Leader’s review: Frank Ryding looks back on his expeditions in Greenland
Scoresby Sund is a land of contrast – a vast roughly square area of wilderness of almost 200 miles on each side, with high fjords surrounding the huge mass of Milne Land Island in the middle.
In winter it is frozen solid but in summer it’s more like a Scottish autumn – the lower slopes burst into a short-lived explosion of greens, yellows and reds as grasses, flowers and dwarf-willow shrubs make use of the 24 hour daylight.
In small covered launches we explored the labyrinth of fjords, delighting in the seal, narwal, bird life and the staggering scenery, including Hallbredning Fjord where hundreds of intricately shaped icebergs, many larger than houses, process imperceptibly forward. At Øfjord we saw glaciers coming down the sides every few hundred metres; some as wide as motorways leading up into the mists, others small, impossibly steep, like static frozen waterfalls.
From Rypefjord we walked the five miles across the hills to Harefjord. No paths or sign of human existence at all here, but the spectacular sight below us of the ice floes glistening in the late afternoon sun. During the week in this incredible wilderness we met only three Norwegian fishermen and a family of hunting Inuit.