PROJECT: SEEDS volunteers will support this project for the fourteenth year in a row. We started cooperation in 2009 and the results have been very positive. The hosts are a group of locals developing the area with alternative tourism services, including running a series of huts in this isolated area in the highlands and offering services to visitors and hikers. This year there will be major changes to the area, as the facilities are being renovated and new ones are being added to those existing.
This year SEEDS volunteers will work on diverse outdoor tasks connected to the renovation and building of facilities in the area. The main tasks planned are cleaning of debris in the area, finishing work related to landscaping around new structures, laying of grass mats, repair and maintenance of hiking paths.
As the landscape is rough, the work can be physically demanding and might require a good physical condition. No previous experience is needed. As it is outdoor work, volunteers shall be ready to adapt and be flexible with the working and free-time schedule, as depending on the -changeable- weather, we may not be able to perform some of the tasks or activities planned.
Volunteers need to be prepared for working and walking in a wild landscape in one of the most isolated areas of Iceland. Be prepared to experience all kinds of weather and bring warm winter clothes as it can get very cold in the highlands. Bring warm under-layers, waterproofs, walking shoes/boots, a good sleeping bag, hat, scarves and gloves.
ACCOMMODATION: Volunteers will be hosted in a local mountain hut, sleeping in shared rooms on mattresses on the floor. Please bring your own sleeping bag. The facilities are very basic and volunteers are expected to show consideration for their companions.
Volunteers will receive food ingredients and will be in charge of cooking and cleaning. Do not forget to bring some traditional/typical food, drinks, music and recipes from your country for the international evening.
LOCATION: The Icelandic highlands, or “the interior”, are a true pearl to nature lovers and outdoor people. It is accessible by 4WD cars only and most routes involve crossing rivers where there are no bridges. If you really want to get away from it all, the interior of Iceland is like nothing you have ever experienced. The mountainous centre of the island, with its rocky deserts, craggy mountain peaks, ice caps, volcanoes, hidden valleys and hot springs, is an awesome and untouched wilderness.
The interior was almost totally inaccessible until recently. However, outlaws managed to hide out for years at a time in the highlands, rustling sheep and keeping away from law-abiding citizens. Folklore stories tell of both natural and supernatural beings that lie in wait for unwary highland travellers. Travellers going between the north and south of Iceland sometimes had to cross the highlands. To get to the assembly of Alþingi (parliament) each summer, delegates had to ride from every corner of the country to Þingvellir in the Southwest.
Volunteers will be staying close to the glacier Hofsjökull, near the rivers Hvítá and Þjórsá. The mountains in the area that reach up to 1500 m were formed during a volcanic eruption in the later part of the ice age. The area is still dynamic and great geothermal activity takes place in the surroundings. The environment is very diverse, both in shape and colour. The mountains are weathered and have very little continuous growth, as the forces of nature, like glaciers, water flow, ice bursts etc. have been fast working in these mountain highlands.
LANGUAGE: English will be the official language of the camp; basic conversational skills are needed.
TERMINAL: Closest international Airport: Keflavík/Reykjavík (KEF). Bus station: Central Reykjavík (BSÍ).
EXTRAS / SPECIAL REMARKS: Participation fee EUR 350 (Euros). Please note that the fee can either be transferred in advance via bank transfer, or paid for on arrival. The fee includes transportation from the meeting point to the campsite & back (on the first and last day of the camp). Meeting & Departure time will be at 7:00 in the morning of June 12, at SEEDS’ Office in Reykjavík. We will return to Reykjavík on the evening of June 25.
The location of the camp is remote and very isolated. Free time activities are mostly hiking and trekking in the area, as there is no transportation available, nor the possibility to organise transport to different sites.
Volunteers need to be prepared for physical, demanding work. Weather is unpredictable and it can be very cold or rainy in the highlands. We recommend bringing good walking shoes/boots, warm/winter and/or waterproof clothes (underlayers, overcoats, scarves, gloves and hats) as most of the tasks and activities take place outside.