On July 10th our very own Tom Jackson took us all – with some archive photographs – on a trip to Iceland he made whilst a student at Leeds School of Architecture, in 1963. Together with 20 others, he travelled by ancient bus and plane (Vickers Viscount) to Reykjavik and thence by cross-country bus - there were hardly any tarmac roads at that time – to the Hofsjokull central region of the island.
Staying in a wooden Mountain Hut, they then trekked – holding packs with 800 “Senior Service” cigarettes each, donated by a major sponsor – to a camp in a deep gorge in the mountains. The group were botanists, geologists, “adventurers” and surveyors. Tom being one of the latter, their task was to survey the flow of the main outflow glacier for the Royal Geographical Society.
Living off dried powdered fish cakes, according to Tom, were able to take daily readings on the “progress” of the ice by pinpointing the cairns.
Eventually they had to give up due to gale force winds and too many un-crossable rivers; but managed to explore much of Iceland in the remaining time they had.
Tom in his 1963 pose - note the hair!
On one glorious day of sunshine they took the “illegal” opportunity to walk up onto the Ice Cap – initially roped up to jump over lots of crevasses.
They finally returned to the UK after three weeks away after a memorable trip that was followed with great interest by all who heard Tom’s talk and enjoyed his amazing photos.
Footnote: The result of their survey showed the glacier retreating – they thought they had made a bad mistake but The Royal Geographical Society said it confirmed their expectations and Global Warming was starting!