The Iceland Ring Road Challenge

Looking around for a challenge for next year, I became aware of the Iceland Challenge, which I gather is a two day walk, with around marathon distance on each. http://www.theicelandchallenge.com/ I am not seriously thinking about doing that but it is intriguing. I know with my current level of fitness that I simply need something to aim for.

It got me thinking. I didn’t realise that Iceland is that big and did a bit of investigating, finding that there is a ring road 826 miles long. The distance is less than I achieved a couple of years ago, and I reasoned that I could knock that off in about 8 weeks or so. I did a bit of Google Earthing and Street Viewing and the road looks ok, but there were parts where it appeared similar to a dual carriageway with a hard shoulder. I wasn’t certain that walking along those was even legal.

Route1(iceland)

A few narrow bridges looked tricky but this seemed really exciting. I am not sure whether I was thinking that this was even feasible but I emailed the Hit Iceland contact with a very prospective request for information.

 

Hello

I am a long distance walker and a friend alerted me to the Hit Iceland website. {NB this was actually a lie, I have no friends who would do that!} I saw the Ring Road runs right round the island and is around 826 miles long. Having undertaken a similar long distance challenge (over 1,000 miles) I was intrigued at the possibility of walking the Road – it would obviously take me a bit of time – around 8 weeks. I would like to check whether this is possible – some of the roads that I have seen have two lanes with an extra hard shoulder – is it legal to walk on all parts of the Ring Road?

Many thanks. I am serious – I may sound like a crank caller but I do undertake these strange challenges!

Kind regards

Keith

I received a very quick reply, even though it was a Bank Holiday weekend. Actually, it wasn’t a Bank Holiday in Iceland. Having thought that this would be a unique challenge, I was surprised that the reply made it sound an absolutely normal thing for people to do.
Hi Keith
It is absolutely possible to walk the Ring Road in Iceland.  The whole road as presented in our Ring Road article has two lanes and most if not all have extra hard shoulders. It is legal to walk the road and has often been done by Icelanders as well as visitors.  It is also quite popular to cycle the road.  Although you can walk the road all year round the months of May to September are much better than the winter months as winter weather can be severer. The only thing that might not be legal is sleeping in your tent anywhere along the way.  This is often done on the other hand an no one would bother you.  But there are many good camp sites along the way in all the many towns and villages on the road.
Best regards and thank you for viewing hiticeland.com
Einar
I was amused that an Iceland tourism site was pretty much encouraging me to break the law, never a clever thing to do when abroad (or at home, come to think of it). But what an interesting walk this would be. Due to temperatures, it could only realistically be walked between May and August. I have already seen some of the sights just from a few minutes on Google Maps and the scenery from the Ring Road is stunning in parts.

Not for the first time, I come back to reality when I realise how much this would cost me, as well as nine weeks off work (which are difficult to negotiate at any time), and it would be highly unlikely for me to stay with relatives or have any visits from friends or relatives that helped so much to keep up my spirits two years ago. I can’t see myself camping, despite the obvious financial savings. I suppose I could get some corporate sponsorship that would give some company decent publicity. Iceland – I’m sure I would be a more acceptable face than Kerry Katona???

Ok, it’s nice to dream. Very nice to dream but it’s time to think of another one. I have the Monopoly Trail, about 60 miles, that I will do as a training thing, rather than a special challenge. I guess I need to think of something a bit more realistic for 2017 than the Iceland Ring Road Challenge.

 

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