Images from the Lofoten Islands and Svalbard. Both these island groups lie within the Arctic Circle. In the Lofoten Islands, spectacular mountains drop straight into the sea and colourful villages and their fishing boats adorn the coastline. Historically, it is the sea that has sustained the life of the people for there is little space for agricultural, to say nothing of the arctic climate. Svalbard, which also has spectacular fjords and mountains, lies more than halfway further on towards the North Pole. It is perhaps best known today as a place to see polar bears. It is also a centre for scientific research. Historically, it was the location of British and Dutch whaling stations, and more recently, of coal mining by the Russians.
All images © Ian McColl