By the seashore near the city center in Reykjavík, there is a path called Sculpture & Shore Walk. It runs from Harpa Conference Center eastward to the famous Höfði house. This walking path is one of the busiest walking trails in Reykjavík with three magnificent sculptures along the way. Yesterday I noticed an interesting project or trend. At the beginning of the walk, near Harpa Conference Center, there is a small area by the shore filled with pebbles and small stones. This place is part of my daily walk and yesterday I noticed that many tourists had climbed over the low wall and started building cairns. As the number of cairns increased, other tourists started to notice and take photos of tourists building cairns. Our visitors are now building the attractions and defining things to do. It has to be a new form of sustainable tourism.
There are many old cairns in Iceland that helped Icelanders find their way throughout the centuries. Cairns that had an important role in the countries communication. In some areas out in the countryside, visitors have done the same. Made random cairns or “sculptures” with stones, rocks, and lava. This is not appreciated in Iceland by Icelanders as we are very much attached to our nature are eager to preserve it for the coming generations. When people pick up stones out in nature, often leaving holes in the soil where the stone was, they are altering a sensitive part of nature. There is little worry regarding the cairns by Harpa as the next strong wind, or Kári as we call the wind will flatten everything out. But when done out in the countryside it is quite worrying and not appreciated.