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.

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 7 – Reykjavik

Back to the closed sandwiches again as we approach a soggy Reykjavik, Isafjordur was kind but today Iceland will be cruel due to our ‘Ring of Fire’ excursion planning to take in a tour of the high ground outside of the capital city. The coach due to start out before 9 a.m. with no change in the weather seeming to be happening in our favour.

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The coach left right on time and took a direct route out of the city introducing us to a very rugged and rocky vista which was, as can be seen, mostly enshrouded in a clingy, water filled mist.

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The steaming fumaroles are seen in every direction, meaning no matter which way the wind blows you will get a whiff of sulphur. The pipes carry steam to all built up areas where the heat is used for all buildings and under walkways and roads; avoiding accidents a plenty.

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Seven swans a flying, one ring of fire? And great big crack in the landscape known as a rift, which had been created by an earthquake.  Us tourists even walked along the gap between the ever moving techtonic plates; does that make me sound knowledgeable?

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The next picture shows where those  with money have their summer homes, hello, it’s nearly July, summer houses??

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The sign above warns of the dangers to be found where geothermal activity takes place, not only keep to the path but be aware of the out door cooking pots making use of the free heat. Those with fumaroles on their land are seen to do most cooking this way, we are to eat rolls and cakes produced thus for our lunch today. Looks really tasty in these pots, do you agree?

A more economically friendly thing to do with the steam is to make electricity, we visited a geothermal site where most of the islands power needs were being produced very cheaply. Come on EDF, dig deeper.

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Back in the city mid-afternoon we took in some of the local sights which included a large number of statues and towered buildings. It’s not the wide angle camera making this squarish box look odd, it’s built that way.

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We think we have seen this one with waders on.

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The QV stayed in port overnight and, as we can see the next days journey started in bright sunshine; we want our money back from the ring of wet tour.

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To finish we passed the Elday Rock about fifteen miles south west of Iceland which has an area of over seven acres on its top and an unbelievable population of 16000 pairs of northern gannets, look close at the picture and see if you can find them all.

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Must be off now we have a Faroe way to go.

Queen Victoria 4 – Alesund

As we entered the port of Alesund we were not alone; being followed by what appeared to be a ferry of some stature. This ship only stayed in the harbour for half an hour before sailing away; but there was no sail away party to be heard.

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We were intrigued by the building on the top of the hill overlooking the town.

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When zooming in we could see there was a viewing platform for those looking down on the extensive vista; little did we know that over 400 steps later we would be taking advantage of the facility. A feat of ascension achieved without the aid of a defibulator or an ambulance.

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The climb was worth every step, a valuation made plausable when looking at the pictures taken there; especially the selfy.

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And then it was time to go down again, easier than the climb but still a challenge to the calf muscles.

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A few shots to take on the way out to sea and time to say bye bye to Norway. Now for a night – day – night before we are due in Iceland; not that there would be any darkness as we were now fully in the zone for 24/7 daylight and crossing into the Arctic Circle.

 

Behind the Camera 22 – 1

Lost lakes of the Levels

This is the first time the water level has dropped allowing full access to Muchelney since last November. The village is no longer an island with the course of the River Parrett and adjacent roads now properly visible.

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Yes the sun did shine and out came a little bunny to celebrate a chance to warm up, even the swans looked as if they were a bit hearty.

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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.