Chillbrook Abroad..

On Tuesday I flew to Iceland and yesterday, began a road trip that will take me around the entire island. Iceland is very cold this time of year of course, the clue is in the name of the country I guess.  It’s cold and it’s snowy in February/March.  I know it’s going to be challenging but ultimately very rewarding.

Travelling from Reykjavik on Wednesday morning, I was stopped by a road authority official who warned of extreme weather ahead, super high winds and blowing snow.  He looked at the tyres (winter tyres on a Jeep Grand Cherokee) and decided that I should be OK, but to take it very steady.

A few miles down the road and up ahead all that could be seen was a wall of white.  Snow was being blown down the side of a mountain toward the sea.  Emboldened by seeing a car emerge from from this cloud, I drove on, and all became white, all that is except the yellow road markers telling me I was still on track.  Without those I wouldn’t have had a clue, occasionally even those disappeared but reappeared (thankfully) very quickly.

When in Iceland there is an app you can download for android and iPhone called 122 Iceland.  Basically you call up the app and you are then able to send your current location to the road authority.  They store your last 5 locations using GPS on your phone to locate you.  There is also a red button to press should you encounter an emergency.  I was pleased to have the app, lots of warm clothes, flasks of soup, tea and plenty of food.

It was quite intense experience but thankfully one that I emerged from.  The rest of the trip north to Hvammstangi was much easier.  The roads tend to be built up above the landscape.  No fences or hedges to create barriers behind and in front of which, impassable drifts can form.  The snow blows straight across the road leaving them surprisingly clear.  However, when there’s a lot of snow falling, accumulation is inevitable.

Today, I hit a real blizzard though.  I thought Wednesday morning was bad.  Visibility was down to a few yards and once again, it was down to the yellow markers keeping me on the road.  But every mile I drive, I gain more confidence in driving in heavy snow.   I was surprised to see the Icelanders barreling along as if there was no snow there at all.  A bit alarming when a vehicle suddenly appears out of the snow going at surprisingly high speed.  The roads are fairly narrow with very steep drops on either side at times. It’s just a case of keeping one’s nerve.. :-/

For many of you reading this blog, this is normal winter weather of course.  In Cornwall, down in the south-west of the UK, the closest we got to winter this year was a single light frost.  I have no experience of these conditions.  I’m certainly getting plenty of experience now.  Snow is rare in Cornwall and if it does come, it’s gone by lunchtime but the chaos it causes in the meantime is incredible.  That said, I guess if it happened more often, people would be prepared, as they are here in Iceland and, no doubt in other snowy parts of the world.

Below are a few pictures I’ve taken since I arrived.  Lots more to follow. I’ll be checking in but forgive me if I don’t get to all of your blogs over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be quite busy enjoying this amazing island.  Fellow blogger and good friend Poppy (Poppytump@number4) and her husband will be catching us up in Akureyri next Monday and will be joining the road trip.  We’ve a lot of photography to pack in over the coming days..

Road crossing Frozen River24mm f/8 1/160 sec. ISO-50

spaceMountain Pass24mm f/8 1/160 sec. ISO-50

spaceFrozen River70mm f/8 1/100 sec. ISO-50

spaceFrozen Waterfall28mm f7.1 1/250 sec. ISO-50



71 responses

  1. Looking forward to seeing more from Iceland. Enjoy and stay warm.

    February 26, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    • Thank you Edith. More driving than photography last couple of days but the forecast is looking good and I’ve got some interesting mountain scenery to look forward to tomorrow. :-)

      February 26, 2015 at 9:05 pm

  2. Once again, envious. Both of the photo and driving opportunities.

    February 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    • It’s been pretty incredible so far Emilio. The road where I hit the blizzard is now marked ‘impassable’. Got through just in time it seems.

      February 26, 2015 at 9:06 pm

  3. Funny coincidence that I headed to the opposite extreme of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley. Had enough snow to last me while living in New England and Utah. Glad you’re enjoying yourself, though!

    February 26, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    • Thank you Gunta. It’s quite a new experience for me, all this snow. Not dissimilar to driving on sand though I’m finding. I’ve done a bit of that in Cornwall. It can be quite forgiving and very unforgiving too.. :-)

      February 26, 2015 at 9:08 pm

  4. Wow, Adrian, you’ve certainly got some weather there! Love the first and last images, especially. Keep taking great images!

    February 26, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    • Thank you Sue! The weather has certainly been a bit challenging the last few days. It’s set fair though for the coming days so a lot more photo opportunites coming up.. :-)

      February 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      • Great! You’ll be in clover…. And say hello to Poppy from me :)

        February 27, 2015 at 7:47 am

      • I will do Sue, Thank you! :-)

        February 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

  5. Very dramatic scenes!

    February 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    • It’s a very dramatic landscape Shimon. One that I’m really very taken with.

      February 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm

  6. I need to go to Iceland. Now.

    February 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    • I have no doubt you’d enjoy it very much James. EasyJet from Bristol is now very cheap indeed in fact, cheaper for me to get here than take a train to Plymouth.. Hard to believe but true!

      February 26, 2015 at 9:16 pm

  7. poppytump

    Aah just as we imagined ChillB … a staggeringly beautiful and elemental landscape … WHAT an adventure we’re in for on our Photography Iceland Road Trip 2015 :-)
    You’ve managed to surmount the challenging conditions so far admirably , I remember our drive to Selfoss in terrible conditions when we had to turn back but this as you’ve described is another level up !
    I’m just hoping as we’ve already discussed earlier this evening that there ‘ll be no more blizzards, and those mighty snow ploughs keep on pushing through as they’ve done so far .
    It’s quite an island to circumnavigate in Winter as we plan to do for our photography shoots … but WoW … I can’t wait :-)
    See you Monday … batteries charged and good to go xxx :-)

    February 26, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    • It is indeed, a very elemental and beautiful landscape Poppy. The Hringvegur, Route 1, never stays impassable for long so yep, we’ll see you Monday, flags waving to welcome you to Akureyri. Poppy and ChillB’s next excellent adventure begins..! :-)

      February 26, 2015 at 9:25 pm

  8. Crisisalive

    Enjoy your trip! How wonderful to be able to experience that part of the world and how nice that you will be sharing your adventure. Be safe!

    February 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm

  9. Great images.Be carreful and have a nice vacation.

    February 26, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    • Thanks ever so much Lou! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm

  10. Hope you have a great time Adrian and I can’t wait to see the shots from your trip this time 😊

    February 26, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    • Thank you very much Mark! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm

  11. It really does look like a wonderful adventure! I will look forward to the photos from both of you. Very impressive so far!

    February 27, 2015 at 1:10 am

    • Thank you very much Anna!

      February 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm

  12. How absolutely marvellous, Adrian! Beautiful icy landscapes, but I imagine that driving in that blizzard was rather nerve racking. I’m sure that you and Poppy will have fantastic pics to share with us all. Stay safe and enjoy. :)

    February 27, 2015 at 3:44 am

    • Thank you very much Sylvia! It was a little scary but am getting used to the snow very quickly. :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 8:45 pm

  13. Wow beautiful photographs to start your wonderful trip. Looking forward to seeing the wonderful images we’ll soon see.

    February 27, 2015 at 3:51 am

    • Thank you very much Mary! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 8:45 pm

  14. Iceland 2.0, is that right? The vast landscape looks amazingly cold, and I am sending you some warmth :) Looking forward to more photos!

    February 27, 2015 at 5:54 am

    • Thank you Marina! It is very cold, much much colder than the UK and yet the UK felt colder before we left. I think it must all be down to humidity. Damp cold isn’t nice cold. :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      • I know it. Stay warm Chillbrook!

        February 28, 2015 at 3:17 am

      • Thank you Marina! I will! :-)

        February 28, 2015 at 8:27 am

  15. Beautiful set of photos! K

    February 27, 2015 at 8:08 am

    • Thank you Kamila! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

  16. so dramatic and superb :)

    February 27, 2015 at 9:44 am

    • Thank you very much Joshi! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

  17. Wow!! Wonderful serie Adrian. I’love the last and first images specially.

    February 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    • Thank you very much Isabel! :-)

      February 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

  18. Keep those fingers warm!

    February 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    • Thank you Jude, fingerless gloves for when I need to take pictures and mittens I’ve been finding work rather well! :-)

      February 28, 2015 at 8:28 am

      • I look forward to seeing the results :)

        February 28, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      • :-)

        March 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm

  19. Austin Starr

    well, good for you, off on an adventure. I’m sure your photos will be as superb as always . . . I meant to tell you how much I enjoyed your b&w Cornwall shots and look forward to seeing what you come up with on this trip.

    February 27, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    • Thank you very much Austin, really appreciate that! :-)

      February 28, 2015 at 8:29 am

  20. Pat

    Gorgeous frozen landscape.

    February 27, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    • Thank you very much Pat! :-)

      February 28, 2015 at 8:27 am

  21. SUPER!

    February 28, 2015 at 9:28 am

    • Thank you so much!

      March 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm

  22. Lovely images, Adrian. I think you have chosen well when going to Iceland in wintertime – as a photographer. It’s an unusual time to visit the country, but also gives you possibilities to capture the unusual. Continue to enjoy the trip! I look forward to seeing more photos.

    February 28, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    • Thank you very much Otto. I’m very much hoping to capture the unusual. I want to explore different things photographically and perhaps this is one way to do that, visit at different times to other people. :-)

      March 1, 2015 at 9:04 pm

  23. A wonderful serie. From Iceland?

    February 28, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    • Yes from Iceland Hans, thank you!

      March 1, 2015 at 9:04 pm

  24. Best wishes for fabulous adventures. I have confidence in you! I love the app! Second photo says Great Road Trip to me! :-)

    February 28, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    • Thank you so much Lynn. The app is brilliant and gives constant reassurance. :-)

      March 1, 2015 at 9:05 pm

  25. This looks like the start of a mighty fine adventure for you Adrian ~ wish you the best and very much look forward to the magic you will weave with your camera.

    March 1, 2015 at 2:21 am

    • Thank you very much Randal. I’m very much looking forward to the journey! :-)

      March 1, 2015 at 9:30 pm

  26. The weather sounds challenging, Adrian. I thought the inclement weather I’ve experienced in Scotland was difficult, but it looks like Iceland is a whole different ball game.

    March 1, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    • It is Simon but manageable if you’re prepared and the rewards are huge! :-)

      March 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

  27. :-) Just grinning for you, Adrian! What an adventure, full of photographic possibilities.

    March 1, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    • Thank you Karen, I’m enjoying myself so much. I couldn’t wait to get back here! :-)

      March 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

  28. Wild and Cold by the look of it! I knew you were headed back to Iceland sometime but I didn’t realize it was this early in the year. Have a great time, Adrian, and just keep that car on the road!

    March 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    • Thank you Andy! I wanted to see the snow and ice, the frozen waterfalls. It’s living up to my expectation so far although the heavy snow is difficult to contend with, the authorities somehow manage to keep the main roads open. The driving takes some getting used to but I’m getting there.

      March 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm

  29. Blue ice, grey skies, white countryside, the epitome of winter, so glad we are coming out of it in the UK, though I guess it is okay in short measures as in your case. The fantastic sights should more than make up for the discomfort, enjoy your trip!

    March 3, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    • Thank you Sonja. The apartments and hotels are so very warm and so is the car. I’m well wrapped up when I’m taking photos and this winter landscape is like no other. Plus it’s a very dry cold, not like the damp cold we have in the UK and that does make a difference somehow. :-)

      March 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm

  30. Quite an adventure, but I’m sure it will continue to yield super photographs. Enjoy it and stay warm.

    March 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    • Thank you very much Dave!

      March 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

  31. You and Poppy make a terrific team. Gorgeous work.

    March 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    • Thank you Elena! Poppy and I have had a great time taking pictures together! :-)

      March 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

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