When my friends asked me to organise an adventure holiday last Christmas, the Arctic Circle wasn’t really what they had in mind, but to cut a long story short, six months later and we found ourselves on an epic eighteen hour train journey from Oslo to the top of Norway.
As we disembarked into an empty rail yard in Bodo, there were one or two curious glances in my direction so much as to say, “Are you sure about this, Ryan?” Luckily, I’d never been more certain of anything in my life. We boarded a boat and inched our way across the seas of Vestfjord towards the indomitable peaks of Moskenes which grew larger and larger on the horizon. For all intents and purposes, it felt like we were sailing towards the edge of the earth.
The attraction for my friends and I in visiting the islands at this time of year was the presence of the midnight sun. Between May 26th and July 17th time ceases hold much significance in this part of the world with many hikers, kayakers and what other few tourists there are often choosing to set out on their activities in the hours leading up to and after midnight. Climbing one of the many peaks in the area under such soft light is magical and a treat for any landscape photographer or nature lover.
For the week we were there we chose to base ourselves in Hamnøy. This is the oldest fishing village on the entire archipelago and some of the former cabins which used to house the local fishermen have now been converted into tourist accommodation. These huts are known locally as Rorbuer.
Whilst the village itself is perfectly situated for exploring the surrounding area, the lack of regular public transport to commute between places means you probably want to hire a boat, like we did. For three days we sailed the various fjords, climbed some of the more popular peaks and hiked to some of Lofoten’s most beautiful beaches. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and at times the water was like glass, casting the most beautiful mountain reflections I’d ever seen.
Whilst this was first and foremost a photographic expedition for me, it ended up turning into a memorable life experience. You have to visit these islands in June for yourself to understand what it’s like to be in a place where there is endless daylight. It’s true that once you leave and return home you feel sleep deprived, but for the time you’re in Lofoten the continual presence of the sun undoubtedly gives you and energy that forces you to be outside and productive at all hours.
About Ryan Simpson
Ryan Simpson is an amateur landscape photographer from County Down, Northern Ireland. Though a Junior Architect, he spends nearly all of his spare time either out on a shoot or planning the next one. In the future he hopes to concentrate more on adventure and travel photography, with a particular focus on the Polar regions.