Silent Sunday….and off to Church (sort of)



The beach at Hesteyri, Hornstrandir, Iceland

It was one of those Icelandic summer days we had been warned of…..a milky sky of low cloud that would remain with us all day.  Not the weather we had hope for on our highspeed boat trip from Isafjordur.  A boat, or a very, very long hike in is the only way to get to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and the deserted village of Hesteyri and area located on the north west coat of Iceland.

In the 19th century this was once a Whaling Station and because of its remoteness a community was built up around it. In 1915 Whaling ceased and the village turned to Herring Fishing and Farming for its income.  As was the way, fishing declined and left only a meagre farming existence which came to an end in 40’s.  The village itself was deserted by 1956.


As a Nature Reserve, Hornstrandir is just perfect.  Summer visitors only and now well and truly overgrown during the short summer with wild flowers and scrub.

What is left behind is a handful of houses (now used as summer getaways) and a few remains of Hesteyri village…the most obvious to be found is the graveyard and a short stubby Bell Tower housing the Bell from the Church.  As to the Church.. well that was dismantled and taken to Sudavik in the 50’s



Despite its remoteness, or perhaps even because of its remote location, Hesteyri and Hornstrandir still attract a good number of summer visitors.  There are Boat Trips from Isafjordur and a Wildlife Guide to help you make the most of your visit. Those undertaking the trek have a long way to walk across wild countryside surround by mountains where the snow never vanished.  But at least at one of the remaining houses, The Doctors House, they can top up a few basic supplies and enjoy some simple refreshments in a unique location…… a location now so quiet but once so busy.


Despite the grey cap of milky cloud remaining with us all day it could not detract from the remote beauty and the feeling that you were treading in the footsteps of what must have been a very hardy community where surviving would have been tough at the best.

24th June

(C) David Oakes 2018



Cees Black & White Photo Challenge – Animals

DOI_3563 bw

The Town Musicians of Bremen

Cees Challenge this week is Animals…any animal except birds…so I have cheated – but I don’t think a Cockerel realy is a bird.

This is a fabulous statue in the Town Square of Bremen, Germany.  The animals (or should I say musicians!) can all be found in the Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm.  It is an old story dating back to 1819 and if you are not familiar with it I suggest a visit to Wikipedia and you will discover all the details you will need about this great little story.

Anyway cheating or not…it is my submission for Cees B&W Photo Challenge.  You can see what others have submitted on this link:-


23rd June

(C) David Oakes 2018

A Mid-Summer Treat…..


Broomfield Hall Gardens, Derbyshire

Yesterday was Mid-Summer and the weather was about as perfect as one could wish for. But we were also in for a treat…our Grandson Matthew, who is a student at Broomfield Hall, a part of Derby College, invited us to take a tour of part of the Walled Garden that have recently been restored.  Bromfield was once a ‘gentleman’s residence’  built in the 1870’s and the Scottish Garden designer William Barron was commissioned in 1880 to landscape the gardens on the 425 acre estate.

Over the centuries the Hall has had a mixed heritage.  Shortly after WW2 the Estate became an Agricultural College and now has a broad remit of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care.  As for the extensive gardens they had become neglected but slowly but surely they are being restored by both volunteers and students. I am told that despite the passage of time the garden layout and indeed the whole estate boundaries and field structure is the same today as in the 1880’s.


Many of the plants are raised in the gardens nursery by the Horticultural Students.


It is still work in progress so we will have to return at intervals to see just what they have instore for us.

It should also be mentioned that the Head Gardener was invited with the College to create a Long Border at the recent RHS Chatsworth Garden Show.  It was the first time they had taken part and to the teams credit they were awarded a Silver Medal…not bad!

22nd June

(C) David Oakes 2018

Mid-Summers Day….the Solstice


An Arctic Summer Sunset

Taken a few years ago, I thought that this image of the sun going down at mid-summer over the Arctic Circle would make a fitting statement to honour the Summer Solstice.

Halfway through the year already…but maybe the best is yet to come.

21st June

(C) David Oakes 2018

We are getting into a weather pattern…


The day finishes well…and far better than we expected.

For quite a few days now (over a week) the mornings have been dull at there very best.


The about midday the sun comes out bright and cheerful to say hello!


Then gently fades away as dusk descends…….


20th June

(C) David Oakes 2018