Shot for the Day (09 September 2016)

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A shot from the archives.  This one was taken in Iceland when I cycle around the island.  I had made my way around the peninsula and had to back track through the mountains.  Ahead of me, the clouds loomed ominously above the range I had to cycle through.  Needless to say, I was soaked in the mother of all storms.

Just over a week later, I was on the other side of the island.  The omnipresent clouds parted momentarily as I passed an abandoned house.  Soon afterwards, the rain fell and the clouds closed in.  If you can overlook the bad weather (these were taken in the height of the Icelandic summer) and the relentless winds, cycling around this rock in the middle of the Atlantic was a fantastic expedition.

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Day 4: Stykkisholmur to Blonduos

We awoke on Saturday morning having slept well in Stykkisholmur.  After breakfast we had a good review of the map and thought “bloody hell it is gong to be a long way from here to get anywhere useful” so reluctantly we cycled back to Borgarnes. It was another hard ride back and a bit of a detour but was definitely the right decision. The ‘return’ journey seemed harder partly  due to  Julien’s very heavily laden bike and the fact that Angelique’s make-shift  panniers shifted with every notch on the road resulting in us having to stop to re-adjust them after each minor bang. We covered almost 100k back to Borgarnes.

Although this may upset the more adventurous of our followers we elected to take the local bus to Blonduos which is a small seaside town in the northwestern part of Iceland.  Our leg muscles were bulging and the logistics of our kit were getting us down. Approximately 1000 people live in the town and the distance from Reykjavik is about 245 km. The word that sums up our first view of the town was ‘weird’ but we mean that in an eerily endearing way. There is an unusual building that looks a little bit like a pudding bowl with the top lopped off.  There were few people around and the only thing missing from this ‘Omen’ style scene was the tumbleweed. We found a little camp area and stuck the tent up.

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page
Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org

Day 3: Budir to Stykkisholmur

Tonight we blog from Stykkisholmur after a tough but rewarding day.

We have made it around the end of the island having cycled through a massive volcanic region. The weather has frankly been miserable for most of the day but the sun broke though late afternoon and actually turned out to be absolutely gorgeous.  We have been cycling mostly along the coast which is a tough terrain to deal with but very rewarding.

Fish is on the menu again tonight as we are now sitting in the beautiful fishing town  of Stykkisholmur  awaiting our supper. More detail to follow tomorrow!

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org

Day 2: Borgarnes to Budir

At 4am we were woken up by the unmistakable  sound of torrential rain pelting down on the canvas. Because of Iceland’s location, so close to the North Pole, you will have heard that the daylight hardly ever subsides so eye-guards are vital. Waking up to the sound of the battering rain wearing eye-guards is quite disorienting and we had no idea of the time. Tentatively we pulled up our masks hoping that it was not 9am and were relieved to learn that it was only 4 in the morning. So, eye masks back down and we were able to snooze away until 7am.

When we awoke for the second time this morning we got up and dried out the tents before heading out to look for breakfast. This is where we happened upon a unique Icelandic character who is a puppeteer by trade and now also runs a great cafe with his wife.  We had a fantastic breakfast and reviewed our maps taking on local advice from the puppeteer.

We cycled North West to the Snaefellsnes peninsula which had also been highly recommended by our first host. To get there took us 4 hours and battling the continuing headwinds meant we covered just 40km. In the afternoon Angelique had to pull up as she was concerned that she had injured her leg. We flagged down a passing truck and she managed to blag a lift to our destination for the day. I waved her off and cycled on, completing another 75km alone.

Tonight we reside in Budir close to Snaefellsjokull. Our prettiest location so far. We are in a small hotel which Angelique managed to get a great deal at and have a view of the glacier we had been heading for. Angelique is fine and should be back on the road first thing. Off to relax now!

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org

Day 1: Reykjavik to Borgarnes

We awoke to a beautiful day and set off north around the harbour towards Borgarnes which provided us with our first real experience of cycling in Iceland and along a 69km stretch. We had heard the Iceland was renound for it’s head-winds. The rumours were not wrong. The temperature was a very pleasant 25 degrees but the wind was incredible. The last part of the days trip had us heading along a dead straight road where we could see the last 10 miles ahead of us. Cycling in a straight line into the winds was almost debilitating so we were relieved to reach our destination.

We found a campsite and having set up our tents, headed off in to the local town to search for dinner. The food in Iceland can be challenging, fish is ‘popular’ but by now we were craving the green stuff. We were thrilled to find an awesome restaurant which served up the most fulfilling salads. Not something we thought we would ever appreciate quite so much but we went to bed full of fresh vegetables and utterly exhausted.

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org

Day 31: Repvag to Nordkapp

Julien had a mammoth day on Thursday.

He left Repvag and cycled towards Nordkapp Island along a really beautiful 60km route.

On the way he passed through three tunnels, the biggest of which was under the sea and 7km long. Inside the tunnel were some insane dips and equally steep rises.

It was freezing cold and with a 9% uphill gradient for 4km.

He stopped in at a town on Nordkapp Island called Honningsvag, where he had lunch and got ready for the last 30km.

Julien said the last 30km were perhaps the hardest of the whole journey.

Nordkapp Island is essentially made up of a few flat areas surrounded by mountains.

After leaving Honningsvag Julien quickly hit a wall of road at a 9% incline and had to cycle up it for 6km.

Julien was then stuck cycling up the edge of a large hill on a small road alongside a number of large buses.

One actually ran him off the road but he persevered and made it to the peak after two and a half hours.

The weather had been great all day but just as Julien reached the top it started to cloud over.

Julien entered the visitors center only to discover that he had to pay to stand on the summit but they did at least offer a 50% discount for cyclists!

He spoke to a few people and got a photo of himself in a prime spot.

Julien says it was a great feeling to reach Nordkapp after a huge 2600 miles. What a great achievement!

Just as Julien got ready to cycle back to Honningsvag his stand broke broke but this didn’t impede his progress.

He made it back to the campsite where he met some friendly English speakers who were travelling through Finland.

Julien had an early start the next morning. He got up at 3.50 to give himself time to tumble dry his clothes and pack up before getting the ferry from Honningsvag.

The weather was great and the landscape stunning and Julien managed to get some great photos. But he dozed off and the weather turned to rain.

Unfortunately the forecast for the next few days is looking pretty bad, but this won’t slow Julien down as he starts the journey home by heading towards Tromso.

Here is the Google Map for day thirty one and a Google Map of the entire journey.

Julien undertook his epic journey to support the Child’s i Foundation a wonderful charity that is aiming to build a home for abandoned babies in Uganda.

Julien has made a great effort to cycle 2600 miles from London to Nordkapp please show him your support by sponsoring him on his Just Giving Page. Thank you!

Day 30: Alta to Repvag

Julien had a really tiring day yesterday but he made it to where he was aiming for, a small village called Repvag.

The weather really improved with loads of sunshine all day.

He started out from Alta and had a huge climb from sea level to the mountain plains at over 500m.

He saw more cycling tourists yesterday than on the whole trip combined!

Julien stopped in for lunch at Skaidi 90 km from Alta. He then decided to aim for Repvag another 70km away.

On the way Julien had to face another long climb and decent to the coast.

He cycled another 50km on the costal road, including a tunnel of 3km through a mountain.

Last night was the first time Julien saw the midnight sun on this trip.

He arrived late at a campsite that he describes as ‘dicey’. But the sun was still shining for first time in a week.

Julien is now only 88km for Nordkapp. He will make a final push on Thursday and if all goes according to plan will arrive at the northernmost point of Europe after 2600 miles!

Here is the Google Map for today – Julien is nearly there!

Please sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page and give your support to the Child’s i Foundation. Thank you!

Day 29: Kautokeino to Alta

The weather picked up a bit on Tueday and Julien cycled on to Alta the biggest city in the area but home to only 7,000 inhabitants

He followed the E6 road to Alta which was mountanious with some pretty tough hills along the way.

The hills were low lying with sharp gradients which is a bit of a nightmare for cycling!

Julien stopped in at Maze for a quick break. It is incredibly expensive in the Finnmark area with a 500ml bottle of coke costing about £3.50!

After leaving Maze Julien hit his favourite bit of tarmac on the whole journey!

He followed a road that hugged a cliff and followed a huge river. Julien said the views were similar to a loch in Scotland and simply stunning.

As the river widened, Julien was surrounded by giant fir trees and it was like being in Alaska.

He says riding along this road was a real highlight of the journey and an absolute joy.

Julien noticed that his back tyre was bearing too much weight and stopped to check it to discover that the tyre had completely worn away  in places.

It would be a major job to stop and change it so Julien cycled on to Alta hoping the wheel would hold out for a few more miles.

On the way Julein passed a frozen waterfull and when he arrived in Alta he could see snowcapped mountains in the distance.

The camspite was on the far side of town another 10km away, but Julien’s tyre held out. On the way Julien saw the first signpost for Nordkapp!

It is too cold to camp now so Julien has been staying in heated cabins with the comfort of a real bed and his own shower!

Unfortunately he has to cycle back to the other side of Alta to reach the nearest cash point which will add 20km to his journey tomorrow.

But after that he will be ready to cycle on to Nordkapp, he should hopefully make it there by Friday!

Here is today’s Google Map. You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page. Please also vist the Child’s i Foundation and see if you can help out. Thanks!

Day 28: Enontekio to Kautokeino

Julien had a fairly starightforward day on Monday. He left Enontekio early and cycled towards Kautokeino, the first major town in Norway.

It was a bit of a struggle to get to Kautokeino. It was very cold all day at around 4 or degress with constant wind and rain.

Thankfully when Julien arrived in Kautokeino the weather brightend up.

Julien had an appointment with the Norwegian tourist board and decided to take the rest of the day off to prepare for the final push to Nordkapp.

In Kautokeino he vited Julhs the first silversmith in all of Finnmark.

Finnmark is the home of the Sami people who are like the inuits of the area.

The Jewlers Julien met were Norwegian but learning the Sami culture and they gave him a guided tour of the area.

Julien was hoping to spend some time with the Sami but unfortunately this is the time of year that they begin to migrate.

However, Julien was able to get some great pictures of the area and these will be uploaded to his Flickr page as soon as he can get a good signal on his mobile phone.

Here is today’s Google Map. Please support the Child’s i Foundation by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving page.