A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Sitting in the Perlan Centre after a guided tour of a glacier, inside the building but made up of real glacial snow and ice. Chuffed to be mistaken for an Icelandic chap, think it was the Scandi look rather than the accent that did it. The short trip is coming to an end with a gentle wind down day, Alison going to a museum while I went up the road to this ice place after listening to the John Beattie Lunchtime Show. Although we never made it to the glaciers or geysers we packed in as much as we could and need to go home for a rest. May be snoozing on the planed train journeys before making it to Inverness in time for yet another award night at the Kingsmills. Slightly strange scene here as the centre cafe serving area is revolving ever so slowly and now in front of me is the stairway and back entrance. They have to keep moving the seats and tables to keep up with the revolve. Finally balked at my 490 krona ticket for going out a door onto the balcony. They are maybe just a little too keen on the charging, but not enough of an issue to let it bother me.

Yesterday, taking Graham’s advice, we went up into the north-west, an area that inspired Jules Verne to write Journey to the Centre of the Earth. And travelling round and over it is easy to see why. The only thing we missed out on and that was due to the car, was the dirt track road going over by the Snaefellsjokur Glacier. We took the next one and a fine trip over it was too. The roads here have had a major investment package poured into them, all looking newly tarred and double tracked.

On the way round the peninsula we drove through fields of lava

and we stopped for me to take a couple of autumnal snaps

of the moss that is always first to colonise the lava.

Seemingly this is a bright almost fluorescent green in the Spring time.

Should have realised that the weather was a little fierce seeing the waterfall in the background going back up the hill.

On this part of the journey Alison had us stop at a couple of points, Longdrangar and Djupalonssandur, where the wind was now a full storm, especially up on the cliff top.

Hard to keep your balance and the power of the sea on the rugged shoreline was spectacular to watch. The photo had to be straightened as I do not have a tripod and it was hard to keep one’s balance.

We drove past the next stop but so glad we turned around to go down the short road to Djupalonssandur.

Another black sand beach and storm force winds.

The sea surging up the beach and I got a foot soak for trying to catch a photographic wave.

I find it hard to take pictures of the full ferocity of the wind, these will have to do.

I had no idea about how this beach still holds the remains of a tragedy which took place on the 13th of March 1948, when the Grimsby trawler, Epine, foundered on the rocks off the beach.

Here is an extract from the inquiry which took place after the loss, seemingly to lay blame on the skipper for the disaster.

 

“At the time of the stranding the wind was a moderate gale with a rough sea and the vessel pounded heavily and took a heavy list to starboard. Water began to enter the vessel in large quantities and in less than ten minutes after she struck the water in the engine room reached the dynamo and extinguished the lights. The crew came out on deck and with one exception were wearing their life-jackets. The skipper gave this man his own life-jacket. Seas were sweeping the deck and the lifeboat was found to be stove in. In the opinion of the Court it is almost certain that had it been possible to launch the lifeboat it would immediately have been dashed to pieces on the rocks, and no attempt at rescue from seaward was feasible. Some of the crew were washed overboard but others managed to climb into the rigging after firing six distress rockets, and lighting one fire on top of the wheelhouse and another on the whaleback. The wireless operator who seems to have stuck to his post and done his duty with commendable fortitude got into touch by radio telephone with the steam trawler “Spurs”, and also sent out a distress message. Shortly after the ship struck, Malariff Light was seen at times about on the starboard beam. The place where the vessel stranded was rocky with high cliffs but with a small beach at their foot. After some time a light was seen ashore first on the top of the cliffs and later on the beach. Attempts to establish communication with the shore by Morse lamp were unsuccessful and it seems that those on board the “Epine” decided that the best thing to do was to await daylight. Meantime, the wind increased to about Force 9 with a corresponding increase in the sea and some of those in the rigging of the trawler were overcome by exhaustion. Shortly after day-light the Icelandic rescue party ashore succeeded in getting a rocket with line attached on to the wreck which was finally secured by those on board the trawler and four members of the crew were taken ashore in the breeches buoy. One other member of the crew of the “Epine” got ashore by jumping overboard and swimming or being washed ashore, but the remaining 14 hands had already perished either by drowning or exposure.”

Although well over a half century ago the remains, still scattered over the beach provide a poignant reminder what was like at sea before rules and regulations improved life for the deep-sea men. In daylight it must have been bad enough, to have foundered in the middle of the night, just pure terror.

On the way back round after a burger and some fish at Olafisk we stopped a couple of times for some beautiful landscapes

and the quiet,

inquisitive Icelandic horses.

They were gentle and possibly long-suffering as yet another traveller stopped to take a snap of them.

So back before dark, no scratches and a full tank, with just a small half hour deviation before getting back on the right walking track. Took a photo of the “home ground” as it is good to get acquainted with my new national stadium.

Comments on: "Storms, Lava and Iceland Horses(Day2)" (4)

  1. endrickwater said:

    Thank you so much for your eloquent travelogue and lovely photographs. You have such a sure eye.

  2. Ian Sutherland said:

    Good to read your experiences in Iceland. Loved the coastal photos.

    One cultural experience that possibly passed you by is Icelandic cricket. Yes, cricket! A group of enthusiastic writers – including Sebastian Faulks – has a travelling team “The Authors XI”. They were there this month – see the article at http://www.thecricketmonthly.com/story/1123241/northern-exposure

    They did have to play inside and, judging by their comments on the price of alcohol, didn’t have many beers afterwards. But a good time seems to have been had by all.

    Best wishes,

    Ian
    (an unreconstructed cricket enthusiast)

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      No cricket wickets spotted. They can certainly play football so cricket should not be a problem. Would imagine they would be seaming rather than spinning though.

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