Openreach take on Iceland trek for SSAFA

Openreach take on Iceland trek for SSAFA

17 August 2017

Openreach take on Iceland trek to raise money for SSAFA

Good luck to our corporate partner Openreach, who are setting off to Iceland on Saturday 19 August to take on a challenge for SSAFA.


For the next few days SSAFA’s James Davis is taking a group of adventurers from SSAFA's corporate partner Openreach across the Lava Fields of Iceland. Throwing in some of the most challenging terrain for 8-9 hours a day, this will be a huge test of stamina and endurance for all. Together they’ve raised almost £36,000 for the charity and there’s no doubt that they will push themselves just as hard on the challenge as they have during their fundraising. From Reykjavik to the stunning 60m waterfall of Skogarfoss, they will stand (and no doubt fall over!) together as team. The team are proud to be flying the SSAFA flag in Iceland to raise funds and awareness for our work.

 

Read on to see exactly how we got on… 

Day One

"So we made it to Iceland! 12 brave openreach souls, 1 SSAFA account manager and a discover adventure mountain leader who has already begun to whip us into shape. Today started early (at 4am for the Manchester guys) and we all met up at Heathrow proudly wearing SSAFA t-shirts. 

13 introductions, 1 flight and and 4 temporarily misplaced bags later we arrived in Keflavik airport to meet our local team guides Gunnar and Eythor who are going to take care of us for the next few days. With an awesome view across the harbour to the mountains we'll soon be conquering, we set off for Reykjavik. 
 
We've had our safety briefing and a brief chat about why we're here with some great stories about what the guys have achieved with their fundraising - the definite highlight of the day so far! The rest of the night will be getting to know each other before the trek begins in earnest tomorrow. 
 
We all cannot wait to get going, the trek starts tomorrow with a trek out to Thorsmork starting at nine and stopping overnight in the magical surroundings of Basar. So tonight it's a good night's sleep before the fun begins tomorrow."
 

Day Two

"Today was the day that our trek really got going and it's safe to say that there are some tired bodies now but we're buzzing to have started and cant wait for the hard yards tomorrow (honest!). 

We started by driving to one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, walking behind it and getting a good soaking for our pains but repaid 100 times over by the most spectacular views ever! To say nothing of the 2nd waterfall that was set into the cliff face at Seljalandsfoss. 
 
We then set on off on our acclimatisation walk of 3 hours around Thorsmork, giving us wonderful views from the vantage point of Valahnukar over the glaciers and peaks of southern Iceland. Huffing and puffing our way to the top we all stood in silence in awe of what we were seeing. For the Game of Thrones enthusiasts we also saw some filming locations, discovering a spoiler alert for the next episode from our leader who was one of the support crew! 
 
For tonight...the Northern lights hopefully at 12.30!! followed by a trek up the Cat's Spine ending in Fimmvorduhals tomorrow, with views including the lava fall formed by the 2010 eruption."
 
Day three 

Day 3 of our trek can be summarised in just two words. Spectacular and hard. Dealing with the spectacular first...

We started early, with a production line assembly for lunch, before we set up off at 8.30 and immediately started climbing up into the mountains at Basar. 

After 2 hours we reached the plateau of morinsheidi and were rewarded with stunning views back down the valley where we camped. Continuing on after lunch we completed a steep ascent up to a total height of 1040m hitting the snow line. We walked through actual lava fields looking down on some of the key spots from the 2010 eruptions. The scenery looks like something out of a natural world documentary and the glaciers really have to be seen in person to be believed.

So onto the hard...

Today was a punishing hard day with very steep ascents, walking through ice fields and biting cold to contend with. We're staying in a cramped hut, our luggage is stuck at the bottom of the hill as a grumpy farmer won't open a gate and the clouds are circling. 

And absolutely no one would change a thing. It's been an amazing trek with a great team and our final day tomorrow will be finishing at the waterfall of skogarfoss.

Day four 

I can't believe this is my last blog from the 2017 openreach Iceland lava trek. The last four days have been some of the hardest, most tiring, best and most rewarding days of my career. 

I'm not really sure where to start or finish with this. Should I talk about the 37 waterfalls we saw on the way down today? The northern lights that we saw shimmering green for an hour last night? How good our guides have been, Caroline from Discover Adventure, Eythor our local guide and Gunnar our driver?  The scenery is stunning, the people are friendly and the mountains are something else.

But I'm going to close with my participants, Iain, Ian, Phil, Adam, Dale, Ryan, Nick, Josh, Chris, Mat, Jason and Mike. A better group I could not have asked for, they've worked together to raise over £36,000 (and counting) and as a group they have conquered the lava trek. This is their achievement and I am proud of what they have done, for themselves and for SSAFA.

Here's to the next trip!

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