Down with Phriss

– on the middle of the three peaks south of Kangerdluk inlet


We were on top of our mountain. It was nameless and unsung. When we got back down at camp we could play around with ludicrous names, and rack our idle minds with playful possibilities. If for a brief imaginary moment it was our mountain then we could merge our names to call it Phriss. Continue reading “Down with Phriss”


The view was worth the effort…

We awoke late.  Nevertheless we went ahead with our attempt to climb Rubicon (1,700m) – a mountain forming part of the east flank of the Qinguadalen valley.  It was a beautiful day; a cloudless azure sky, a bright sun and no wind.  However such a day is not altogether perfect.  In the valley a myriad of mosquitoes and black flies took advantage of the fine weather and attacked us relentlessly.  Once above biting insect level at around 500m, we breathed a sigh of relief. Continue reading “Rubicon”

Here comes the sun

Musical memories evoked


I don’t care for clutter and am not the sort of person who keeps old letters and the like for very long. So I could rarely be bothered keeping a diary or log of my activities; memory would suffice, I naively thought, as I now discover that my recall of events isn’t as clear as I would have hoped. It is with some envy, therefore, that I regard those of us who did take the trouble to put their thoughts/drawings on paper and I am curious to know how I would now react to reading the words of my younger persona. I’ll never know. However, occasionally, a simple sensory stimulus brings memories flooding back. The other day I discovered a tube of Snik sun-block glacier cream and its distinctive odour transported me to a rocky Greenland ridge. It’s the same with music. Continue reading “Here comes the sun”

Tobacco Pipe

An Essential Expedition Accessory?


If I were to list personal items that contributed to making the 1971 University of St. Andrews Greenland Expedition an enjoyable experience I would have to include my tobacco pipe. It had a number of functions. Continue reading “Tobacco Pipe”


Cardinal was one of the longest days I’d ever had….

looking down Qinguadalen from Alpentop

….but it wasn’t as long as our day on Alpentop. This wasn’t such a big mountain, but our route was much harder and more hazardous.  There was a vile, greasy, Hard-Severe pitch on it – just as well John was with us – all the scrambling was loose and dangerous (one simply got used to scrambling up rotten pitches of Diff rock unroped) and we were late at the summit.  I recall our bivouac ledge:  sitting on a sheet of ice on ropes which ever so slowly slid away under our cold backsides. Continue reading “Alpentop”

The Cardinal

The Qinguadalen peaks made an early impression…

Cardinal at the head of Qinguadalen

Although I had seen big mountains in the Eastern Alps, the Cardinal of Qinguadalen was by far the most impressive peak I had ever set eyes on.  It seemed incredible that we were planning to climb it.  I couldn’t see how this might be achieved.  We spent a day in reconnaissance.  Bob and Richard went one way, John and I another. Continue reading “The Cardinal”

Nostalgia for Nanortalik

A memorable sojourn in 1971

Concrete block construction Nanortalik 1971

A strange image to get nostalgic about – two of our team busy feeding a cement mixer which in turn is producing the mix for a supply of concrete-teethed blocks.  These blocks were to protect a new water supply from icebergs as the pipeline crossed the seabed of a small inlet. Continue reading “Nostalgia for Nanortalik”