I’ve amassed hundreds – thousands – of photos from my travels around the Nordic countries. Only one was good and relevant enough to be included in the finished edition of The Northern Silence – the image of Sade Kamppila and Viivi Roiha I took during Silence Festival in Kaukonen (Plate 6).

Here I’ll post some more, each with some relevance to the text itself.


Chapter 1, Landfall, describes my first visit to the fjords of western Norway, when the whole area was so shrouded in mist I could hardly see a thing. ‘Only on subsequent visits could I fill in the blanks: the colossal peaks, sheer hillsides and serene snaking fjords’ (p.13).

This shot is from one of those subsequent visit – made three years later in September 2009. It’s a view of the Stalheim Canyon, from the coach that takes visitors on a winding mountainside road from the village of Gudvangen to the fjordside town of Voss.

Sauna party

The sauna party at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (p.31) was an experience I will never forget. Until you’ve spent an entire night at one of these parties, I’m not quite sure you can really comprehend the combination of wildness and oneness with the earth that lies at the heart of the Finnish psyche.

I was with another British journalist at the time, Jonathan Wikeley (known these days as an organist, choir-trainer and music editor). He has his back to the camera in this first photo, taken at around 3am. A few hours later, just before we made it to bed, we took this shot using my camera’s timer, sitting at the end of the little jetty that heads out into the lake. Looks like I still have a ‘sauna beer’ on the go.