This is a sea cliff at Suweolbong Tuff Ring, on the western edge of Jeju and near the end of Olle 12. Jeju was certified as a Global Geopark by UNESCO in 2010, and nine sites were nominated as geosites as part of that; Suweolbong is one of them.

Borrowing some words from the “Suweolbong, Hill of Winds” guide book, a tuff ring is formed by hydro-volcanic activity, i.e. molten lava comes into contact with water (in this case, the sea). A tuff ring is distinguished from a tuff cone, which is relatively tall and steep, the difference being due to the relative viscosity of the molten rocks.

The layers in these photos are a result of pyroclastic flow, the same mechanism that destroyed Pompeii. Layers of volcanic material flow downhill to give the stratified effect. In addition, fallout from the volcano drops onto the layers – hence the embedded larger rocks and the sags in the layers.

Follow that with the action of the sea to create the cliff and you get this remarkable coastline. Living on Jeju is like living in a text book of physical geography.


Olle 12


Olle trail 12 starts some distance from the sea and heads westwards to the coast before turning north. It’s a working, agricultural landscape; there are large areas of onions, fields of barley, potatoes, radishes, cabbages and more. Today, there were scattered people tending to crops, and teams of people (mainly women) harvesting.

The lady below was preparing lunch. It looked as if she had lots of mouths to feed.


Volcanic stone walls


I’ve posted a few pictures of the walls that bound Jeju’s fields before and here are two more. I took them on the road between Hallim to Jeoji this afternoon but I could have taken them just about anywhere – they’re ubiquitous on the island. It makes sense, as the rocks were cleared from the fields in the first place.

Like this one, many don’t look as carefully constructed as a dry-stone wall in the UK, but that may just be the nature of the rocks. They probably don’t need to be as robust as a British dry-stone wall: there are no sheep, cows are typically kept in barns, and horses are often tethered.


April evening on Gwakji Beach


Gwakji Beach is not so far from Global Education City on Jeju’s north-west coast and is a popular destination for expats and locals. Having said that, there were very few people there just before sunset this evening – a couple of families, two people on the rocks who looked as if they were collecting shellfish, and that’s about it. Very peaceful.


Olle 11 in the rain


Yesterday was a grey day on Jeju. The weather was wet and everyone will have been thinking of Wednesday’s tragic sinking of the Jeju-bound ferry.

It was raining steadily as we left Museulpo at the start of Olle trail 11. By the time we got to the top of Museulbong (‘po’ means port, ‘bong’ means hill) the rain had eased but the rest of the walk was still pretty soggy. Olle 11 doesn’t follow the coast; instead, it heads northwards  for 18 km through farmland and forest.

Each trail has a point at the start and the end and one point somewhere along the trail where you can stamp your Olle ‘passport’. The photo above is the stamping station at the top of Museulbong and also shows the blue and orange arrows that show the forwards and backwards directions of the route respectively. Sometimes the arrows are just painted on the ground or on a wall and sometimes the way is marked by blue and orange ribbons.

The only other time I got my camera out was at the foot of Museulbong. Beyond the grave mounds, the fields and the greenhouses in the photo below are Mt. Dan and, further, Sanbangsan.


Pine flowers


I need a biologist to explain the life cycle of pine trees to me. I’ve tried to find out what these structures are by searching the internet but I’m still not confident I know. Pine trees apparently have both male and female cones, and the smaller male cones release pollen to fertilise the larger female cones. Are these the female or the male?


I took these photos a couple of days ago in the woodland above Hwasun beach but I could have taken them in lots of places on Jeju. I’m pleased with them.





A short boat trip southwards from Museulpo is the island of Gapado, half way between Jeju and Korea’s southernmost point, the island of Marado.


The island has a short Olle trail, 10-1, which winds its way back and forth across the island, around the coast and through the barley fields. At this time of year, and on a sunny day, it’s really beautiful – and I don’t mean to say that it’s not beautiful at other times. There are stone-walled graves in amongst the barley and patches of yellow (canola) and lilac coloured flowers. I used a slow shutter speed to try and capture the movement of the barley in the wind.


Eongtto Pokpo on Olle 7-1


This is Eongtto Pokpo, a 50 metre waterfall on Olle trail 7-1. There’s no water in it, but that’s my experience with most Jeju water features – there are any number of dry river beds, deep and full of boulders and with the occasional puddle. There’ll be a rainy season in the summer so maybe, briefly, the rivers will fill.


Olle 7-1 isn’t part of the circuit of trails that circumnavigates the island; it’s a spur that starts at the World Cup stadium on Seogwipo, loops inland and ends on the coast at Oedolgae, the starting point for Olle 7. As a reminder that it’s spring, I took the photos below while on the trail.


Hwasun Beach


The geology around Hwasun Beach is remarkable but here are some photos of beach life – washed-up seaweed and a rock covered with shellfish. It makes me realise how little I know about seaweed, both in terms of the biology and the uses to which they’re put.





And finally the shellfish, encrusted on a rock. I assume this is a slow-motion competitive environment, with each creature vying for space with those around it.