Welcome... Velkommen


This is my, Oliver Grant's, re-vamped Blog, which I originally created for my trip to the Arctic way back in 2011 (hence the name).

Since then I have graduated from the University of Reading, entered the world of work with Hertfordshire County Council, and then rejected real life to go back to University!

I am now about to embark on a Master's course at the University of Bergen, Norway! Studying Quaternary Geology and Palaeoclimatology, and hope to share some experiences here.

Ha Det!

Some Photographs from the Field...

Friday, 15 August 2014

Blood from a Stone...


So it's been a while since I last posted here... a lot has happened in two and a half years; Graduation, Work, Swimming, Multiple Eye Operations, not Swimming, Travel, Applying for Masters... and now starting that Masters!

I am moving to Bergen tomorrow (16/08/2014) to start my Masters in Quaternary Geology and Palaeoclimatology! basically using geological techniques to reconstruct previous climates within the last two million years (or something like that).

As part of my degree, I will be writing a thesis, using Cosmogenic Nuclide Dating to interpret how rapidly the ice-stream in Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen, retreated at the end of the last Ice Age... which meant a Field Trip to the Arctic!

Heres a (not very useful) map...

From 21st July to 9th August 2014, I was lucky enough to take part in Field Work on Blomstrandhalvøya and Ossian Sarsfjellet, near Ny-Ålesund. I joined Anne Hormes from UNIS/Gothenburg, Henriette Linge from Bergen, Ewa Lind from Stockholm, and Maxime Debret from Rouen in the field.

The aim of the fieldwork was to collect samples from Erratic Boulders, which I will then process in the lab and eventually send off for dating (boulders are not a cheap date). We were also collecting sediment samples from an Arctic Lake (Sarsvatnet), where Maxime and Ewa are hoping to get a record of climatic changes.

The fieldwork was an incredible experience, and required a lot of elbow-grease and some ingenuity, but was an amazing hands-on opportunity! Here are just some of the tribulations:
  • Sinking inflatable boat... R.I.P. Titanic II/Core Hunter/Profile Hunter
  • Faulty Geo-Radar
  • Tube hunting
  • Stone-saw running out of fuel... on the summit of all places!
  • Injury to team member
  • Jazzy 1980's life-jackets
  • Sample collection in horizontal snow... in July!
  • Fjord crossing on a PolarCirkel in high winds
  • Paddling around Sarsvatnet for 8 hours... in dense fog!
But we successfully collected boulder and sediment samples (Rocks and Mud!) and managed a Bathymetric map of the Lake! I am incredibly grateful to Anne, Henriette, Ewa and Maxime for giving me the opportunity to go on this field trip, and for their continued guidance and teaching.

It was awesome to be back in Svalbard, catching up with some old faces (and beer), and meeting some new (...and beer), But now I must look forward to moving to Bergen (...but no beer).

Anyway, sorry for the essay... here are some photos...

To understand the boulder, you must become the boulder...

... and then smash it's head in

Ha Det!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Last Day on Svalbard!

So the time has finally come to be departing this incredible place! Can't believe 5 months have passed so quickly, despite the last two with no daylight! I still can't believe how lucky we have been to experience the Arctic, and to study here is still unreal! Thank you UNIS, Tusen Takk Svalbard, and thanks to all you who have read this blog!

But the adventure is not yet over, We may be back to civilisation tomorrow, but that means we can enjoy what Norway has to offer... Bring on Oslo and Bergen! (and the sun, and trees... and fresh fruit and vegetables)

Then just to get the beard through security... wish me luck!

Ha Det!
p.s. Merry Christmas y'all! God Jul Til Alle!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Cabin Fever!

So in two weeks time we'll be waking up to daylight in Oslo, or Bergen... or maybe still in Sir David Attenborough approved Longyearbyen (if Katla erupts!) And now our time is coming to an end on Svalbard we have managed to get out and about, partly in procrastination from revision, and also thanks to the freedom from Term Projects!Last week we celebrated the end of term projects in style (beer... lots of beer, and free pizza!) and then our class hit the Student Cabin for yet more beer! the results can be seen in this photo...
I think the dark is finally getting to us! but at least we still have our singing voice!

We also managed to visit one of the Moraine/Ice caves nearby this week, it was pretty 127 hours-ey! but luckily we all made it out of the small entrance! some of the pictures are in the slideshow :) but here is me admiring some Ice crystals...

Other exciting adventures this week included cross country skiing around town! The Norwegians were terrified of "Brits on Skis" but no one got hurt... badly... anyway here is a great "action" shot (snaked from Alice) note the crazy 80's ski instructor in the middle...
So just two exams and we are done! heres hoping for some more epic procrastination adventures! Enjoy December!
Ha Det!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Work work work...

So I realised I haven't updated this for a while, but I promise there is a good reason... with two term projects and presentations due in the next two weeks it's been a pretty busy time!
But there is still some time for fun! last week for example we spent friday evening in the UNIS sauna... (and possibly broke the fire alarm)... apparently Europeans love being in a hot room on uncomfortable benches sitting innapropriately close to sweaty naked people, but if you cant beat them, join them!

This week is the "legendary" kitchen to kitchen party... like a bar crawl through the student barracks! but with these deadlines looming it looks like it might be a pretty tame affair, but still an excuse to dress up!

In other news I have bought a coat (see photo)! which is definitely the most extravagant purchase of my life, but so worth it! can go out in just a t-shirt in -12! might be a bit much for the british "winter" though!

Hope you all enjoyed "corduroy" day yesterday (11/11/11)?


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ice Ice Breaker...

Wagwan? So it's been a pretty busy few weeks, with the fleamarket followed by last weekends epic IceBreaker party! which was organised by Team Reading! with help from some Russians! (all the stereotypes about Russians and Vodka are true it seems).

As it was organised by Reading people it was no suprise that it was so late in the term, but I think ice was successfully broken still, it was great to see so many creative efforts at shipwrecked/underwater themed costumes. Unfortunately I couldn't be bothered to take any photos of the party, and it seems that even a week on there are very few on facebook, but I'll post one here... here's it is...

(Thanks Fran for the photo)

Unfortunately from this photo you can't see my fabulous homeless-Jesus-esque shipwreck victim outfit. What you can see though is a lot of crazy (messy) Europeans! and a ship made of cardboard! which provided us with a pretty long job cleaning up the next day!

Other than that its been getting dark! today we had just 4 hours of sunlight, but it seems to help with productivity, especially as the work (and evil dissertation progress report) is starting to pile up... much like the snow :D.

Tonight is "THE BIGGEST DUB-STEP party on Svalbard EVER!!!"... which should be an experience, and quite a contrast to the Dark Season Blues festival which is going on at the moment, I'll keep you posted.

Ha Det!

Monday, 10 October 2011


'Sup? so as "leader" of the student environmental group at UNIS (which is us guys from Reading) we were told about two weeks ago that we were responsible for running a fleamarket to raise money for charity (TV-Aksjonen - a bit like Norwegian children in need, but they clear landmines rather than give money to corrupt governments). And so this weekend just gone we raised 38,509.00 Krone... £4299.85 by selling other peoples old crap! (and some coffee and cake) so yeah Team Reading! We also bagged ourselves some retro gems as you can see (pictures below).
In other news... it's getting pretty cold, this week the maximum temperature has been -4.7! but that means snow... and a frosty beard! We only have about two weeks left of sunlight now so had better make the most of it! The Icebreaker party next week will be a great way to see in the winter!
So... Peace out y'all!
Ha Det!

As you can see I am a very adaptable model...

Saturday, 1 October 2011


So I guess it's not really a suprise considering I'm in the Arctic but still... It's snowing!Gotta be the first time I've ever had a snowball fight in October!

Hope you are all enjoying the Indian summer?