Photographer follows in footsteps of Whitby whaling captain Scoresby

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In 1822, Whitby whaling captain William Scoresby was the first European to map the area of east Greenland that was to become known as Scoresby Sound in honour of his pioneering work in the area.

Fast forward 200 years and local photographer Richard Burdon has recently returned from a trip to Scoresby Sound, travelling in the wake of William Scoresby on a 100-year-old Danish sailing ship the Donna Wood.

Greenland is a huge country with a tiny population of only 56,000 people.

Most of these people live in small towns and settlements in the fertile south or on the west coast, but very few people actually live on the east coast where Scoresby Sound is.

So why travel to such a cold, remote place?

Well, I first became aware of Greenland a few years ago after watching a program about Icelandic photographer Ragnar Axelsson who’d documented life in Greenland over 30 years and I became fascinated with the country.

So, when I got a chance to visit west Greenland in February 2017, I jumped at the chance, but living so close to Scoresby’s home town of Whitby, my ultimate dream destination was to visit Scoresby Sound and this became a reality in September 2018.

We flew to Reykjavik in Iceland, then flew on to a tiny airstrip in east Greenland where we joined the sailing ship Donna Wood.

We spent the first night at the town of Ittoqqortoormiit (pictured top) which has only 450 inhabitants and is cut off from the rest of the world by ice for most of the year and has recently been voted the third most isolated town to live in the world!

Greenland is a country of beauty beyond words, like staring into soul of the earth.

It’s also an immense place, so as we sailed around the fjords it was hard to comprehend that there were less than 500 people in a national park covering some 38,000 square kilometres.

We spent our days marvelling at huge glaciers and sailing among icebergs the size and splendour of cathedrals, occasionally taking to the zodiacs to get close-ups of the fascinating ice shapes.

Landing occasionally too, but always in the presence of an armed guard, for the ever-present fear of bumping into a polar bear.

We’ve seen a landscape that few travellers beyond explorers have ever witnessed and we were even treated to displays of the northern lights on the final two nights.

Click here to see more of Richard’s Greenland images,