Adventure in Icelands Westfjords

‘Oh, it looks like there has been a small avalanche here.’ Óli, our guide, peers out of the bus window. ‘Yes, just a few hours ago.’ We’re in remote northwestern Iceland, driving to Dynjandi waterfall via Rte 60, a rutted road that winds around the Westfjords’ highest mountain, Kaldbakur (998m). Nature is calling the shots.

Burly and bright-blue-eyed with a matching bandana wrapped around his head, Óli is also a local physio, firefighter and paramedic. Despite the adrenaline rush, I’ve never felt safer. The Westfjords is the least-visited part of Iceland, wonderfully wild, largely uninhabited and relatively inaccessible, and the exhilarating rush of stepping outside your comfort zone cannot be underestimated.

Óli alights from the bus into a wind that blows the elastic band right out of my hair. We’re on our way from the fishing village of Suðureyri, and the stretch we’re on has recently re-opened; it’s closed for six to eight months of the year. After assessing the road, our snow whisperer gives us the all-clear to continue: ‘I will call my colleague. He will clear the road for us on our way back.’ I remember my heart pounding on this precarious yet stunning route on my first visit to Iceland in 2009. ‘Driving around the Westfjords is not for the faint-hearted’ began my travel diary from that trip, one that I’ve recommended to everyone since.

An hour or so of riveting road trip later – the bus twists and turns up and down the soaring mountains, round and round paintbox-blue fjords – we arrive at Dynjandisvogur. The wind abruptly vanishes and as we take the 15-minute walk from the car park up to the mighty Dynjandiwaterfall, I’m torn between which is the better view: the falls themselves or the perspective back down the 100m rocky escarpment to the bright blue waters of the bay below. Encouraged by Óli (‘this is solid rock, it’s safe, it does not move’), my dilemma is solved: I let him hold me at the waterfall’s edge while I take a photo of the falls cascading down to the sea.