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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Historic photo -- Oxford Icelandic Expedition 1960


If anybody wondered where all this interest in ice and glaciers came from, it all dates back to 1960 when my mate David Sugden and I decided to mount an intrepid expedition to Iceland.  This pic was taken in my room in Jesus College, Oxford, while we were getting all our gear together.  There's young we look......

In the valley of Kaldalon in NW Iceland I met my first glacier, and it was love at first sight.  Some people hate glaciers, but luckily I have never had any seriously bad experiences on them, so I am probably biased or starry-eyed. (Never been in a crevasse, but there have been episodes of extreme discomfort, not to mention exhaustion in connection with whiteouts and horrible conditions around the firn line........)  Maybe my good luck has something to do with the fact that I have always treated glaciers with the utmost respect, and have never taken stupid risks.

After that 1960 expedition we actually managed to get a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, Geografiska Annaler, so we were very chuffed.   It wasn't very learned or original, and I suppose the Editor published it just in order to encourage us, but that was the start of quite a few other adventures, not to mention two academic careers!


4 comments:

TonyH said...

Brian, hope watching repeats of Michael Palin's "Ripping Yarns" recently on BBC4 helped to urge you to show us your College photo from yesteryear, and to recall your first stirring meeting with a glacier.

A recent episode from 1979, "Roger of the Raj", recounted Roger Bartlesham's sexual awakening in colonial India.

ND Wiseman said...

Brian,

Obviously the key to any successful Expedition is the ready availability of Sterilized Nestle's Cream and the requisite sensible shoes ...

Which one of these intrepid lads is you?

Neil

BRIAN JOHN said...

No comment on sexual awakenings....... and I'm the one with the tie and the shovel, signifying a desire to be posher than I actually am, and an ability to dig deep holes.

TonyH said...

Or did you originally need that shovel in your College room at Oxford to tackle unusually large bluebottle (apologies to Harry Secombe fans) flies?