Itchy Feet

Itchy feet. You can’t help it but you want to keep moving.  It’s been just over three years since I’ve posted here, and a lot has happened and you want to keep moving on, but it is now time to get going.  You can’t dwell in one place for too long, especially the Nordkapp car park, where unrecyclable meets the down right unappreciation for the environment.  We left you with a vision of near holiness that is the Arctic summer and the midnight sun and left ourselves with with a sense of bitter disappointment at the sheer lack of appreciation some of our fellow humans have for the soil on which we dwell.  So we are going on an another adventure, Oli and me, because we can, and because there’s lots to see and do on this wonderful planet of ours.  You can choose to sit at home in HD and surround sound and watch the world pass you by, or you can get out there and discover it for yourself.

We are going to Africa, a continent we have never been to before.  And we are going to Kenya on Safari, game watching in the traditional style, in tented camps, open to everything that wild Africa has to offer.  From the high plains around Mount Kenya to the Maasai Mara.  The migration is in full swing, so zebra and wildebeast are a given: we hope to see so much more though under the big African skies.  It will be remote; we are not going the normal tourist route, opting instead for a more compact, eco-friendly experience.  We’ve chosen a company that provides a tourism model that is kinder to the land and its inhabitants, mainly avoiding the big reserves, instead staying on established conservencies but within the same ecosystems.

We are embarking on another Big Blue adventure, but Big Blue will be staying at home!

 

New Safari at a Bargain Price: the Paka Kubwa Safari!

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North

Nordkapp is remote, rugged and unrelentingly beautiful. It’s beauty lies in its isolation and the sheer magnitude of its geography. You don’t get a feel for its scale as you approach from land as the road raises you gently through the hills. You arrive on a plateau some 300m above the sea; these are sheer cliffs of what look like carbonate rock. There is little soil and the grass is thin and weak. It is enough to support reindeer though.

I imagine if you approach this place from the sea it must resemble a huge, dark, petrified tree stump sticking out of the ocean, like some massive middle-Earth troll, shoving its bare shoulder against the northern wind and claiming a foothold in this lonely place.  We arrived early morning under bright sun and blue skies, the fog having lifted and surprisingly the place was alive with people.  There is a visitor centre here, a modern building that could be mistaken for a fast food restaurant.  And there is the car park…

The car park at Nordkapp is massive and when we arrived it was full of camper vans.  But it is a car park and not a camp site, but I don’t think many of the people staying there thought that it was.  There are no toilets or washing facilities; no electrical hook-up and no effective waste disposal system.  It was sad to see these travellers using it as a camp site though and not in a dignified, respectful way.  These people thought it was ok to just chuck their rubbish from their vehicles and leave it where it fell.  Admittedly, some of the more considerate campers bagged their trash before throwing it out.  Most just threw it out.  I saw one person empty the sceptic tank from their vehicle straight on to the grassy area behind; a full load of effluent!  How can that be right?

We made our pilgramage, nonetheless.  We had made it to the furthest point north on the European mainland, 71°10′21″N 25°47′04″E.   About 1,300 miles from the North Pole and almost 2,300 miles from home.  And ignoring the car park and the multitude of travellers here, there was was space to stop and contemplate the vastness of what lay beyond in the frozen north.  The cape has a serenity and stillness that you find in great cathedrals, only it is larger, more serene and stiller.  The wind, the crashing waves and the plaintive cry of the gulls are the choir; the hard, bare rock the message from the sermon.  I knelt at the cliff top, faced the sun and gave thanks for being in this place and for making this journey.