Exercise – It’s a walk in the park

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Steering our way towards the local country park on a blue sky January morning gave us the first opportunity in ages for using the camera. Even a fair selection of birds came out to play.

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Here’s hoping the weather stays this clear for a few days. Happy new year to all our readers.

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Queen Victoria 9 – Torshavn

The final port on our two-week jaunt around a bit of the north Atlantic enabled us to see surprisingly photogenic, almost ‘chocolate box’ landscapes even though for most of the day it was low clouds, misty and damp on the high ground. For the second time this week we had docked fairly early and timing required us to start an excursion at 9a.m. The first part of the tour was intended to be scenic taking us around fjords and lakes on mainly high placed roads. The following few pictures indicate the possibilities of seeing incredible landscapes but the mist did conceal the best of the views.

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Late morning we stopped at a village called Gjagv, pronounced Jack, for a light repast which included  a local dish known as pancakes, pictured below they did look and did taste yummy. The later photograph shows they were appreciated.

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Time was allowed for us tourists to take in the views offered by the bubbling stream and the surrounding Faroese architecture set in a misty, mountain backed terrain. The vivid green flora and the richly coloured houses all came together to give us a very pleasureable hour of sightseeing.

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The shoreline too held more than interesting views, Jane can be seen investigating the corpse of a stripped to the bone fish, a good sized meal no doubt for one of the many terns and gulls observed here.

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Back on the coach it only took a short time for us to see a few more waterfalls and the view acroos the city before we finished the four and a half hour tour.

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The mist had still not cleared by sailing time which, unfortunately meant we never did get a proper look at the high ground surrounding Torshavn, but for that the day would have been perfect.

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Still taking pictures and getting lucky when the schooner passed a sea worn cave. Time now for the two full days and three nights journey back to Southampton; nobody has seen or heard the fat lady yet.

Queen Victoria 8 – Klaksvik

The visit to this first port of call in The Faroe Islands was only found out about at the last minute; we were scheduled to stay two days in Reykjavik and then straight on to Torshavn. This second change to our itinerary involved leaving Iceland at lunchtime on the second scheduled day and reaching Klaksvik after a full day at sea. The stopover was only for the evening and we were then due to wake up in Torshavn the following morning. As an added bonus the new port had a very significant link to QV in that the captain was born and raised in an adjoining village to Klaksvik and this also was the first time a Cunard ship had come to the Faroes. The town put on special events for the visit including a hog roast, dancing and various singing groups in different venues; a dancing group and a folk singing duo also appeared on board as an addition to the day’s entertainment.

The approach to the Faroes was through a narrow fjord with many twists and turns; the manouvring to dock was  a quite time consuming challenge, but the crew and pilot got us there safely.

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It’s no wonder the culture in these parts concerns a fear of trolls when you see above the faces embedded in the cliffs; the rows of teeth look particularly menacing. There is a story told to us as we passed by about the rock pillars seen below; apparently Iceland sent over two wizards to drag the Faroe Islands so as to join onto their home. They ran out of time and were turned to stone, maybe someone should have sent for Doctor Dolittle and a pink snail?

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It can be seen that these rocks were not lava based and no smell of sulpher either, if I was an Icelander maybe this could be a prefered home of choice? As is visible here the approach to the port was particularly overwhelming with the high peaks all around us.

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Seeing the Viking ship one wonders whether we should join in the local sport here of going raping and pillaging as did their ancesters?

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‘C birds’

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This is the Island’s dancers with the local girl made good who joined in the dancing and singing, a very entertaining interlude. Then out on deck to see the half past eleven sun; this was the nearest to the midnight version we could get.

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We were told QV sailed at about 4a.m. to travel twenty miles and get to the port of Torshavn, we didn’t stay up for that journey.

Queen Victoria 6 – Isafjordur

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What a difference a day makes? Our second Sunday of this cruise, clear skies, only a gentle breeze and soaring temperatures about to peak at 14 degrees C. No place to park alongside so it was down to getting on shore and back using the lifeboats as tenders; about a hundred passengers at a time. Not that there was so much to see in the town, some were doing excursions and others, like us, hunted souvenirs and admired the colourful landscape.

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The local sculpture showed what a delicate hand can produce when carving look alike waders. The large four chimneyed building behind is the old hospital which has now changed its use to being a library; a scenario that possibly suggests reading keeps you healthy and hospitals are not needed?

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The fully flowering daffodils really did take us by surprise as there had been none seen further north in Akreyri.

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The amount of traffic seen was quite minmal and the two highly polished classic vehicles being admired here had pride of place in the high street. Only a few shops were open, two souvenir shops, a bakers and a few clothes outlets selling hand made woolen sweaters for at least a £100 each; we noted not many were being sold but most of the locals were wearing them.

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QV looked as if it was time to take the brochure photograph so we duly obliged; then we got tenderised returning back on board for our roast beef and all the trimmings.

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When we sailed back out to clear waters the darkening wall approaching at speed made us wonder if the other side of the cloud may not be reached till the day after tomorrow?

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Will we survive this impending deluge, will we come through to clear skies ever again, was Queen Victoria amused?

Queen Victoria 3 – Olden

Yes it is a 4.30 start and although the conditions were not in the least perfect for photography, the results tell the story of this journey inland, with slowly clearing skies, reasonable accurately.

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During the morning P and O’s Arcadia joined us, luckily we were there first as they had to use tenders to offload passengers, we had the only mooring space alongside. We did leave the QV for a short excursion around the surrounding high ground but unfortunately the higher we got the more mist we found.

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Arcadia did leave before us and as the weather was deteriorating most of the good views were disappearing behind the dropping haze. The outward journey was no where near as good for photography so we will end this stopover here and just say that tomorrow in Alesund the weather was much better. Looking back on this part of the voyage we were amazed at the lack of passengers out seeing these sights; those hoping to see things during the afternoon return sailing did not know what they had missed earlier in the day.

Mill on the Blog 2

Cutt Mill.

Moving on from the Sturminster only a few miles down river is Cutt Mill, a now vandalised and derelict   building destroyed by fire in 2003. Also on the Stour, a sixty mile long river that starts its journey at Stourhead House, a place visited last November; see blog Autumn Colours in the archive. The surrounding fields were still heavily saturated from the recent floods so most of these pictures were taken from the easily accessible hard ground; at least the sun was out, most likely we will return when conditions improve.

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The high water mark on the mill wall again shows the depth of flooding here, no wonder there is a boat beside the farmhouse.

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Sturminster Newton

Michael and I revisited the River Stour and were surprised to see how much the water level had dropped. Not long ago when passing by the area the foot bridges seen here were impassable due to being enveloped by the recent flooding; the high water mark on the mill says it all.

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You saw it here first, sun and blue sky in February.