The tourist guidebook eulogised about one restaurant, and, in particular, its delicious dish of tenderloin of horse. The one we ate in served whale steaks and smoked puffin. For many reasons, Iceland really is unlike any other country.
Although politically part of Europe, it’s geographically joined to America as well, sitting on the mid-Atlantic ridge that divides both continental tectonic plates. It is wild, beautiful and, as any air passenger will know, courtesy of the eruption earlier this year, volcanic. Three years ago, before the banking crash, Iceland ranked as the most developed country in the world. Now, it has wonderful houses, big cars and no money.
We were there to fish for salmon, which are highly prized and revered by the locals. Icelanders take a no-nonsense approach to the salmon’s enemies: seals and gulls are shot and salmon farms are banned.
The result is salmon by the million. On the East Ranga River, where we fished thanks to Roxtons Field Sports, 18 rods caught 181 salmon on a single day. The fact that half these fishermen were Scottish tells its own sorry story of what has happened to the king of fish in that country where, in recent times, the odds have been stacked against rather than for the mighty fish.