Denmark December 2009

Finished my travelling for 2009 by spending a week in western Denmark - which got the same heavy pre-Christmas fall of snow that hit southern England, but where low temperatures ensured that the snow covering persisted to Christmas and well beyond.

The Danes have a much stricter definition of a 'White Christmas' than do we Brits.  In Denmark (I'm told) there needs to be 1 cm of snow covering 90% of the country - rather than the occasional snowflake floating around somewhere in the country at some point on the 25th December.  2009 was the first Danish White Christmas for 14 years.

I learnt lots about what makes a traditional Danish Christmas celebration - there's plenty of food and drink involved - and huge amounts of rice pudding. :-)

We had a very picturesque arrival in Esbjerg as the ferry needed to push it's way through lots of sea ice to reach the harbour, bringing back images from both Greenland and the Antarctica.  Are DFDS ferries ice rated?

The most dramatic landmark near where we were staying is Elia ( - a modern sculpture / lightning conductor / artificial volcano which occasionally spouts forth flames.  It declined to erupt while we watched.

Denmark December 2009

Cairngorms National Park December 2009

Big Cat Diary - Scottish-style: Lynx, Amur Tiger and Highland Wildcat. These are three of the attractions currently in the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie in the Cairngorms National Park. My only previous visit to the Highland Wildlife Park was sometime in the mid-70's just after the park opened, at that time their focus was to showcase wildlife that would (at some time at least) have been visible in the Highlands. The Park is now part of Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and has seen several recent migrants come up the A9 from Edinburgh Zoo.

The Park now has a family of Amur Tigers and most recently a polar bear called Mercedes in residence, and I gather there are plans to move more 'tundra' species further north too (presumably on the assumption that the Cairngorms are a little closer to tundra than can be realistically achieved in Corstorphine).

My brief trip up to the Cairngorms was driven by the desire to see a Highland Tiger (aka Wildcat) - as a result of sponsoring one earlier in the year, and by the need to fit in at least one trip to Scotland in 2009.

The light wasn't great for photography, but a few snaps follow. I'll try and get back early next year when there is some snow on the ground.

Cairngorms December 2009

My guides around the park were GoWild-Scotland - thanks to Aaron for his guidance in making the best of the available light.