Rain, Waterfalls, Volcanoes, and Hail.

Svartifoss.Continuing round the south east of Iceland on the ring road (Route 1) we stopped at Skaftafell National Park to visit the park's two icons, the Skaftafellsjökull glacier and the Svartifoss waterfall.

The waterfall is, as you can see, is flanked by overhanging basalt columns.

For reasons that now escape me we stayed at the park camp ground (1200IKr/$18USA).

Although basalt columns are common in this part of Iceland we are asked to believe that the residents of Kirkjubæjarklaustur thought this example (right) was the floor of a long forgotten church!

Don't let the umbrella fool you into thinking it was raining, it was actually hailing.

Our second foray onto "F" roads was the 50km drive up the F206 to the Laki volcano. The drive was interesting as our first taste of the "where do I cross this river" problem. On two occasions the road runs parallel to a river offering an interesting choice of crossing points.

We arrived at the end of the F206 (and the base of the Laki volcano) in mid afternoon in the torrential rain. About 18:00 the rain stopped for 30 minutes just giving us time to nip up to the crater. We decided to wild camp in the hope of better weather in the morning.

Whilst we were there two 4x4s arrived. The five occupants of the first only made it 20 metres from their car before being beaten back by the rain. The occupants of the second 4x4 survived a full 15 minutes before retreating the 50km (two hours) back to the main road. We had a peaceful night.

Inside the Laki volcano crater. Inside the Laki volcano crater.

Although Laki itself is extinct the surrounding volcanoes erupted in 1783 spewing 30 billion tonnes of lava and 90 million tonnes of sulfuric acid across Iceland. This resulted in the death of 20% of the population.

Stephen Stewart.

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