What better thing to do on a cold and miserable day than to look through ones photographic library in search of something that you may find interesting. In this instance I have stumbled across some photos of my visit, back in 2006, to the Ascension and Falkland Islands.
As you will probably be aware the Falkland Islands lie in the South Atlantic. To get there from the UK, by air, we have to either – fly over to somewhere like Santiago, then on down to Punta Arenas before catching a twice weekly flight across to Stanley. OR – fly down to Ascension, on a military (RAF) flight out of the UK, to refuel. Then on down to Stanley.
I chose the most direct route for the outward journey and came back the longer way. The military flights allow a proportion of civilians on board. Indeed as the Falkland’s has a garrison based there the numbers of civilians using this route is quite high. If asked my preferred route, the answer would be very simple. The long way every time.
As my travel was work based I was fortunate enough to have to break my journey in Georgetown, Ascension Island. This, however, meant waiting for the next flight to take me on down to the Falklands some three/four days later, depending upon the weather.
My business took the best part of a day so I was left plenty of time to look around the island. Luckily for me my visit coincided with the annual leatherback turtle egg laying on one of the beaches 100m from my hotel. In the dark of the night these huge, 1m to 1.5 m diameter, turtles trundle up from the waters edge and dig an enormous hole to lay their eggs. This done they drag themselves back down to the water and swim away.
So having spent a wonderful few days it was time to head off for the Falklands.
This land mass is split into two, East and West Falkland, with Stanley being the main town on the West. It takes between 40 to 60 minutes to travel from the airport, Mount Pleasant, to Stanley with hotels and lodgings. Locals are incredibly friendly and helpful and there are small restaurants and pubs in the town with a few shops thrown in.
The first thing one notices is the wind. It blows and then it really blows until you have to lean into it or be blown over. There are very few trees on the Islands although this is made up for by the number of sheep. I was told (by an island vet) that this is the first and only “organic” sheep. I’m still not sure about that.
After a few days I was struck by the quality of the light. It was just so intense, even very early in the mornings. You just felt energised into getting out there and travelling around the place. A 4×4 is a must and it is reasonably easy to hire one from the local garage.
I have been lucky enough to visit twice and I can honestly say that is one of the best places I have ever been. Yes I would certainly go back again. (A tip to anyone though – if you fly come via Punta Arenas. The alternative is truly awful).
Well I think that’s about it for this post.