Hay cart trips to Ingólfshöfði Nature Reserve
Sat 08.Aug'20 10:15
Cape Ingolfshofdi is an isolated headland on the coast half way between Skaftafell in Vatnajokull National Park and Jökulsárlón ice lagoon. This historical nature reserve is home of thousands of nesting seabirds, like puffins and great skuas. The cape is named after the first settler of Iceland, Ingolfur Arnarson, who spent his first winter in Iceland there in the year 874 AD.
To get to Ingólfshöfði we cross 6 km of waters, marshes and sands in a tractor-drawn hay cart. The drive takes about 25-30 minutes each way, so we spend about 1 and 1/2 hour hiking around the cape. The circle we hike around the nature reserve is 2-3 km long. In the beginning we need to walk up a steep sand slope, but then it gets more easy, mostly hiking on flat grass land and we make many stops along the way. We don’t recommend that people participate in this trip unless they can do this hike.
Duration about 2 1/2 hours
A ride on tractor drawn hay cart to the base of the cape, and then guided 2-3 km walk to learn history, enjoy the views and nature, and see the birds. The tour is conducted by a local person from the farms in the vicinity.
What do I need to bring?
Be careful to bring good outdoor clothing for this trip, the area is exposed to winds and rain, and sometimes sand storms. Perfect trip to try out your waterproof outfit and gloves and hats in those conditions, but on the other hand, sometimes it is possible to wear shorts and t-shirts on the trip. The Icelandic weather is included in the Ingólfshöfði Puffin Tour. We do not provide protective cloths, so if you book in advance be careful to be equipped for any kind of weather, since we will not cancel the tour unless there are very strong winds. Rain and some wind is fine, and the puffins like that kind of weather anyway.
Don’t hesitate to bring camera gear, binoculars or spotting scope. But be careful if the dry wind is blowing sand or volcanic ash, to keep the equipment in your bag on the way to the cape.
Meeting point for the tour is Ingólfshöfði Check In Hut just south of the Ingólfshöfði Parking. The parking is 2 km south of the main road between farms Hofsnes and Fagurhólsmýri. The road is marked Ingólfshöfði and there is also a big puffin picture on a sign saying Puffin Tour, next to the main road. GPS position (in Hd.d° WGS 84) is 63.879167 and -16.659000. Please check in 15 minutes before departure. GSM: 8940894 – More info on www.puffintour.is
Note!. If you are travelling with children younger than 4 years old you can still do the trip if the weather is OK, but we recommend not to book in advance since we will go in any kind of weather. Just book when you see that the weather forecast is OK for the day you want to go. Same goes if you quite old or fragile, and not equipped for heavy rain and cold conditions.
Words from Einar, founder and manager of Öræfaferðir
My name is Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson and I manage the travel service FromCoastToMountains (In Icelandic the company is called “ÖRÆFAFERÐIR – frá fjöru til fjalla (Frá fjöru til fjalla means From Coast To Mountains).
We live on the farm Hofsnes in the county Öræfi, but Öræfi has been the residence of my family since the settlement of Iceland around the year 900 AD.
I’m proud of my great grandfather Páll Jónsson in Svínafell who in 1891 was the first person in the world to climb Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, when he and Þorlákur Þorláksson, also from Svínafell in Öræfi, guided the British traveller Frederick W. Howell to the top. My great grandfather Páll went at least couple of times to the top of Hvannadalshnúkur after this, for example guiding the Danish soldiers that made maps of Iceland aorund 1904. I would say that this makes my great grandfather the first mountain guide in Iceland 🙂
It were also my relatives who were the first to climb to the main top crater in 1800 meters altituide of the volcano Oraefajokull as early as 1794 (guiding Sveinn Pálsson, and 1813 guiding Hans Frisak from Norway).
Of course I’m also very proud of my father. My father Sigurður Bjarnason started to do a bird watching and history trip to Ingólfshöfði in 1991, when he gave up sheep farming and found a new use for his hay cart. In the spring 1994 I started to guide people up to the top of Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur. Now I have been 297 times on the top of Hvannadalshnúkur which is a world record.
Since 2000 when I married Matthildur Unnur (or Matta) she and me have been doing more and more of the trips to Ingólfshöfði, and at the same time my father has been retiring. He is born 1932 so he deserves to take it easy. I’m actually the oldest (in working years) mountain guide of the country. I’m born in 1968, but I started to offer mountain guiding in spring 1994 (wich makes my company the oldest mountain guiding company in the country 🙂
And of course I’m extra proud of our oldest son Aron Franklín (born 1991) how was helping me and Matta doing the trips for several years and his fiancée Helen María Björnsdóttir has also been doing the trips with us since fall 2013. Now Aron and Helen have founded a younger branch of the family company called Local Guide of Vatnajökull.
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Joachim RGreat for kids and adults!
We did the tour today with our two boys’s (12 &14 years) and they loved it and so did we.
The fun starts with the tractor ride through the lagoon which is fun in itself. Arriving on the island you have to walk up the sand dune to the top of the cliffs. The walk up over the sand is relative strenuous, but you can take as much time as you want. Once up, you are rewarded with a great view of the surrounding area including the glacier if the weather play’s along. Our guide pointed out the history of the place and got us to the cliff’s where we saw puffins and plenty of Skua’s. We can really recommend this for the whole family! Thanks you for a great time.
Georgia_RGWonderful puffin tour!
We had a fantastic time on the Ingólfshöfði Puffin Tour. It was very exciting and unique experience to travel to the island via a tractor!
There is a short walk up the hill but if I could do it then it can’t have been too hard! Our guide was fantastic and worked hard to find us some puffins. He also pointed out a whale that was swimming below which was amazing!
FunTravel43A great Puffin Tour
Taking a ride in a tractor to Cape Ingólfshöfði was a big part of the fun.
But walking around the cape and seeing all the puffins about 2 feet away was a wonderful experience. What a beautiful bird. And having a great tourguide did the rest.
Tawnee KUnbelievably awesome tour! We must have seen a thousand puffins!!
We drove on a huge tractor-pulled wagon out to an ‘island’ where there were thousands of puffins. It was calm, relaxed, and breathtaking. I can’t believe how close we were to these cute creatures.