We have a strange attraction to geographical extremities, don’t we? There’s a fascination with being the most Westerly person in Britain, or the most Northerly individual in Mauritius or whatever.
Regular readers will know that I like to spend quite a bit of time down by the Southernmost point in Africa. And actually, there’s something quite sobering about wandering down past the cairn there, turning to face North and knowing that each and everyone of the more than one billion inhabitants of the continent are in front of you. Even regularer readers will know that I hold the record for having written the most Southerly blog post on the continent.
For all that I love the place, it’s disappointingly nondescript. No towering cliffs, no jutting prominence (careful now). It’s flat and if there wasn’t the little monument there, you’d be hard pressed to identify the particular bit of coastline which is the official tip of Africa. And maybe that’s why so many tourists think that it’s Cape Point that matters, but for all it’s rugged beauty, including towering cliffs and jutting prominence, it loses huge marks for only being “the most southwesterly” point of Africa.
What does that even mean?
The most Southerly village in Iceland – as we all know – is Vík í Mýrdal. I bring that up because they’ve got a big, black beach and a stack there, as shown in this 8 second exposure:
Iceland has always been one of those places that I would love to visit, and if I ever do get to go there, Vík í Mýrdal (population 318) will certainly be one of the places I will want to see. Aside from the dramatic landscapes, other reasons to visit Vík í Mýrdal include it being the warmest place in Iceland with an annual mean temperature of 5.3°C, as well as the long overdue eruption of the Katla volcano which experts feel, when it occurs, will completely obliterate the village by melting the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which lies over the volcanic site.
Should this ever happen, much may be made of the fact that only the church survived the flash flood. But this is merely because it’s built on higher ground, just outside the village, rather than any divine intervention.