After our day at the Jökulsárlón lagoon we drove back to Vik to stay our last night in Iceland. But it was only 4pm and the light doesn't disappear completely until after midnight, so I decided to go for a bit of a walk…
The beach proper by Vik is a black-sand beach, but the headlands next to it are much more rugged, half boulders and half crumbly cliffside. It is possible to clamber along it, but after an 8-hour expedition to the point (by the interesting Reynisdrangar rocks) and back, I can strongly recommend against it.
The first bit up to halfway up the cliff and perhaps 50m along from the beach itself is fine, an informal track has been bush-bashed by other travellers walking up there to look at the birds which are circling around (though you have to try and stay away from the nests so as to not disturb nesting birds, in summer). Much further past that is a bad idea.
Depending on the tides, you have to go up and down quite a bit as the sea comes up to what are quite sheer cliffs at several points, and it is very hard going requiring bush-bashing through slimy foliage and struggling to keep your footing on some pretty steep slopes as they fall to bits beneath you. Not fun.
Luckily, at that time in summer it doesn't get fully dark until after midnight, so I made it there and back just in time, albeit with a few scrapes!
A better idea is just to go around the road to the beach on the other side of the point, where you can see the cool basalt column stacks. You can still see the Reynisdrangar rocks, albeit from above, by walking along a track that leads out to the top of the cliff, though it looks like it crosses farmland so you should check if permission is required first.
Next time I go back that way I'll also try and go a bit further west along the coast to see Dyrholaey – that's the big prominitory with the arch you can see in the last photo. Again it looks like you can only see it from above, but there is another stretch of black sand beach adjacent to it.
That was about it for our trip. The next morning, still somewhat exhausted, we packed up and Mog drove us through the stormclouds back over to the Reykjanes peninsula, giving us only our second bit of actual sun since we got there on the way. In this photo you can also see the layer of cloud that seemed to hang exactly over the level of the hills and cliffs in from the lowlands we circle around the island on.
So it was back to Reykjavik to drop the car off and fly home, and that was that.
I enjoyed visiting Iceland and getting some good time outdoors again, and I'd like to see the rest of the island sometime too. In particular I'd like to go all the way north and go out whale-watching in the deeper waters where the big baleen whales swim, and maybe get up closer to the glaciers.
Next up I had a night in the UK before a typical BA flight disruption delayed my trip to Australia…