Southern Highlands, Iceland by Andrew Whettam

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Picture Story

Last summer I had the privilege of doing a seven-day trek through the Southern Iceland Highlands. It is an area of true wilderness and great beauty, only accessible with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Getting there involves some serious off-road driving, including several major river crossings - and that's just to get to the start of our route! This is a summer location only - it would be completely inaccessible during the winter as the whole area gets covered in snow.

The whole area is a stark volcanic landscape, sometimes with no vegetation at all, sometimes with sparsely scattered grasses and flowers. There were no trees at all! This made for some pretty epic scenery and there was a photograph waiting at every little raise or corner.

We carried our own food, gear and camping equipment, walking up to 16 km (10 miles) per day. Being a mountainous area, we weren’t walking on the flat much of the time. Out highest camp was on at around 1100m on a mountain summit – not that high in global terms, but plenty high enough to attract some pretty grim weather!

Overall, the weather was distinctly mixed, with some days being pretty miserable and wet. On perhaps the worst weather day, the saving grace was being able to jump into a warm volcanic pool when we arrived at our very remote wild-camping location. We did have a couple of quite nice days and some incredible light on one or two occasions.

One of the most striking features of the place is the vivid green moss which grows alongside many of the water courses. This image is of such a mossy area, with a tiny stream wending a circuitous path through the green vegetation.

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