Latrabjarg in Iceland is the most westerly point of the country. Any further west and you'd be treading water in the Atlantic Ocean. Latrabjarg is a dramatic landscape of precipitous cliffs that's famous for its bird life. The cliffs offer the birds security from preditors and a nice close spot to the ocean, where they get their food.
Latrabjarg is a particularly good place to see puffins. With time and patience, you can get a really good view of the little birds.
The car park at Latrabjarg can get quite busy. There were a couple of large coaches parked up when I visited. From the car park it's just a short uphill walk to the cliffs where the puffins gather.
Crouch down, stay still and the puffins won't be too bothered by your presence. But, of course, there may be other people visiting too, and you may need to be more patient with them than with the puffins. The cliffs go on for miles, so as you walk further from the car park, you're also likely to walk further from most other visitors.
The puffins are fast moving, solid little chunks of black and white with triangular eyes, colourful beaks and slightly comic personas. They strut around, looking slightly uncomfortable, and then, with barely a moments thought, launch themselves off the top of the cliff and swoop down towards the sea below. It looks like they're having a lot of fun!
Just below the lip of the cliff, there are numerous places where the puffins can land and stand - don't be tempted to crane your neck round too far to look at them. The cliffs are more than 400 meters high in places and while that's a perfectly safe distance for a puffin, it's a perfectly unsafe distance for a human.
The puffins are not the only birds at Latrabjarg. Most obvious when I visited were the Kitiwakes. They tended to nest a little further down the cliff face than the puffins - is there some sort of pecking order here? Their little fluffy white chicks spend the first few weeks of their lives with a glorious view of the ocean. But, I wonder, how do they feel when it's time for them to make their first flight?
Looking out from the top of the cliffs, you can see wonderful views of the fjords - the sharp transition point between land and sea - and wonderful views of the birds flying far below you. You might see Razorbills, Fulmars and Arctic Terns. You might sit down and have a picnic. You might get windswept because it can be (very!) windy here!
Latrabjarg, even without the birds, is a scenic wonder - a rugged edge-of-the-known-world location. But at the right time of year, it's the birds that draw visitors, and for me the little puffins are the big reason to come here. And make no mistake, you're not going to just drop in to Latrabjarg on your way to somewhere else, because the only way to somewhere else is exactly the same way you came in - a 20 mile long dirt road.
Have you been to Latrabjarg? Dis you see plenty of bird life? What would you say to someone who was wondering whether they should visit Latrabjarg? Is it worth the journey?