Here are some photos and maps from our recent trip to Greenland.
Before we went, many people asked us why we were going to Greenland. We hope that the pictures below provide the answer.
Please note that flower identification was done with a book, "Wild flowers of Greenland". As we are not botanists there is no guarantee of correctness. Please let us know if you spot any glaring errors!
We stayed in two villages, Kulusuk and Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq has a population of 2000, which is more than half the total population of East Greenland. Kulusuq is considerably smaller but does have an airport.
We flew to Iceland and had a night in Reykjavik. We had a walk by the sea past an attractive sculpture of a ship and the Harpa centre, where concerts are held. This building features an exciting glass exterior that reflects the light.
First Day - Kulusuk
The next day we flew to the small airport at Kulusuk, the only airport in East Greenland. The views from the plane on approach were a magnificent taster for what was to follow: mountains, lakes, fjords, icebergs. On arrival we all just walked through the main building and started taking photographs. In a while our baggage arrived on a truck at the front of the building and we were then transferred the short distance to our hotel, the only hotel. We had a time for a walk before lunch and walked towards the village of Kulusuk, enjoying the views, the wild flowers and the birds. We passed a group of chained huskies just outside the village.
After lunch we walked along the shore in the opposite direction. The weather was sunny and the views were stunning. Icebergs of various shapes were dotted around the water and at the exit towards the main sea there were large numbers gathered. We also enjoyed the flowers and birds. We were teased by more than one snow bunting, a few ringed plovers and a wheatear. Teased in that they posed just long enough to get a photo set up and then flew off just before the click.
We signed up for a boat trip to the impressive Apusiaajik glacier which flows into sea in a side fjord. The views were again stunning with beautiful reflections of mountains, icebergs and glacier in the deep blue sea. We took more than a few photos. Back at the hotel we enjoyed our first taste of Greenlandic Musk Ox beer.
Second Day - Walk to the radar station
We woke to clear blue sky and a calm sea. The lack of darkness together with the time change meant that we had to look at our watches to know the time which was hard to believe! We had an early breakfast, made sandwiches for lunch and set off on the track to the old US radar station on the coast on the other side of the island at about 8:30. We did not go fast as we were taking lots of photos, not only of the amazing scenery but also of the wild flowers and birds. There appeared to be three or four species of small bird. One was undoubtedly snow bunting and another was wheatear. We thought another was probably lapland bunting as that was on the list but we were not sure about the fourth. There were beautiful clumps of moss campion as well as blue bells and cotton.
The morning weather was very sunny and mostly windless so the midge hood was in use most of the time. Camilla had left hers behind but David let her use his. This mistake was not to be repeated.
We eventually reached the radar station where there were a couple of board walks to help get round the machinery and give access to the views. The icebergs with their turquoise shadows were stunning. We could now see a mist over the sea to the North. We set off back down the track and took a side path that led down to the coast. At this point the wind increased and the midge hood was no longer needed. Gloves came out. We had lunch down near the sea and took a few more iceberg pictures. At this point David realised that he no longer had his specs. We decided to go back and see if we could find them. Unfortunately we did not find them but we had an enjoyable extra walk back down the track taking more photographs as the light conditions were better than in the morning.
We arrived back at our hotel for 5pm for a well earned beer. We had covered nearly 28kms with the detour and spectacle hunt.
Third Day - Tasiilaq, Valley of flowers
We were transferred, fairly early in the day, by helicopter to Tasiilaq. The flight was very short but excellent. We were the only passengers and David sat at the front by the pilot. We were driven up to our hotel, overlooking the village with its colourful houses, and enjoyed some coffee while waiting for our room key. After lunch we did the Valley of the Flowers walk which goes along a valley on shores of lakes and is very aptly named. We did a longer version going over a saddle at the last lake and descending to a track built for the hydro electric scheme. We went up the track for a bit to a waterfall and then followed it down to the fjord where the road ended. There was an excellent path along the fjord back to Tasiilaq where we made our way up the steep hill to the hotel.
Fourth Day - Mount Seaman
Today the forecast was good for weather but -- as a result -- bad for flies. We had decided to go up Mount Seaman behind the hotel. The hotelier suggested a route and said that it was easy to miss the best route to the top. We can confirm that. We had a rather nerve wracking scramble up a slope of mixed scree but made it to the top. The views were fine and clear with lots of distant mountain peaks appearing. We found the "easy" route on the way down and were rewarded with a view of a ptarmigan flying by. The descent had a few tricky bits but was much less traumatic than the ascent. We photographed many flowers on the way down and enjoyed a large beer on return to the hotel.
Fifth Day - Five lakes walk
Our walk on this day is described as the five lakes walk or, according to our map, Lake 168 walk. Many of the lakes and mountains are innominate and the largest lake on this walk is simply called 168, after its height above sea level. The walk starts along the coast and then turns inland following a husky trail with waymarks in the form of painted targets on the rocks. A short way up the valley we had to cross a river and so had a first use of our new water sandals. They worked very well though putting them on and then removing them, drying our refreshed feet and putting boots back on is quite time consuming. We needed to do this once more on this walk but managed the remaining stream crossings without them. The views looking up the valley and across the lakes were stunning. There were several waterfalls and glaciers. and the light was superb. We arrived back at our hotel at 5:30, having walked 16 miles.
Sixth Day - Icebergs
We had booked a boat trip for the afternoon so spent the first part of the morning pottering on the hill immediately behind the hotel where there were good views as well as wild flowers. We did not have to use our midge hoods as much as on the previous days as the wind had driven the flies away. After lunch we gathered for our boat trip. We were taken down to the harbour and boarded a boat large enough to have an inside cabin with seating as well as outside areas at both the bow and the stern. We were taken out to get close-up views icebergs both in the fjord and in the open sea. These were quite stunning and we enjoyed the trip even though the sea outside the fjord tossed the boat around quite a bit!
Seventh Day - Fjord walk
We decided to walk along the fjord for some distance and then return via the valley of flowers. We had done the first part of the walk on our walk round Lake 168 but enjoyed it again, particularly the reflections of the mountains in the sea. The birds played their usual trick of posing on a rock and then flying just as we got cameras ready. The next stage of the walk required a river crossing. Although there was a bridge of sorts it looked a bit fragile so we put on our water sandals and waded. We reached the end of the fjord where there were some photogenic icebergs and great reflections of the mountains in the still water. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk back, recrossing the river and then taking a route via the valley of flowers.
Our walks as gpx files for download.Note that these have not been edited. In particular the way we went up Mount Seaman is not recommended so we have shown a route for ascent separately.