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Posted on November 8, 2019
Chris jumped at the chance to take part in this exciting exploratory ride. Read about her adventures in Greenland, land of glaciers and fjords…
Accompanied by a team of intrepid explorers (seasoned In The Saddle guests) I was excited to visit Greenland with our exploratory ride.
As we flew into the small airport at Narsarsuaq, the plane dipped lower and we saw our first icebergs. This was it, we had arrived in Greenland! Our host and guide Piitaq met us at the airport and after a short bus ride to the harbour we loaded our bags on Piitaq’s boat and jumped aboard. Within minutes we were heading up the fjord, past icebergs on our way to Inneruulalik Farm.
It was an adventure in itself getting to the guesthouse. There was no jetty and so we had to haul the bags up and over the rocks. These were then taken by truck to the guesthouse, whilst we were able to stretch our legs on the short walk; very welcome after the flight. Inneruulalik Guesthouse nestles under the hill on the cultivated land around the farmhouse. Our hosts Piitaq and Naasu live in the blue house, whilst the green house is kept for visiting family. Houses in Greenland are very colourful!
After a comfortable evening we were keen to meet our horses the next morning. The Icelandic Horse is a particular favourite of mine and well suited to life in Greenland, where the farmers use them in the mountains to tend their sheep. We helped to get the horses ready and were soon on our way, following a dirt trail inland.
We stopped for lunch at Qassiarsuk, the ancient Norse settlement of Leif Eriksson, and had time to visit the site of Tjodhilde’s Church (named after Leif Eriksson’s mother, and wife of Erik the Red).
There were some stunning views as we made our way to Sermilik hostel. The next day we rode out from Sermilik hostel to the glacier view point. It was good to take a break in this peaceful yet dramatic place, but we soon rode on again. There is something quite dreamlike about riding along a beach scattered with icebergs!
The pace of the riding wasn’t fast. Although we were following dirt roads for some of the time, these were very stony and not the ideal place to pick up the pace. But none of us minded, the views and quietness gave us plenty to think about.
As we rode into the hills around the farm, we certainly learned how well these little horses cope off road. This is when the horses come into their own during the sheep round up in the autumn; there are no tracks to follow but they are sure in every step.
Our guides were very good at finding the most scenic spots to stop for a break. Whilst we gazed in awe at the glaciers and fjords, when the sun shone our guides, and assisting sheepdog, found it the perfect spot for relaxing.
It is said that a picture paints a thousand words, and I hope that is true as I am struggling to find adjectives to describe just how beautiful this country is. Although the riding wasn’t fast. There were opportunities to trot, tolt and canter, and you do need to be a competent rider as this really is a very remote area. But the pace of the ride is not what this adventure is about. Each one of us on the trip took something away with them, not least an appreciation of the hard life the Greenlanders have, how they meet adversity with good humour, and the warm welcome they give to visitors. I felt privileged to be riding where few tourists have been. If you have a spirit of adventure and are willing to sacrifice a few home comforts, then this is the trip for you too!