Iceland – Winter has Come
2.2k views | By Marie-Laure Parsy | Last updated on June 19, 2022
February 28th 2017
Winter in our higher latitudes can be harsh. Mentally harsh. After three months of depressive rain, submissing mist and a unwelcome mildness blocking the skies with tepid water, a three-day long depression reduces the island to a non-stop curfew.
Biblical plagues rough up. Armageddon descends onto Earth with pouring globs of charring ire and the skin-chaffing breath of Hell at over 80 knots in gusts.
Then, out of the dark, the Arctic winter rolls in, bringing under its white cape clear, endless skies freezing Iceland’s crunchy crust to a stand-still. Taking advantage of this climatic cease-fire, I accompany a friend of mine on a prehistorical ( some would say “retro” ^^) Cessna 150 along the West coast, sight-sighing Iceland’s riches under a white veil of fluff.
Departing Reykjavik, calm and smoky in the chill, we cruise along the coastline, grazing the sharp side of Mount Esja, the capital’s natural volcanic setting of tuff and brittle basalts. Turning right into Hvalfjörður, a 30km-long fjord east of the town of Akranes, we see turquoise above and sapphire below.
Hidden in its deepest troughs is Glymur, Iceland’s second highest waterfall with a dizzying height of 198m. Behind Hvalfell mountain, the Hvalvatn lake streams into a deep canyon, birthing the waterfall from the dewing of snow.
Heading North-West, we then cross the high grounds of Botnheidi, taking the plunge towards the next fjord over Skorradalsvatn, a narrow 15km-long lake surrounded by high mountains and cradled by foresty shores.
Out of Borgarfjörður, we cruise over snow-covered marshes towards Snæfellsnes, spotting below the 60m-high Eldborg crater.
Brushing tips with Prifjoll and Satuhnukur, we set to explore the line of fjords crowing the North end of the peninsula. Grundarfjördur hides Kirkjufell, an iconic cone-shaped mountain jotting from the sea, a natural twin to Jörmungandr’s fangs.
Over Rif airport and around Snæfellsjökull, a 700,000-year-old glacier-topped stratovolcano, famous for being Jules Verne’s entry point to the subterranean world of “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, we then catch the breeze home.
As the sun falls from its high seat, our bird peacefully glides its way back to Reykjavik airport. We leave our Winter wonderland to the auspices of stars and the dancing caress of polar lights, chasing away the cold’s biting numbness with dazzling tales of flight.
Thanks Guðlaugur Grétar Þorsteinsson for the flight!
Blog: Introspections Nomades – 66 degrees high
Related articles worth reading
How Thomas Fitzpatrick Stole A Plane and Landed on NYC Streets, Twice, Drunk
Landing an aircraft on a public road always makes the headlines. But in 1956, a guy from New York named Thomas Fitzpatrick took it one step further.
7 Incredible Shots by Pilots Flying over Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall 2021 Eruption
Cover photo by Ragnar Axelsson. The eruption occurred on Friday evening near Fagradalsfjall, about 20 miles southwest of...
Flying the Legendary P51 Mustang – SCAT VII
So I have been planning to write this story for the past.. well, year. Procrastination, you gotta love...
Remember Ice Pilots? Mikey McBryan just made his own sequel!
You probably remember Ice Pilots NWT, the Discovery Channel series about Buffalo Airways, a Canadian airline operating vintage...
On September 6th, 2017 my career as a pilot officially began. To celebrate that fact in an appropriate...
About the author
After training as a Researcher in Structural Biology and Biophysics at Oxford, I am undergoing a professional reconversion to combine my love of flying with a sheer passion for exploration. My goal is to fly STOL operations, primarily in the polar regions, but for the next few years, I will be operating the beautiful B737NG for a major European carrier :)