1000 Miles FAQ: The Adventure
1000 miles solo: faq’s about the adventure
What’s the adventure?
To walk 1000 miles round Iceland, pulling my kit and camping all the way.
How long will it take?
Around 3 months.
When are you going?
You’ve attempted this before, haven’t you?
I have. I postponed my first attempt (2016) five days before I was due to fly, when Dave was diagnosed with cancer. My second attempt (2017) was aborted after a freak accident not far into my expedition damaged my trolley. I was due to try again in 2020 but had to postpone as I wasn’t fully recovered from my nervous breakdown. 2021 will be my second physical attempt and my fourth attempt overall.
I’ve no idea – it just came to me in a dream. I’d recently come back from Iceland, so it could be that.
Has anyone done this before?
I can find only one person who’s known to have walked 1000 miles in Iceland (Rosie Swale-Pope, an adventurer who’s done so many expeditions that ‘walked 1000 miles across Iceland’ is a mere sentence on her list of achievements!). Route 1 Car Rental, who sponsored me on my first trip to Iceland, told me they remember a man walking round Iceland in the 1980’s but I can’t find any information on him. Perhaps others have done it – who knows? Plenty of people have walked across Iceland’s interior but not round the outside.
How many miles will you walk per day?
An average of 12 or 13. The longest day will be 24 miles and the shortest will be 5 miles. I’ve based my route around where I can find water and where I can safely camp.
How many hours will you walk per day?
I imagine anywhere between 5 and 8 hours on average. It depends on my energy levels and how things ‘flow’ day to day; some days I’ll be naturally slower, some faster. Some days might be up to 12 hours depending on hills. As the weeks go on my fitness and endurance are likely to change so I may cover more distance in less hours. I’m pretty good at walking for long periods of time – what I’m not good at is walking fast. I’m more of a plodder.
What will you think about as you walk?
I imagine I’ll be thinking about the scenery, getting to the top of the next hill, what I need to buy food-wise, how much water I have and where the next water source is.
Aren’t you scared of being alone with your own thoughts for so long?
Not scared, no, but I do expect to go through a whole load of emotions.
How many hours will you spend in your tent per day?
Again it’ll vary but the vast majority of time will be spent in my tent – probably an average of 15 hours a day. That’s why I’ve chosen a tent that allows me to sit up on my haunches and to stretch out comfortably with plenty of room to spare.
How will you spend time in your tent?
Writing my book, organising my kit, making videos, eating, chatting to Dave, taking photographs, planning short films for talks, hydrating, listening to music, writing blog posts, staring at the scenery, resting, watching films and sleeping.
How have you planned your route?
I’ve used Google’s street view to plan wild camping spots, plot water sources, find campsites, pinpoint food shops and to work out daily walking distances.
Are you going to be at sea level?
Yes in the main but there are a few mountain passes to cross. Dragging my kit means that uphill stretches will slow me down considerably, so I’ve had to take this into account. The undulation of the terrain means that by the time I cross the 1000-miles mark I’ll have ascended over 32,000 feet and descended the same (that’s like climbing to 3000 feet higher than Mt. Everest from sea level and back down again). Some days will be tough because there are lots of hills, some days will be easy because they’re along the flat and a handful of days will be a joy because they’re downhill (for example there’s one day when, after a couple of days spent walking up one side of a mountain, I’ll be walking down the other side for 17 miles straight!).
Why are you using the same kind of trolley that let you down last time?
The trolley didn’t let me down, I had a freak accident – something that’s extremely unlikely to happen again. The trolley itself is outstanding and I have every confidence in it. Plus it’s the only one I can afford 😀
Do you know where you’re going to be camping?
Yes, I’ve plotted my route down to the metre and know exactly where I’ll be camping. Of course things are likely to change when I’m out there (weather, injury, fatigue etc.) but I’ll be doing a combination of wild camping and staying on campsites.
How many nights will you be wild camping?
How many nights will you be on campsites?
Will you have rest days?
I have about 10 rest days to play with but will only use them when I really need to. In theory I could take a rest day every 8 or 9 days.
Where is Iceland?
Iceland is a remote, volcanic island that sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the North Atlantic Ocean. It lies just below the Arctic Circle between 64 and 66 degrees north, located between Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
How big is it?
Around 39,770 square miles or 103,000 square kilometres.
How many people live there?
Roughly 340,000. Two thirds of its population live in the capital, Reykjavik, while one third live in mainly coastal towns and villages. The second largest city, Akureyri, has a population of just under 19,000. The interior is uninhabited.
What kind of climate does it have?
A relatively mild climate compared to other countries that share its latitude, because of the Gulf Stream. That said, the weather can be extreme and is renowned for being changeable – wind, rain and snow play a big part, though summer days can be warm. The average temperature in winter is around 0C (32F) and the average temperature in summer is around 12C (54F).
How safe is it?
Iceland is easily one of the world’s safest countries when it comes to crime rates.