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Lots to do!

21 December 2019

So now I’ve been back almost a month and the road trip is already beginning to feel like a distant memory.

I’ve begun putting the presentation together and as I sort through the images and video clips I’m so glad that I have such a comprehensive record of all the places I visited and the magnificent landscape I experienced. I come across photographs of places that I’d already forgotten about which is not surprising really considering the distance I covered during the journey.

Christmas is approaching and yet my thoughts are concentrated on putting together the story of the past few months whilst I still feel the emotions I experienced in those wonderful places.

My first presentation is for York Photographic Society on 26 February and though it is still two months away I feel an urgency to get the story written and the whole show put together.

A couple of days ago I took the drone out in my local area, on a misty morning and reminded myself that I live in a unique part of the world with its own character and beauty. Despite this, I’m already getting itchy feet and thinking of planning another road trip, but it certainly won’t be for at least another year. 2021 look out ‘cos I’m coming at ya, I just don’t know where yet. That’s for later, for now, I must concentrate on “A Scandinavian AdVANture”.

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Welcome To My Blog

Published by John Illingworth Photography

A photographer from the YORK area of the UK, I love to travel. My passsion is in landscape photography, though I also find myself photographing architecture, wildlife, abstract and pretty much anything that pleases my eye.

Currently on a four month road trip around Scandinavia, mainly northern Norway. I intend to reach the northernmost point of the European mainland called Knivskjelodden and then explore as much of Norway as I can, including a long stay in the Lofoten Islands.

#AScandinavianAdVANture #vanlife #ilovescandinavia #landscapephotography #zerotohero #myfirstblog #livingthedream #doitwhileyoucan #justdoit

What is ‘normal’ life?

20 January 2020

So I’m back to what’s usually called ‘normal’ life. So normal life for me has consisted, for the past six weeks or so, of editing the images and video clips I brought back from the Scandinavian AdVANture. That’s 15,000 images and around 8 hours of video.

I’m putting together a presentation of the whole journey and I have to edit all that material down to around one and a half hours and write a script for it. Now that might sound like I’m complaining, trust me I’m not!

I’m finding the whole process fascinating and addictive. The challenge is trying to avoid spending twelve hours a day in front of the computer, although I do have a deadline in that I’m committed to making the presentation in front of YORK Photographic Society at the end of February and that will be its first public outing.

I calculate that I’m about a third of the way to completion, so not too far behind. However, this week I have various appointments that I can’t cancel or postpone, so I’m not going to get much further with the project.

Today the van is in the workshop of Thistle Rose Leisure in Skipton having one replacement and one new solar panel fitted. Whilst waiting for that I’m having coffee in Morrison’s cafe – living the dream! I guess that’s ‘normal’ life. Rock ‘n’ Roll !!

Living the Dream!

The last night of the Scandinavian AdVANture in Europe

Wednesday 20 November 2019

So here it is. My last night on the continent on my Scandinavian AdVANture. This epic journey is reaching it’s conclusion and I’ll be heading for Rotterdam and the ferry home tomorrow.

It has been life changing for me and has made far more of an impression on me than I envisaged.

I have been overwhelmed by some of nature’s most spectacular landscape and I have found that I am very much emotionally involved in the landscape and nature’s importance in my life. I have gained a very small insight into the way that Scandinavian people live, particularly those in the far north and the journey has reinforced my belief that travel is the most important part of any person’s education. If we don’t meet and communicate with other peoples and cultures, in their own country, then we become xenophobic and remain ignorant of the other’s point of view.

A couple of facts and figures –

After over 500 hours of driving I have covered over 14,100 miles (22,700 kilometres) and visited 6 countries, 4 of them twice and 2 of them three times!

Not forgetting that I have made the 12 mile walk to the most northerly point of the European mainland, Knivskjelodden, and raised £1095 for the Alzheimer’s Society in the process. I must say here that I am so grateful to all those lovely people who contributed to my donation pages. Thank you.

I do feel guilty about the amount of pollution I’ve caused by making this journey but when I compare it with the amount of HGVs on the road, my minuscule contribution is put into context.

I’m currently in a rest area in the small Dutch town of Zaltbommel (love that name, it could only be Dutch!) and I’m going to get my head down and leave early in the morning to make my way to Rotterdam.

I’m hoping to get an exhibition together sometime next year of the images I’ve captured and I’m creating a couple of different presentations of the Scandinavian AdVANture. Details in the New year.

Thank you Scandinavia, it’s been a blast!

Heading home

Monday 18 November 2019

Saw Fi to the airport to catch her flight home and I began the journey home.

This journey will take me three days and I’m now in a rest area just west of Odense on the E20 near a village called Skallebolle.

This part of the journey I’m not really looking forward to. The landscape is flat and mainly agricultural. For the most part of the last four months I’ve been on a real natural high and now I really feel I’m coming down to earth to return to my “normal” everyday life.

So I’m heading to Rotterdam via the fastest and easiest route.

Copenhagen Weekend

15-18 November 2019

I had a fantastic weekend in Copenhagen with Fiona. It began on Friday when we went straight to our AirB&B very close to the centre of the city. It was very small (with the smallest bathroom in the world!!) but good for a couple of nights and we won’t be spending much time in it anyway.

Our AirB&B was in the building on the left and our favourite bakery was just across the street.

Just across the street was a superb bakeri selling the most delicious cinnamon buns amongst other things.

Friday evening and we had a walk into the city centre about 15 minutes away. It was buzzing despite the chilly weather.

Saturday we spent exploring the city and found it to be a wonderful capital city with art, history and Christmas markets. Here are some images from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum that houses many sculptures by Rodin and others.

We visited the magnificent Copenhagen Royal Library, where ancient and modern architecture have been brought together to create a wonderful space for learning or to just admire. See below.

A visit to the central market proved very interesting

We also had a good look around the Christmas Markets (there were several) and booked tickets to visit Tivoli Gardens on Sunday.

Sunday we had a real good look around the city and found some of the murals that it’s famous for.

After working up an appetite with alot of walking we made our way to the parliament building and the restaurant on the top floor called the Tower. This is quite an exclusive place to eat and Fi had booked lunch there before she flew into Denmark. The place and the food was superb.

After being well fed we resumed our tour of the city and came across a Leonard Cohen exhibition and went inside.

It has an interesting exhibit comprising a keyboard which played a different line from one of Cohen’s poems, in Cohen’s own voice, when you played a different key.

The autumn colours were still apparent as we walked around the city.

After a beer in the bar just around the corner from our apartment, we decided to call it a day.

Monday and all too soon it’s time for Fiona to catch her flight back to the UK and for me to go and collect the Silver Fox for the drive to Rotterdam and the ferry back home. I made sure I had a proper cinnamon bun and a coffee for breakfast and off we went to the railway station for our train to the airport.

Falsterbo, Kolabacken National Park, Skåne

Sunday 10 November 2019

After doing some research on everybody’s favourite search engine I thought it may be interesting to go to Falsterbo, and the Kolabacken National Park there. This is a long sliver of land that sticks out into Øresund just south of Malmo and the Øresund bridge. The Kolabacken National Park is a bird reserve and is famous for migrating birds of many kinds passing through on their long journey.

On the map above you can see Falsterbo Nature Reserve to the south. North of that, the E20 is the Øresund bridge, famous for it’s role in the TV series “The Bridge”.

Falsterbo, Kolabacken National Park, Skåne, Sweden

During the summer this area is also a sanctury for breeding grey seals and is closed off to visitors until the end of October.

Sunset on the Falsterbo, Kolabacken, National Park, Sweden

I have more content to place on this blog and will update it as soon as I can.

Rain, rain, rain!

Saturday 9 November 2019

It was pouring with rain but I thought that might give the trees in the woodland more of a sheen, so I returned to Stenshuvuds National Park and with waterproofs on I set off into the wood.

I climbed to the top of a small hill in the nature reserve and saw that the mist was moving into the wood, off the sea. It was just what I wanted. I’m not good at woodland photography, so I found it very difficult to find compositions but took the opportunity to try the tips I had gained from watching all those Simon Baxter videos. I did get two or three images I am really pleased with. I hope you like them.

But the rain has to stop sometime and this evening I just got a few brief moments on the beach at Stenshuvuds when the rain stopped and the setting sun made an appearance and changed the light dramatically.

Stenshuvuds beach at sunset

It was well worth trudging through the rain soaked forest and I went to another National Park to find a place to wild camp, Sandhammaren. Again this was almost on the beach and was nice and quiet at this time of year.

Ancient Stones and Woodland

Thursday 7 November 2019

I drove to the south coast of Sweden today and visited a historical site called Ales Stenar. This is a 3500 year old stone circle in the shape of a viking ship and was used, it is believed, as a calendar for various ceremonies throughout the year.

Ales Stenar

A really interesting place and I spent a couple of hours there. I thought it might be a good place to return to when the light was better. So I moved on to Stenshuvuds National Park on the south east coast of Sweden and I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful forest they were looking after there. It was adjacent to the sea and had a beautiful sandy beach in addition to the forest. The autumn leaves were still clinging on in some places.

It was getting dark and I thought I may get some better images if I returned the following day.

Heading South Again!

Sunday 3 November 2019

The decision to once again head south was a good one. I woke this morning to a light covering of snow and noticed that the butane cooking gas I use was beginning to freeze. Time to move to slightly warmer climes!

Østerholtheia rest area

I drove south east and headed for Sweden and the marina site that I’d stayed in before.

Lindesnes Lighthouse

Saturday 2 November 2019

I do seem to have developed a real interest in lighthouses on this trip. I think it’s becasue of the remote landscape that many of them are built on. Today I visited the lighthouse at Lindesnes at the most southerly point on the Norwegian mainland.

There is an extremely good visitor centre there and the whole history of the place is fascinating and is described in the centre with a museum and a cinema showing a couple of very well produced short films. If you get the chance I thoroughly recommend you pay a visit. I did and signed the visitors book inside the lighthouse.

Lindesnes lighthouse on the most southerly point of the Norwegian mainland

This lighthouse is still operational and is staffed by two keepers who work two weeks and two weeks off. I have created a video of my visit to the lighthouse and I will post that when I get home and have more bandwith to do so.

I continued my journey and made my way to the E18 to slowly make my way back to Sweden as I could see that the weather was really beginning to turn wintry and I didn’t want to stuck up in the mountains of this National Park.

I found a rest area in the Gjerstad kommune called, Østerholtheia and decided this would be a good place to wild camp for the night.

November already!

Friday 1 November 2019

November already, means I have just 22 days left of this epic road trip and it seems to have gone by so fast, as I always knew it would. I have really tried to observe, appreciate and retain all the amazing places and landscapes I have seen. So here we go with the rest of the Scandinavian AdVANture.

Whilst driving along route 44 today I came across what seemed like an out of place war memorial. It commemorated four New Zealand airmen who died whilst on a raid on Jossingfjord just three days before the end of the war in 1945. You can read about the story in more detail here. This memorial is on an extremely steep cliff face where the road passes between two tunnels.


We must never forget how much sacrifice our freedom cost.