Wednesday 15 March 2017

The Journey South

Not much snow, but a pleasant day for avalanche forecasting in Glen Coe
I am aware that I have not posted much on my blog for a while. The reason for this is that I have not been up to very much that I have felt inspired to write about. My main activity for the past six months seem to have been working and DIY. The winter was a poor one and I only managed one winter route, and that was back in November. However, the lack of snow during January and February did not bother me nearly as much as it once would have done. The weather was often quite settled, and I had some lovely days pottering about in the sunshine for work. 

However, recently things have changed and I am currently writing this post from Rothera. Rothera is the largest of the British Antarctic bases and is located at about 67 degrees South on  Adelaide island just off the Antarctic peninsular. I will also be my home for the next 8 months or so. This will be right right through the Antarctic winter. I sure this experience will provide me with plenty to write about as well as some good pictures.  
My flatmate Andy organised a bit of a leaving party, people came round to eat cake and drink beer, it was good. 
The journey South started in early March. On Friday the 3rd of March I closed the front door of my
house in Fort William, passed the key onto a friend who will be moving into my room, and started driving East. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the hills looked great in recent layer of snow. I stopped, took a photo, but did not feel the FOMO, I would be seeing plenty of winter where I was going. 
The view from the plane of the very Southern tip of South America. Visible is the famous beagle passage, and just out of shot to the right is Cape Horn. 
I spent the weekend with my parents in Aviemore, and on the Sunday evening took the sleeper from there to London. I had never traveled on the sleeper before, and was suitably impressed. After a good night's sleep, I got off at Euston station around 8am. From there I made my way out to Heathrow, where I met up with another couple of BAS people heading South. Unfortunately our flight to Madrid was cancelled, and the airline seemed to have issues with our tickets. This took about 2 hours to sort out, and due to this and the plane we were eventually booked onto being late, we missed our connection at Madrid to Santiago. This meant we had 24 hours to wait in Madrid, but this was not too much of a problem, it was a pleasant city to wander around for a day.

The next day we got our flight to Santiago, and from there onto Punta Areanas near the Southern tip of South America. The next day the weather was good, and so BAS were able to fly us from Punta to Rothera, my home for the next 8 months. It will be interesting to see what those eight months brings. 

A penguin having a good scratch. I took this just round the corner from Rothera, and although it is may is not much to do with this post, everybody loves a good penguin picture, so I thought I would put it in.