The August meeting of Brockenhurst Probus Club received a talk by biologist and photographer Gerald Ponting on his experiences touring Iceland in a 4WD.
About 40% the size of the UK, the country is the most sparsely populated in Europe. The total population is a mere 380,000 of which 65% live in metropolitan Reykjavík, a city about the size of Southampton.
While Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, but its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly.
The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, erupting geysers. mountains, waterfalls and glaciers, with the glacial rivers flowing to the sea through the lowlands. This creates many varied vistas for the keen photographer. Jokulsarlon lagoon, full of drifting icebergs, is a famed landscape and the flowers in Akureyri's Botanic Garden form the most northerly botanic garden in the world.
The effects of the volcanic activity influence the whole island – at one hotel guests can even boil their breakfast eggs in a hot spring. Basalt rock formations provided the inspiration for the amazing architecture of Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik contrasting with older buildings.
This presentation was richly illustrated by many excellent photographs. Gerald has toured Iceland in 1965 and showed comparison photographs between his 1965 trip and his 2016 trip. This emphasised just how much tourism has grown in Iceland