(Nick here, guest blogging while Frances is in Norway)
The trip to Lewis and Harris wasn’t the first time I have been on a tour with the Guild of Photographers. They operate several, to various locations throughout Europe, and the first one they invited me to was (not surprisingly, for those who know me) Iceland.
In March last year we spent a week exploring the south coast of Iceland, starting with a couple of days in Reykjavík before heading out east along the coast, with our brilliant, hilarious guide, Siggi. You can see what he thinks of photographers in this wonderful YouTube video he showed us when we were there:
Anyway, we started with a walking tour of Reykjavík, taking in the varying architecture and sea views, including the beautiful Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgrimur’s church) that sits on a hill in the centre of town. with its pure white vaulted ceiling.
When we reached the sea, the mountain across the bay was peeking through low cloud, with snow covered craggy slopes showing through.
The next day, when we were due to head out to our first night outside Reykjavík, most of the main roads out of the city were closed by heavy snow. Thankfully Siggi knew of another route out of town, and we seemed to be lucky enough to always stay in the sunny spot between the waves of heavy rain. Our first stop was at Grindavík, a small fishing village south of Reykjavík, where the ferocious wind was creating wonderful shapes in the sea.
Next it was time for my favourite waterfall in Iceland, Gullfoss. It’s easy to get to and is very popular with tourists, but as we arrived the snow was blowing horizontally, and most of the other tourists had been scared off, so we had the place to ourselves. After standing huddled together with hoods up, sheltering our precious gear, for about half an hour while the wind howled, the sky started to clear and we could finally see the waterfall again.
The cold weather meant that the spray pouring off the cascade was freezing onto the adjacent rocks, creating amazing abstract, almost organic shapes.
Much of the following day was spent on the road, as we had a lot of ground to cover before reaching our next hotel, where we were staying for two nights. It turned out to be somewhere I’d stayed before, on a trip in 2010, so it was a pleasant surprise to be back. After a good night’s rest and a typical full-on breakfast, we started exploring the area.
These were taken on an unscheduled stop on our way to Jökulsárlón, the iceberg filled lagoon that sits opposite the black sand beach that Siggi talked about in the video. There were plenty of ‘ice cubes’ as he puts it on the sand, but surprisingly few in the lagoon itself.
Coming tomorrow – some actual icebergs in the iceberg lagoon, fun with torches, and more waves. See you then!