Wed 27 Jun - Sun 01 Jul 2018

In aid of Future Dreams

Future Dreams

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

ESSENTIAL INFO

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Typical day

Safety

Responsible Tourism

Flights

Visa

Insurance

Vaccinations

Climate & Terrain

Training

Training weekends

Luggage allowance and valuables

Leadership

Group Size

Clothing and equipment

Accommodation & Toilets

Food & Drink

Money

Phone and WiFi

Emergencies

Level of Difficulty

The Icelandic Lava Trek is graded as “tough”. This is a challenge that will test you both physically and mentally. It is for participants who are of an adventurous spirit and an open mind, but perhaps haven’t taken on a strenuous challenge event previously and are hoping to put themselves out of their comfort zone! 

You can tell your supporters that on your Icelandic Lava Trek you will be:

  • Trekking for around 7-10 hours per day.
  • Covering approximately 60km across 3 days of hiking, with the longest day being 24 km.
  • Battling the elements in the highlands of Iceland, as you may experience rain that lasts all day, blazing sunshine or snow and fog on top of the mountains
  • Taking on lots of steep hill climbs, particularly on the first day.
  • Putting up your own tent each night and dismantling it in the morning. You will also be helping to wash up after each meal, and making your sandwiches in the morning, in a more interactive camping experience!

Typical day

You will wake early in time to have breakfast and to make a packed lunch for the day ahead. Hiking will start around 8.30am. The number of hours spent hiking will depend on the weather conditions (which are extremely unpredictable) and the size and ability of the group. There will be plenty of refreshment stops, as well as visits to places of natural beauty and interest along the way. The first day is particularly tough, and most groups do not arrive in camp until late. In the evening you will arrive at camp and will be required to help set up your camp (erecting tents), before having dinner.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount.
In terms of your Icelandic Lava Trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The trails that you are on are not all accessible by vehicle, and as such emergency evacuation to a hospital may take upwards of  8 hours, depending on the location
  • The volcanoes in Iceland are volatile! Volcanic activity could be a possibility, which means that, in the worst case scenario, immediate evacuation may be necessary
  • This trip involves river crossings, which in some cases could be up to (but not over) the knee. Although we don't plan on anyone going swimming (except in the Blue Lagoon!)
  • You will pass small geothermal springs that are completely uncovered and part of the route. You should ensure that you don't go too close as the temperatures are over 100 degrees. The leader will brief you on this, but the bubbling water and steam should warn you!

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow Airport to Keflavik usually with Iceland Air. The flight will take approx 3 hours.  Your flight tickets will be issued to you on the day of departure at London Heathrow Airport. If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

Visa

UK Citizens do not require a visa to visit Iceland. You will however need your passport and it must be valid for at least six months from the end of your challenge. You may also be asked for proof of return in the form of your flight ticket.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge.

If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. 

The Charity Challenge team are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting, and as such it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Climate & Terrain

Climate

The climate in Iceland is very erratic. Winter ends in mid-June, and even up until mid-July there may still be some snow up on the mountains. It is not uncommon for one day of the trek to have glorious sunshine and highs of up to 15-17 degrees, and the next to be rainy and overcast. You should definitely come prepared for all weathers, and above all bring good quality raingear.

Terrain

This trek has a variety of challenging terrain for you to trek through from rough roads, dirt tracks, river crossings, steep hills and rugged lava fields. 

Training

A good level of fitness is definitely required! Anyone who leads an active and healthy lifestyle should be able to complete the challenge, as long as they train regularly over a period of three  months leading up to it. Although this is a short European trek, don’t be mistaken into thinking it is not challenging! The days are long, the terrain difficult, and you will be expected to get involved in setting up camp in the evenings. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training tips for the Icelandic Lava Trek:

  • Try to get out and do a practice walk in some of the mountains of the UK to familiarise yourself with walking on rugged terrain.
  • Do at least one walk of approximately 24km.
  • Carry a full daypack while training.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page here.

Luggage allowance and valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details on what to pack are provided in your Kit List. Your rucksack or holdall (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed 15kgs in weight. During the challenge, your bags will be transported by 4x4 vehicle. You will not have to carry your main bags.

Whilst we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Your passport and money should be kept on you at all times.

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support guides and staff to assist them. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be a minimum of 16 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 30 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We can run this trip with groups of 11-15 people, but there will be a small group supplement of £75. This is payable by your charity if you book under the minimum sponsorship or flexi options, and by yourself if you are a self-funder. If a small group supplement is necessary, we will notify you 12 weeks before departure.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For your challenge, we recommend technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts, as well as good quality waterproof jackets and trousers. We cannot stress enough how erratic the weather is in Iceland, and good waterproofs are essential. It's also a good idea to have a liner for your rucksack, or even a plastic bag to go around it while trekking. This will help to protect your belongings. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners Outdoor Hire, Cotswold Outdoor and Cycle Surgery.

Accommodation & Toilets

Accommodation

During the challenge, your accommodation will be in two-man tents and on the last night in hostel or guesthouse accommodation (twin rooms).  At camp sites you will be expected to pitch in and set up your tents as part of your challenge. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Toilets

You will have clean toilets and good washing facilities on all campsites. At Landmannalaugar, Álftavatn and Emstrur, there are toilets and coin-operated showers (about ISK500 for 5 minutes).  Toilet paper is provided, but you may want to bring your own supply to use during the day.

Food & Drink

The food will be basic but very filling and nutritious. Breakfast will consist of porridge, cereal and tea/coffee.  Lunch will be a ‘make your own’ packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and cereal bars that you will carry with you. Dinner will be soup followed by meat/fish and pasta/rice, and a dessert. Coffee, tea and soup will be supplied throughout and plenty of drinking water will be available to keep you hydrated. You might want to bring some extra snacks, such as energy bars, nutrigrains, dried fruits etc. There is nowhere to buy food or alcohol at any point during the trek, so please come prepared if you would like anything over and above the food provided! Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Money

Currency: Icelandic Krona. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com.

Credit cards: Most major Credit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland, although Mastercard and Visa are most common. American Express cards are not widely accepted. You will not be able to use your cards at all during the trek until you arrive at Reykjavik, so ensure that you have enough cash available.

Spending money: You will not need to carry a large amount of money during this trip. We recommend that you change your pounds into Krona in England before you go, and that you carry a sufficient amount of cash with you during the trek, as the banks/exchange offices may also be closed by the time you return to Reykjavik. 

Tips: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. GBP£5 / 3000 Krona per participant per trekking day and this should be given to the challenge leader at the end of the challenge who will distribute it amongst the local support team.

Phone and WiFi

WiFi is prevalent in Reykjavik, and when you are in the hotel at the end of your challenge you will have access to this. However, during the trip you will be in remote campsites away from any internet. Phone signal is also sporadic, but you should be able to get some, although it will come in and out of range. There is no opportunity to recharge any electrical equipment during the trek, but if you want to bring a solar charger these work quite well to charge phones. There will be a refreshment stop on the way to Landmannalaugar where you can buy batteries/films etc but this will be the last chance before the trek begins. We recommend you stock up on anything you need before leaving England.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large difference in people’s walking ability. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. If we find somebody is unable to walk at all, then we can transport him or her from one location to the next with the help of our staff. Throughout the challenge back-up support will be close by. We will try to maintain radio contact with the main camp and may also carry a satellite telephone for emergencies.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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