We woke up on the beach at Látrbjarg to another cold, wet and gloomy day. Knowing that we had a long and painful drive on a gravel road full of giant potholes we decided to make a quick exit. This was the first time we'd woken up with actual toilets in such close proximity and we didn't even get to take advantage of them and they were free (the small things).
As always the return journey didn't seem as long or half as bad as we remembered it. So when we reached the fork in the road where you could head off to the red beach at Rauðisandur we thought "feck it, whats another 10km on this gravel rubbish?". The drive was steep and windy and had some quite long drops but we reached the beach in good time. We'd heard that there was a nice cafe here so that gave us the extra motivation to get there. Unfortunately we arrived and there was no cafe in sight. Jason didn't even think that the sand looked red.'Its just another normal beach". Being the optimist that I am I kept telling him that it was definitely red and that it doesn't look like every other beach. I totally felt like Arnie in Total Recall wondering around on another planet.
Searching for the red beach we followed a sign that showed there was a 1.5km walk heading out to sea. It was cold and blustery, the wind chilled you to the bone, but when the sun peaked through the clouds to say hello it was lovely and warm. Before reaching the end of the walk we decided to cut across to the beach. Sure enough the sand was red, it was amazing to see. "ah now I see it" said Jason. There was a really cool marble affect going on. In the distance you could see the reflection of the black painted church we had parked nearby. After a few photos we decided to return back to the van to get warm.
We had to leave the way we came in so off we headed back up the steep road. Now don't be fooled by the 10km distance or in fact by Google Maps, on these roads that distance easily takes triple the time you are used to unless you are in a 4x4. The rest of this day was pretty much a right off due to the distance we had to drive to reach the west peninsula, the road conditions and the weather. I had read before we left the UK that if any of the wind readings were 20 or above that you should consider not driving. The wind readings were above 20 but we decided to continue. We were driving on top of the mountain ridges, the wind was howling and the van was rocking. Big gusts of wind would move the van, with both me a Jason grimacing and looking at each other with each wobble.
To try break up the drive we decided to head for a dip in a hot spring at Reykholar, it meant coming off of the main road and going out of our way by about 30 minutes but we figured it would be worth it. Dipping our aching bodies into the steaming hot water was seeming like such an amazing idea after all the driving. Signs to the town showed they had hot springs and that they even had the extra hot ones there. We drove all over the little town trying to find one but there was none. They were all shut down for the season and we couldn't find the natural source anywhere, "no room at the inn". It felt like a biblical scene. This was so disheartening as we were really looking forward to a break from driving. It was now 3pm in the afternoon and apart from a visit to the red beach we'd not really seen or had anything else to break up the day. We still had another 2 hours and 30 minutes of driving to do so we got straight back on the road. We tried to play a few car games to help time pass and to keep us present. We were also both secretly hoping that there would be no more gravel roads. It's really hard to explain how awful they were and how much longer the driving took.
We'd been on the road since 8.30am and it was now 7.30pm. When we had set off in the morning I'd really hoped that we could see Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall, the journey was taking us so long that this was not looking likely. Both of us were feeling way too exhausted to even talk let alone go see something. I just really didn't want our whole day to have been wasted on driving and seeing nothing. Anyway as it happens we ended up sleeping right in front of Kirkjufell mountain, so I got my wish and more. I was on dinner duty that night and I had definitely drawn the short straw because this was by far the coldest it had been. I made boiled eggs and these ended up being absolute lifesavers as hand warmers, you can expect to see them forsale by JML very soon. Due to being so tired and cold we didn't have it in us to go take some beautiful photos of Kirkjufell Mountain, which looking back seems a shame but these things happen.