The following text is a press release for the publication of the book.
Historic trails criss-cross the mountains and valleys of the Westfjords; but these once vital veins between fishing and farming communities nowadays rarely receive any footfall. Wilderness trip leaders Henry Fletcher and Jay Simpson aim to change this by encouraging tourists to walk the many trails of the Westfjords and thereby gain access to the incredible ecology and cultural history of Iceland.
Based on a decade of experience, they are publishing a four-part creative guidebook series, Walking & Wayfinding in the Westfjords, which is the first dual-language guidebooks specific to the region, available in both English and Icelandic.
Walking and Wayfinding in the Westfjords and its companions—Notes on Ecology, Notes on Walking and the Westfjords Trails Map—document historic walking and herding routes between the region capital city of Ísafjörður and the puffin- inhabited cliffs of Látrabjarg.
The collection also features information on local ecology, culture and history paired with creative practices that invite a deeper relationship to nature.
“The stories, trails and wayfinding practices featured were gathered over the last decade of travel while walking and facilitating conservation camps and artists’ residencies in the Westfjords,” says Henry Fletcher. “The guide is a culmination of sorts and offers a vision for responsible travel and sustainable trails redevelopment in the Westfjords.”
“Travelers looking to get outside for potentially the first time since the start of the pandemic will be well equipped to find new ways to connect to place, travel and nature,” says Jay Simpson, co-author. “The lockdowns helped us take the extra time to finish these books and maps. Now that people are looking to travel again, I hope they see wild landscapes through new eyes and appreciate how important our relationship to nature really is.”
A Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Walking & Wayfinding in the Westfjords ran until July 23rd and raised its initial goal of £14,000. You will be able to preorder the book soon, for more information and news about that, visit https://wayfinding.guide
Among other international collaborators, the publication features the biological illustrations of Jón Baldur Hlíðberg (Reykjavík, Iceland) and book design by Bonnie Briant (New York City, New York, USA).
The Walking & Wayfinding in the Westfjords project is supported by University of Iceland, Uppbyggingarsjóður Vestfjarða (Westfjords Development Fund), Ocean Ambassadors, World Trails Network, European Outdoor Conservation Association and others.
About the authors:
Henry Fletcher (M.S. Coastal and Marine Management, University Centre of the Westfjords in Iceland) is a facilitator, storyteller and guide across different ecological zones: mountains, farmland and the ocean. Henry is an Ocean Ambassador, an organizer of the World Trails Film Festival and recently completed dry stone work titled the Coralline Cairn in Suffolk, UK.
Jay Simpson (M.A. New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Studies 2021, Thesis: Coyotes, Urban Naturecultures, and Feral Cohabitation in the Anthropocene) is a National Geographic Explorer, wilderness guide, multimedia producer and anthropologist. His research blends ethnographic filmmaking, critical making and queer ecology to enquire into relationships with wildlife and landscapes. He is a founding organizer of the Walking Collective and lead producer of its podcast.