I had a team of sledge dogs in Uummannaq. The short story is we were never meant to have dogs. I mean, I wanted dogs, but we we’re not supposed to have any. Then a friend told us about a hunter friend of theirs who was leaving the island to take a job and was looking for someone to look after his dogs over the winter.
Well, we walked right into that one.
He never returned.
Suddenly we had dogs, of all ages, not trained.
This was tricky, and a humongous learning curve. I grasped at tips and tricks in conversation, but really I hit the books. Believe it or not, I learned a tonne from books about Amundsen and the South Pole. And there I was, at the other end world, reading chapters between sewing harnesses and getting dressed to go and feed the dogs in minus 25 Celsius.
There’s a lot more to this story – me and the dogs, Jane and the dogs, and a lot more photos, even some video – but this blog is about walking the dogs – one or two in particular – and how it was so European, and ultimately weird and sometimes frowned upon by the locals. But the mountain was my backyard and so long as I didn’t bother anyone, it was no problem.
It was also a tonne of fun!
Nansen was my regular walking mate, and we spent a lot of time on Uummannaq mountain.
You’ll see him again. A very photogenic fella, and a good companion.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the light. Uummannaq is way south of Qaanaaq, so even though at this point in November the sun had gone for the year, there was a period of twilight for about 90 minutes each day, getting darker as we got closer and closer to Christmas – the turning point in the winter dark.