A PHOTOGRAPHER has followed in the wake of a legendary Ryedale explorer to capture the immense beauty of Greenland.

Richard Burdon, who lives in Pickering and is a member of Kirkbymoorside Camera Club, recently came back from a week-long trip to Scoresby Sound in east Greenland.

He returned with these stunning images of blue-white icebergs sitting in calm waters, the green glow of the northern lights, and towering rocks illuminated by the low sun.

His journey traced that of Cropton-born sea captain William Scoresby, for whom the Sound was named after he charted it in the early 1800s.

Greenland is a huge country with a sparse population of about 56,000 people.

Most of these people live in small towns and settlements in the more fertile south or on the west coast, but very few people actually live on the east coast, where Scoresby Sound is located.

Richard said: “I first became aware of Greenland a few years ago after watching a programme about Icelandic photographer Ragnar Axelsson who’d documented life in Greenland over 30 years and I became fascinated with the country.

“So, when I got a chance to visit west Greenland in February 2017, I jumped at the chance - but my ultimate dream destination was to visit Scoresby Sound.

“This became a reality in September.”

Scoresby Sound was first mapped by Rev Dr William Scoresby, who was born in Cropton and was son of a famous Whitby whaler.

William sailed aboard his father’s ship Resolution as a child and teenager, as well as studying science at Edinburgh University.

In 1810, he took command of the Resolution, and in September of the next year he married a Miss Lockwood, the daughter of a shipbroker of Whitby.

Over the next 10 years he would undertake voyages to the northern seas to go fishing and whaling, but would also occupy himself with studies of geography, meteorology, magnetism and other sciences.

In 1822, he surveyed and charted 400 miles of Greenland’s east coast, including the fjord which would take his name.

This would be his final voyage - on his return to England he learned of the death of his wife.

The next year he went to Cambridge to study Latin and Greek and he then entered the church.

He died in Torquay in 1857.

Richard went to Scoresby Sound, nearly 200 years after it was first mapped, to capture it with his camera.

After flying to Reykjavik in Iceland, then on to a tiny airstrip in east Greenland, Richard joined the 100-year-old Danish wooden sailing ship, the Donna Wood.

The party spent the first night at the town of Ittoqqortoormiit. This settlement, cut off from the rest of the world by ice for most of the year, is home to just 450 people.

To the north of the town lies the Northeast Greenland national park, and to the south the Scoresby Sound - respectively the largest national park and fjord on Earth.

Richard said: “Greenland is a country of beauty beyond words, like staring into soul of the earth.

It’s also an immense place, so as we sailed around the fjords it was hard to comprehend that there were less than 500 people in a national park covering some 38,000 square kilometres.

“We spent our days marvelling at huge glaciers and sailing amongst icebergs the size and splendour of cathedrals, occasionally taking to the zodiacs to get close-ups of the fascinating ice shapes.”

Zodiacs are the rubber dinghies used by the party to get in amongst the ice floes.

He added: “We landed occasionally too, but always in the presence of an armed guard, for the ever-present fear of bumping into a polar bear.

“We’ve seen a landscape that few travellers beyond explorers have ever witnessed and we were even treated to displays of the northern lights on the final two nights.”

To see more of Richard’s Greenland images, visit his website at rjbphotographic.co.uk