Iceland
Moglet in

© Copyright Moglet 2011

27th September

There was a really heavy fog first thing in the morning - just what the solar panels didn’t need while we didn’t have hookup.  It disappeared eventually although the sun didn’t really make an appearance all day.

Staying on the main coast road kept us mostly on tarmac, but we decided to branch off and take a right turn up onto the Skagi peninsular.  More of a track
than road so much slower to drive, but far more likely to have nicer places to stop for the night.  The weather was definitely a lot less pleasant, and drizzle followed us for much of the day (particularly irritating when one of the windscreen wipers squeak).

The area was quite barren, with not much more than the occasional abandoned farm to break up the skyline.  The cliff edges were pretty steep and small waterfalls dotted the coast - with the water falling from the top doomed to never reach the bottom as anything other than a fine mist, thanks to the almost constant strong wind, varied now and again by a really strong gust.
We found ourselves a reasonably flat spot and parked up, then walked up a nearby hill looking for signs of some kind of historical monument.  There's road signs all over the place in Iceland that will direct you down a particular road towards a place name, and the sign will have a kind of Celtic swirl pattern on it.  Trouble is, once you’ve followed the sign, you’re on your own, There’s very rarely anything to indicate exactly what it is you’re supposed to be looking for - sometimes it's a rock formation, other times a turf covered house, you really can't tell.  And once you find ‘it’, there’s never any signs telling you anything about it.  It’s kind of frustrating really.
We both followed a kind of track/footpath up a hill, thinking maybe there was a cairn or some such in the area.  We paused by a couple of half buried stones at the top of the path to catch our breath and have a look around, but all the path seemed to do next was descend down towards the next little hamlet on the track, with nothing of any particular interest to see on the way.  I was busting for a pee by this point, and the low cloud was being driven in from the sea and doing it's damndest to sneak inside my waterproof jacket, so I headed back to Moglet.  Jason decided to have a scramble up the pile of stones that was the continuation of the hillside, and see if he could see anything else from there.

Back in Moglet I got myself sorted out and waited for Jason in the cab.  He came down eventually and said that as far as he could tell, the half buried stones we stopped next to were what we should have been looking for! Hmmm.

By this point it was getting late, I was tired and (apparently!) grumpy, so we decided to sit tight for the night and move on in the morning.

Evening routines played themselves out, and I was sitting in my jimjams reading a book when I heard an exclamation from Jason who was in the shower, then the sound of clattering and bashing as he speedily finished up and came rushing out, jabbering ‘Northern Lights, it’s the Northern Lights!!’   Sure enough, outside and overhead was the amazingly smashing Northern Lights putting on a display, the first one we’d seen since we arrived.  Not knowing what to expect, half thinking the whole thing would vanish within minutes, we both scrambled to get dressed and wrapped up, and rushed outside to see it properly.  And it was truly amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it.  Of course I’ve seen it on telly and looked at photos, but nothing compares to seeing it in real life.  It was bigger and brighter and so much more active than I thought it would be.  I imagined it to be something like a cloud that would kind of gently fade in and fade out again, but it was nothing like that.  There was a strip that started almost out on the horizon and came straight towards us, passing right overhead and nearly making it to the other horizon.  And it wasn’t flat in the sky, it looked like if you imagine a streak of light a few hundred feet above your head, that then gets stretched and streaked upwards until the edges fade away into space, almost like a waterfall but going upwards. And it moved too, which we weren’t expecting.  Not like a cloud that drifts across the sky, although it did do that, but it shimmered and shifted and waved like a curtain caught in the breeze.  The edges rippled and danced and brighter pulses of light flickered along from one end to the other as we watched.  And as if all that wasn’t enough, it then started to have bright pink flashes shimmering through it too!  It was truly an almost other-wordly sight, we couldn’t help but gasp like little kids at a firework display, and I can well imagine why our predecessors were in such awe of it, ascribing it's appearance to all manner of things.

The whole display went on for well over an hour, shifting and shimmering, Jason even had a go at taking a couple of pictures, although without a tripod the results are more of a reminder for us than a clear image of just how incredible a sight it was at the time.  If we’re lucky enough to see it again, we’ll fish out the tripod and try for better pictures.  The trouble is, while you’re staring up and watching it change from second to second, the last thing you want to do it get into Moglet and stick your head in a cupboard for ten minutes looking for something!
Eventually though, it faded away and didn’t come back, so we clambered our way back into Moglet and climbed into bed.  I have no idea what I dreamed about that night, but I remember laying in bed for ages thinking about the Lights and couldn’t stop myself from smiling at just how lovely and unexpected a sight it was.