Adventurer of the Week: Ryan Smells Iceland!

06. April 2017
Shape Ryan Leith
Climbing Hrútsfjallstindar

Ryan smelled the sulphur from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption from 2010 all the way from his home in Lerwick, Shetland (follow the link to see where that is!) This is our newest Adventurer of the Week!

Of course, Iceland was calling him, and he answered the call! 

Shape Ryan Leith
Climbing Hrútsfjallstindar

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

I have always wanted to visit Iceland. During the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 I could smell the Sulphur from outside my house in Lerwick, Shetland. The following day my car was coated in dust from the ash cloud. This brought home how close Iceland was, and how we could be affected by a future, major volcanic eruption.

After our first trek we decided to return and wanted a bit more of a challenge. The Three Peaks was all that and more!


How long was your stay? Did you travel solo or with a group?

I have visited Iceland twice with my wife, Sara, in 2012 and 2016. Both trips were around ten days. We organized our travel to Reykjavik then joined up with the other people on the tours, both run by Icelandic Mountain Guides.

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

In 2012 we trekked from Landmannalaugar to Skógar and last year we completed the Three Peaks Challenge. Both tours were excellent. After our first trek we decided to return and wanted a bit more of a challenge. The Three Peaks was all that and more! 

Shape Ryan Leith
Storkunafell, South Iceland

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

The 8.5 hour ascent of Hrútsfjallstindar. A challenging climb over varied terrain, through the clouds to the summit, which was clear and the Sun was shining. Many thanks to Jòn Yngvi Gylfason, our excellent guide!   

What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

I was very pleased to learn that there are no biting insects in Iceland. In Shetland, and Scotland, we are plagued by midges during the summer if the weather is calm.

Shape Ryan Leith
Ice bank on volcano Hekla, Iceland

If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

I would like to attempt the Iceland Traverse from coast to coast. Organising enough time off work would be as challenging as the trek, as it takes 32 days!

What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

Ensure your boots, waterproof jacket and trousers are up to the job. During our first trip we experienced blizzard conditions in the Highlands not far from Landmannalaugur. This added to the challenge but I was pleased I had the right gear for the conditions. 

Shape Ryan Leith

What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure? 

We are going to Torridon in Scotland to climb some mountains and ridges in May. I also enjoy open water swimming. I have a few ideas for some challenging swims between the islands here in Shetland. Arctic Norway, Svalbard, Greenland and Patagonia are all on the list and, of course, another trip to Iceland!

Ryan’s adventure is only one of the many features that make for an unforgettable experience. Book your tour and join us for an excursion that is guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime.  

Have you been on a tour with us in Iceland and would like to be featured as an “Adventurer of the Week”? Feel free to email us at [email protected].

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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