The trail is situated in the Westfjords, an area renowned for its wildness and remoteness, even by Icelandic standards. Natural wonders abound here, as does the generosity of the local people. Our vision is to create hiking experiences that bring benefit to ecology, community and individuals.
To achieve this, we are working in partnership with environmental organisations to gain funding for conservation projects, developing opportunities for artists and youth groups to experience the trail and have developed a conservation & restoration arm to our project, all details here: Wildfjords Restoration. We are also working closely with Responsible Travel to promote our trail, and who have also helped shape our responsible travel policy; see below for details.
We are partnering with an initiative to create a new National Park at Látrabjarg - a stunning section of sea cliff that is home to millions of sea birds every spring. We are supporting the mapping and restoration of ancient cairns which will limit the impact visitors have on the area whilst also keeping people safe.
The trail will immerse you in wildness and you can expect to engage with the land and seascape in completely new and deeply fulfilling ways. You will be introduced to the arts of foraging, storytelling and ecological awareness, facilitated by our dedicated trail leaders.
The trail aims to nurture responsible tourism in the region. Through its careful design, the trail will have visitors support the people and services that are helping maintain the cultural and ecological integrity of the Westfjords.
Our Responsible Travel Policy
Our Company’s Ethos
Through offering unique adventures in wild places, we equip guests with new environmental skills and perspectives and which allow a deepening of one’s personal relationship to nature. This increased awareness and enjoyment of nature can become a great source of personal inspiration and creativity, and which often results in feelings of empathy and responsibility for our wider, shared ecology.
Economic Responsibility Policy
The trail is located in a region of Iceland that has been in slow but steady economic decline for the past 30 years. Many farmers and fisherman have abandoned their farms and centralised their boats. This has left a few isolated individuals and communities and a lot of wild space! Our trails are carefully designed to integrate these remaining locals through employing them to provide campsites, food, services and local products. Logistically, in 2014, we made use of 25 different local service providers to complete our trails. Our project is financially backed by the region’s development agency and a national innovation centre of excellence. Wildfjords also has a charitable arm, called Wildfjords Restoration, which is supported with grants applied for by the Wildfjords team.
Environmental Responsibility Policy
Our trail adventures are designed to deepen a person’s relationship with nature, with the understanding that an emotional an emotional connection with nature gives rise to feelings of personal responsibility for our shared ecology. We achieve this by teaching foraging skills and conducting storytelling and creative activities.
We practice a complete no-trace policy on all our trips, taking all rubbish and toilet paper away with us, and recycling all plastics, metals and glass. We are careful to instruct people not to foul water courses with soaps and solids and use biodegradable soap at all times. Our walking routes are carefully selected to minimise impact on often fragile flora and we only make fires where it is permitted.
All food is locally sourced where possible, and reflects Iceland’s rich maritime and farming heritage. Our service providers are also chosen based on their approach to sustainability. We are passionate about nature and aim to share that passion with our guests.
Social Responsibility Policy
Wildfjords aims to bring travellers to the region through creation of a guided long-distance hiking trail. This is an initiative that is supported by the region’s University Centre and by the aforementioned financial grants. We are working with local partners to create a trail that reflects the region’s unique character and values and supports the development of genuine eco-tourism products. Within this approach is recognition that the visitor has an equal impact on local people as do local people on the visitor. By carefully selecting who and how we work with people, we ensure that the soul of the interaction is preserved, and an authenticity is offered to both visitor and local.
As an example, Wildfjords runs an Artist Residency, which offers an opportunity for artists to walk and make work in response to their experiences. In this process, locals gain new perspectives of their environment through viewing and being collaborative participants in the artists’ work. We’re also careful to support local people for whom the extra income is particularly needed e.g. remote farmers. It is also an excellent opportunity to experience rural Icelandic life for our guests.
What’s the story behind Wildfjords?
Wildfjords was dreamed up by Henry Fletcher, Tanja Geis and the wider Westfjords' community. Henry is an international wilderness guide for whom nature is a constant source of inspiration, creativity, challenge, sensory richness and spirituality. Through the trail, Wildfjords aims to facilitate an ecological awareness in guests which can inform their creative projects and supports the development of traditional holistic skills such as foraging, storytelling and walking.