Three Kirks and a Kirkufell!

Camera: Panasonic DC-G9M2 | Date: 21-02-2024 17:56 | Resolution: 14672 x 3967 | ISO: 400 | Exp. bias: 0 EV | Exp. Time: 1/80s | Aperture: 8.0 | Focal Length: 24.0mm (~48.0mm) | Location: Kirkjufellsfoss | State/Province: Grundarfjordur | See map

Ideally, don’t get a cold when you’re in Iceland. If you must, make sure you have enough of your preferred cold medication. If you’ve failed on that, then you really, really don’t want to discover it on Saturday morning. In Iceland’s smaller towns the pharmacies close over the weekend. We then discovered at 2pm on Monday that Vik’s is only open 9-1. At 9 on Tuesday we discovered that the Vik pharmacy don’t do any over the counter sales, and then at lunchtime we discovered in a larger pharmacy in Selfoss that none of them sell what we’d recognise as cold remedies!

Fortunately my own stock of lemsips lasted just long enough to get me through the worst, and the pharmacist in Selfoss took pity on me and sold me a couple of tablets "for a good night’s sleep" which I took on Tuesday night. I was asleep within minutes and 9 hours later I woke up feeling somewhat refreshed and ready for the day. Now all I need to find is an English translation of the Icelandic-only leaflet and find out just what’s in them!

Wednesday dawned cold and with snow falling steadily. We set off on the drive along the north of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, but what should have been our first stop at Kirkufell was abandoned because we couldn’t see the car park from the road. Lee wisely decided to cut our losses and drive the long way around the south of the peninsula, where the weather was a bit better, and we finally fetched up at Búðir church, which we photographed with snow driving in the foreground and enormous waves breaking for hundreds of yards behind the beach. Kirk 1.

Búðir church (Show Details)

The next stop was the small town of Arnarstapi where we got an excellent fish & chip lunch, and photographed interesting rock stacks around the harbour, and waves crashing through a natural arch a short distance away. We then proceeded to the pretty red-roofed church at Stóra-Hella. This works very well if there’s snow on the ground but clear skies, whereas we were trying to get our shots in driving snow. Characterful, but not quite the shots we imagined. Kirk 2.

In sharp contrast the next town, Enni, is home to a striking, modern and very geometrical church. I think it works well with a monochrome treatment. Kirk 3.

Enni church (Show Details)

A short distance up the road we passed a cliff covered in tumbling ice-falls. I asked to stop and got some wonderful images, but for some reason there were few other takers. All kirked-out?

Roadside ice at Búlandsgil (Show Details)

However the main event was still to come. We had completely circled Snæfellsjökull at the end of the peninsula, and worked our way back to Kirkufell, which was now clear and bathed in the light of the setting sun. There were countless images to be made, but the classic one of the mountain in the background and the waterfall in the fioreground worked very well when I was able to quickly grab a shot without too many other people in it.

Kirkjufellsfoss (Show Details)
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