We have headed north into the interior region of Iceland which is completely empty of all civilisation and infrastructure - just mountains, glaciers and a LOT of lava. At the end of the road is the last refuge; Hrauneyjar (The Highland Centre). We had a last night of comfort before setting off into heavy snow on our skis with our sledges this morning. There was anticipation within the team to finally be out there - but nerves too.
Iceland gave us great training conditions - heavy snow and building winds - as we reminded ourselves of how to get the tents up and down as efficiently as possible within our tent teams. We also remembered very quickly how it is to try and keep warm and the difficulties of moving together as a team. It was a slow start with lots of mishap - perhaps inevitable for our first day.
Our training goal was to pitch and strike (put up and down) the tents as often as possible today - and that we did. The winds made it challenging but the lessons of our previous training expedition soon came flooding back and a time of 10-15 minutes from halting on our skis to getting into the tent with the stove on is not bad....at least it is something we can work on.
Then the wind stopped and the Highlands revealed themselves. We pitched our tents for the night surrounded by distant peaks turning pink and mauve. A timely reminder of why we are all doing this!