Under the Midnight Sun

I think I’ve written about Greenland more than any other country. I’ve visited towards the end of the winter, and in the mosquito-rich summer, travelling to Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq and Qaanaaq.

Greenland really is a country like no other. It’s tough to get around, the weather is extreme, but it is the most beautiful country I have ever visited and one which will no doubt draw me back time and again.

My first stop there was the giant icebergs of the Disko Bay at Ilulissat, and the flight from Iceland had incredible views of the bay before we circled back and landed in the town. Kangerlussuaq for the Northern Lights, glaciers and icecap was next, before returning for a summer trip in 2017.

Greenland in the summer was phenomenal. The Midnight Sun meant there was no need to limit a day to the usual daylight hours and walks could go on and on and on. Sometimes with the howls of the sleddogs still audible when the wind went silent.

My last trip to Greenland gave me some of my favourite moments on any of my travels.

In Ilulissat I took a walk around the coast and then away from the icefjord, up into the hills and away from the town. High up I still had a view of the icebergs in the distance, and when the wind stopped it was utterly silent. I could have kept walking even further but just sat and enjoyed the view and the silence for a while before heading back.

The same evening, with an almost perfectly clear sky, I went out at 11.30pm and walked around the coast to a fantastic spot high up which overlooks the Disko Bay and the icebergs. It was to see the Midnight Sun, hovering above the horizon even at this late hour, providing just a tinge of orange and pink on the giant icebergs. The only noise was a faint, distant hum from a little boat sailing out into the bay.

Qaaanaaq took remote to new levels. It’s a difficult place to get to even on a good day and is a town which shows admirable resiliance in extreme conditions. Qaanaaq is a truly fascinating, tiny village almost at the top of the world, where a walk out of town up a steep hill and towards the ice cap, the furthest north I have ever set foot, provides a landscape which is almost alien. If you’ve seen the photos from Viking 2, showing the first, rocky, colour photos from Mars, then add in a brilliant white ice cap and you’ll have the right idea.

The quiet and tranquility of Qaanaaq was mesmerising. The view back over the bay, with icebergs floating in it, almost perfectly still, is stunning, and there isn’t a soul or a sound for miles around by this point.

On my way home from Greenland I stopped at Kangerlussuaq. Heading out at around 10pm, I walked maybe 100m along the road which leads towards the ice cap and stopped at a little bench there. The sun was about to disappear behind the hill that towers over the town, and I thought, why not? So I started to walk up the hill to see what the view was like from the top. When I got there, I picked another spot a bit further away and kept walking. And then another, and another, and another. It was past midnight before I really thought about having to turn back, and by this point I had a beautiful view of the ice cap, a lake, and the rolling hills around Kangerlussuaq. Again, without a sound to be heard.

I’ve tried to capture this in a short clip, starting with the Midnight Sun hovering high above the horizon over the wonderful little village of Qaanaaq.

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