (including credits) of the footage I shot when I wasn't flying a kite (and some when I was)! It's HD so press play, pause it to let it load up, then hit full screen for HD loveliness.
Robert Brown & Einar Gardarsson
This was a spur of the moment trip for me really. It had been a while since I'd seen any snow, and restlessness had crept in.
Trawling the snow related threads on the Flexifoil forum yielded an interesting result though. A company I'd not come across before were advertising the last two spaces available on an Icelandic trip for the following month. Two minutes later and I was on the phone to Robert Brown of Snowkiter.co.uk, and 10 minutes after that my bank account was a little emptier.
The plan was for 12 people to spend a week kiting the Langjokull Glacier in mid Iceland - about 2 and a half hours drive north of Reykjavik. We were to meet up at the airport, transfer to town for a night (well, if you can call it "night") on the tiles, then pile into the Defender for the drive north the following morning - hangovers permitting.
As it happened a fit of sensibleness descended upon us and we were all able to get up early the following morning. Rob's plan for the Saturday, for Saturday it was, was to stop halfway to our destination and stock up on provisions, then having arrived at the chalets settle in ready for our first kiting session first thing Sunday.
As we drove north however, we could all see the wind picking up - white caps on the lakes we passed telling us that a steady force 4 was blowing; there was no way in hell we were just going to "settle in". Dump the provisions, a quick change into snow gear, and back in the 4x4 to head off for our first glimpse of the glacier.
What a great move that proved to be - we were blessed with some of the best winds of the whole trip that Saturday afternoon.
The 30 minute drive from the chalets to Langjokull Glacier lead up through some of the most extraordinary landscape I'd ever seen. It triggered memories of tortuous geography lessons that felt like the bane of my life at school; had they been able to transport me to Iceland to experience it, I never would have slept through a lesson again!
This is a country with its bones on display; it feels ancient, prehistoric, and yet perversely, that's because much of it is so young - it hasn't had the edges rounded off.
The first true taste of Icelandic wackiness came in driving the Defender up onto the snow: take the 38" tires down to 5 psi, low range box, 1st gear, and off she went (after a short, but very mad, dash to get passed the slushy bit - Robert having forgotten I was sitting on the roofrack at the time).
And, Oh My God, what a place greeted us. Near on 60 miles of rolling powder stretching off into the distance, with enough more interesting & difficult terrain to keep even the most experienced snowkiter happy.
This really was a case of "set the Landy as base on your GPS, and off you go..."
There almost aren't words to describe the week that followed. That first session continued well into the evening; which was a touch difficult to spot - it being near 24 hours daylight.
The next day the winds were perfect for an assault on the summit, at roughly 1400m, and ended in almost all of us recording something like 20 miles traveled on our sat navs.
And the days just went on, and on, and on. We kited 6 days out of 7 (only missing one because we hadn't arrived there yet)!
I think I can quite safely say, not yet having kited in Remi's back yard in Norway, that Iceland is now my snowkiting Nirvana. The snow is untouched (bar the occasional loony Icelander's 4x4 leaving tire tracks), there's almost 24 hour daylight, and glorious steady 15 mph winds roll down off the glacier; what more could I want?
Well, perhaps a guide to do the driving, cook the meals, organise the accommodation...
Step in Rob & Einar. Heaven, Utopia, Nirvana, or should I say, it being Iceland, Valhalla. If you're a snowkiter, YOU HAVE TO GO TO ICELAND. Email Rob, do it now.
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