Ice to See You

The Hringvegurinn expedition has finished!

A couple of months ago, history students Chase Caldwell Smith and Kate Ellison bravely set out to cycle 1332km around the edge of Iceland. This wasn’t a leisurely ride, as the route included lots of busy, icy, mountainous roads and they had to deal with unpredictable, tempestuous weather. This was such a big deal that it was designated an official expedition of the University of Cambridge.

But despite this ridiculous amount of danger, they managed to make it back in one piece! Chase himself was as surprised as anyone about this. “It's hilarious that we didn't die,” he reflected. “But also fortunate!”

We're hugely impressed with Chase and Kate's amazing achievement, and even more impressed that they've managed to raise a stunning £1004.03 including Gift Aid!

The two of them have got up to lots of exciting adventures since we last updated you on their progress.

When we wrote our last article on Thursday 29th July the dynamic duo were at the small community of Holar. Despite being plagued by multiple setbacks and unforeseen complications they had managed to cycle an unbelievable 160km. This is the route they had travelled up to that point:

By the next evening, on Friday 30th July, they'd made it to the seaside town of Siglufjordur.

On 31st July they passed through the town of Olafsfjordur and made it to the village of Dalvik.

On 1st August they kicked off the new month by popping over to the island of Grimsey, the  northernmost inhabited Icelandic territory and part of the Arctic Circle!

By Monday 2nd August the pair had reached Akureyri. Unfortunately Chase had managed to incur a punctured tire (though with the amount they were cycling we're not surprised!) Not to let that deter them, however, they got it fixed and carried on with the journey. And they even managed to find some time for a little childish fun!

Over the next week Chase and Kate travelled through the beautiful Myvatn region, with awe-inspiring sights such as majestic waterfalls, hissing lava pits and, best of all, the cave from Game of Thrones!

By Tuesday 9th August they'd made it to the Eastern village of (deep breath!) Stodvafjordur... but not before a non-stop 73km cycle!

Over the next week they passed through beautiful locales such as the fishing village of Hofn and the stunning Skaftafell National Park.

It wasn't all pretty sights, however. Towards the end of their journey they had to deal with a fair share of unpleasant experiences too, such as three days of uninterrupted rain...

But said rain failed to dampen the spirits, and on Monday 22nd August, with two pairs of exhausted legs Chase and Kate finally made it back to the warm, comforting finish line at Reykjavik.

Their journey finally through, Chase and Kate had some well-deserved rest. According to Chase, they "went and soaked in some hot pots" in Reykjavik, which he considered "crucial for the weary muscles".

This is a rough map of the journey they managed to complete:

Weeks later, Chase admitted that he misses the trip. "It feels a bit unreal!" he said. "It's so odd how domestic the UK feels in comparison".

Thank you so much to both Chase and Kate, along with all of their supporters, for this amazing feat. And congratulations! We're sure you both had an absolute life-changing experience, but that's nothing compared to the changes that your awareness-raising and £1000 of donations will make to the lives of people living with OCD.

So visit their JustGiving page and donate to show them what an incredible job they've done!

Are you inspired by what you've just read? Want to take on your own expedition? Or maybe do your own fundraising activity on a smaller scale or in a less physical way? Just get in touch with me at charlie@ocdaction.org.uk. I'd love to hear your ideas!

But for now...