Bustarfell is a cute little old farm with a collection of small houses, the tops covered in turf. When I arrived I noticed a load of bits and pieces at the front, and a man soon appeared telling me I was an hour too early, as he was clearing all the stuff away. I didn't want to hang around an hour to get a better shot, so just took a few photos before heading on. One of the houses was open as a museum during the peak season, but obviously it was closed now it was "winter" here. Another had no turf, which rather spoiled the effect!
I drove on, stopping at the side of the road as I noticed a gyrfalcon with a small rodent near the roadside. It flew away from me as soon as I stopped, but it was still thrilling to see it.
I was able to take the route 920 back down to the 85, so as not to have to backtrack to Vopnafjörður. I rejoined the main road and headed back towards the ring-road for my rather annoying diversion. Before I reached the ring-road I saw my first (and only) reindeers - a herd grazing down in a river valley. I guess they hang out in the hills during the summer and autumn and only head down in winter. I've seen plenty in the south-east on my winter journeys.
I joined the ring-road, driving a little of it that I'd missed on my way north, as I'd taken the side road to Moðrudalur. One point was a little nerve-racking, with a large drop on the far side of the road over a canyon. It was quite spectacular, in spite of the greyness. I eventually passed the waterfall (Ysti-Rjúkandi) that I'd stopped at on the way - the car-park was packed. My next stop was after the bridge across the river, before I needed to turn east towards the coast again. There was a striking bridge above a beautiful canyon, with strange clouds above to the east (and even a patch of blue sky!).
I drove a little further and stopped to photograph a few horses, pretty much the first I'd photographed all trip. They are much friendlier in the winter, when they almost always approach for a stroke (probably wanting food). I was rather transfixed by the way two of them lay on the ground, with their legs all tucked in, similar to the way my cocker spaniel often sleeps. Others just stood there, looking as if they were just contemplating the view.
I reached the top of the pass, after passing a small lake, and soon came out from beneath the low cloud to get a view down to the Njarðvík and the fjord below, the road snaking downhill towards it. I kept stopping to take photos as the road was just so cool!
Njarðvík. The next stretch was an interesting one that I'd seen some photos of and was a little apprehensive about. The road winds in a series of endless twists along a scree slope and it looked a bit like the scary road east of Hvalnes. It turned out not to be scary at all, since it wasn't very high above the sea, the road was wide and there hadn't been a recent avalanche to worry me. It was a particularly ugly stretch.
The winding bit soon ended and the road turned towards the town of Borgarförður-Eystri, my destination for the night and the following day. I drove past the guesthouse and continued on around the bay to explore a little before the light disappeared. It was raining hard and was really quite miserable. I drove past a small waterfall that fell on to the beach, just before a little harbour area, which apparently has great birdlife in summer (including puffins, although they were long gone). I parked at the harbour and took a few shots, the rain pelting at me.
I checked in to the Blabjörg guesthouse, where I had a lovely room overlooking the shore, with the waves crashing over some rocks. Later on I headed out to eat at the Álfacafé, having a couple of bowls of tasty fish soup. I didn't stay around but went back to my room for the usual beer + Skype + reviewing of photos. The northern lights forecast was still crazy, but there was not a single break in the cloud tonight, so no point worrying myself about it. I had an early night, hoping the cloud might lift in the morning so I'd be able to do the Stórurð hike, listening to the waves outside as I nodded off. The forecast wasn't promising, but you never know with Icelandic weather...
Click here for my Day 6 blog: a fantastic drive around the north-east Iceland coast
Click here for my Day 8 blog: Hengifoss again