Advantages Weird and wonderful
Disadvantages Biting insects and unstable ground.
Myvatn.Brought up on Tolkien and with a hankering after the legends it might just sound romantic.
In fact it's as romantic as a Scottish bog in August. Myvatn. "Midge Lake" is, apparently, the literal translation. Any guide book worth its mustard will warn you about this place. Here the midges swarm and mate and, when neither swarming nor mating, wander around in smaller insidious groups looking for something to eat. Anything large and warm-blooded will do. Cows. People. They're not fussed. They have been known to kill cattle.This happens in two ways. The first, and one to which I can attest after my Pig-Pen impersonation at Caerlaverock, is that the poor creature simply tries to outrun the onslaught…and they cannot be outrun. Eventually, the poor beast simply collapses from exhaustion.
[The Akureyrie sports shops do a grand trade in head-nets. Yes. I acquired one more bit of proper technical kit.]So now I've put you off the idea altogether, let me try to change your mind.
Getting ThereWe were heading out from Akureyrie, about 80km to the west. We were using private transport, but buses run on a daily basis during the summer (albeit on a limited schedule so do plan ahead).
July 2010 might have included the hottest week of the year in the UK, but that particular week in Iceland was unusually wet. "At least it'll keep the midges down" we stoically reminded one another. "Except, if we're lucky and it stops that'll give them the nice warm damp conditions they really love…."As another rain-drenched morning broke in Akureyrie we were sure we wouldn't need the much vaunted protective kit. Don't you believe it, we were told. Myvatn sits in the rain-shadow of the Vatnajökull icecap and is – according to the stats – the driest place in Iceland. Did we believe that?
Not until the road out ahead showed the pass through the mountain range. The break in the skyline was reflected by the clear change in the sky. Up to the edge of the mountains, dark brooding, rain-shedding grey clumps of misery, beyond a fine line drawn above the mountain tops, bright white barely there cloud shimmer. One of the clearest weather system edges I've seen.Hopes for the day lifted with a lighter sky.
~The Lake Area
Although guides talk about a visit to Myvatn, it isn't really about the lake itself but the whole surrounding area. Straddling, as it does, the Mid Atlantic Ridge, this is an area of diverse landscapes that all have one thing in common: they're the result of violent geological activity of one kind or another which started about 10,000 years ago.
|Is it worth visiting?|
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