An overdue Happy New Year Everyone!
Again what an incredibly quick and busy few weeks it has been that I’ve barely had any time to blog about what I’ve been up to. I left for Scotland on the 22nd of December to go back home for Christmas and spent nearly two weeks at home over the festive period catching up with everyone, eating and drinking lots and of course going on a much needed trip up to the Highlands which I missed incredibly!
As much as I absolutely love living in Iceland and my experience being here is one of constant amazement at the epic landscapes, it was great to get back to my home country and see the sun and have a bit more light/ not so much wild weather! I never thought I would see the day when I announce I intend to go back to Scotland to see the sun but the difference between there and Iceland is startling. When I left Olafsfjordur on the morning of the 22nd (winter soltice) to embark on my travels home, the sun never really rose that day. It had been about 4 weeks since I had actually seen the sun because of the mountains being so high around us in the fjord that it can’t rise enough in the dark winter to see it!
It was a brilliant time being back in Scotland and even brought in the new year in the Highlands, way up in Fort Augustus right on Loch Ness, spending the few days I had left there hiking around the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe areas.
It was a flying visit and soon enough I was on my journey back up to the land of ice. I caught the earliest morning flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri which flies straight over the Highlands of Iceland in a tiny propeller plane, (I’ve attached some photos of my first journey in it to this post.) On my first day back in the town we had a meeting at the local junior college about presenting our work, ideas and meeting the other teachers and deciding which workshops we were to be involved in this semester in Olafsfjordur.
I’ve then spent the rest of my week back here making the most of the calm and clear weather. It still amazes me the surroundings of this place and only being away for 2 weeks I was still astounded at how large and impressive the mountains and environment of the fjord are here in the far north. The lake in the town has frozen over completely now which means you can walk right over it to the other side of the mountain valley. The other good news is that it’s starting to get lighter and lighter for longer now each day which is great for a hiker like me!
It’s been a good week hiking around the mountains here and finding frozen over rivers here and there over the valleys, I’ve spent a great deal of time getting reacquainted with the amazing outdoor swimming pool that is in my opinion one of the best things about this town and spending a few nights going on 1am walks to catch the always impressive northern lights.
On Wednesday, a few of us from Listhus caught the bus to the next town along up the fjord called Siglufjordur. Siglufjordur is one of the most northern towns in Iceland which sits right at the fore front of the arctic sea and is open to all of the elements. We walked out of the town onto the mountain to see it from another perspective and then caught the epic bonfire at night on the harbour which is a celebration of the last day of Christmas in Iceland.
The rest of this week has consisted of me working in the studio getting new work ready for the upcoming Listhus Skammdegi Festival which starts on the 21st of January and coincides with the sun rising high enough to see it again in our town.
Lastly, to top off a brilliant week being back in my temporary town right in the North, I went for another big walk to the other side of the fjord where lies a small and slightly abandoned village called Kleifar where tiny homes and mountains huts sits shrouded by the most impressive yet daunting mountains I have ever had the opportunity to experience. One of the most clear days I have witnessed so far in the North where the blue of the skies illuminated the sharpness of the ridges of the mountains. We found some new trails where we can venture further into and then on the walk back explored the black sand beach of the town finding some impressive geological formations and just instant inspiration!
I’m feeling great about being back here and constantly find myself simply amazed by the land that is around and how incredibly lucky I am to work to get this opportunity to spend a few months in such an incredible and inspiring place. Now onward I go with my new series of drawings, paintings and photographs and I’ll be posting more of this next week!