Taken on a summer’s evening in the northern fjords of Norway as the sun was dropping in the skies. Being north of the Arctic Circle, it did not drop much lower than in this image, holding the lovely golden tones for a prolonged period. Although this was mid summer (early July), the snow had only just melted 2-3 weeks prior.
Shots from the vault: Back in 2009, I had just completed my cycle ride from London to Nordkapp in Norway, some 2.5k miles away. Following completion of this journey, I took a ferry from Honningsvåg to Hammerfest, where I spent these evening before heading on to Tromsø the following morning. I was treated to a spectacular light show that evening as the sun bounced along the horizon. Being north of the Arctic Circle and mid-summer, the sun never dropped below this level.
Once back on the mainland in Ullapool in Scotland and I decided to visit the local light house I had spotted on the way out and back from the Outer Hebrides. I found a good location overlooking Rhue Lighthouse but I was being heavily buffeted by the wind, which was far stronger than the waves in the image show. However, after about half an hour of opalescent skies, the clouds parted and the shaft of light caught the beach in the foreground and struck the light house perfectly beyond it.
I ended up having to drive pretty hard to make up for the time I spend fiddling around to get this shot, to make my flight that evening in Glasgow. however, it was definitely worth it.
I was in Stockholm at the end of last week and wondered down to the harbour in search of a morning shot before the working day commenced. The weather forecast had stated it would be a clear, sunny day, yet as I stood on the quayside, it started to snow gently. As the opalescent cloud drifted off in a south easterly direction, the dawn light emerged along with some dawn colours.
The second shot below I took a short while later, with a Lee Filter Little Stopper (x6 ND filter), to lengthen the exposure. I lost the colour in the clouds but the movement of the ferry and sky made for an interesting alternative version of the same scene.
Julien didn’t have a very eventful day today as the ferry ride from Denmark to Sweden took around four hours he only ended cycling about 10 miles.
He set out from Grenna early this morning, arriving at the ferry port at 8.20. However he then discovered that the first ferry didn’t depart until 2.30.
So he made his way back to Grenna and had a big lunch before heading back to the port and taking the ferry ride across to Sweden.
Sitting out on the ferry Julien managed to get very burnt but at least he was able to rest up a bit having cycled around 1000 miles over the last twelve days!
After disembarking Julien cycled to the nearest campsite in Varberg. He chatted to some friendly locals who gave him some advice on his route through Sweden.
Thankfully the landscape should be a bit flatter for Julien now he has reached Sweden.
Although there are some hills coming up they are nowhere near the size of those he had to cycle over in Denmark.
Julien hopes to make it to Boras tomorrow or perhaps slightly further if the cycle paths are of a good standard.
Time is ticking away as the ensuing departure date is now less than a week away. Even though I have been preparing for this trip for ages, I am stick racked with anticipation. Concerns of the overall requirements of the ride interlaced with daily issues such as shopping, whilst not having my kit stolen or finding somewhere to camp. All in all, there are many issues to contend with.
In the grander scheme of things, I hope that this ride is a success. By this, not only do I mean achieving the loft target of cycling 2800 miles to a vary sparsely populated are of the world but I also mean raise finds for the charity I have dedicated this ride to, Child’s I Foundation. So far, I have raised just under £350 on my Just Giving page, which is a good start. I hope that as I continue, people read about the various adventures I am likely to have en route as my blog will be maintained by Tom from Child’s I, in my absence. I would love to hit my target amount of £2,500, so please keep reading this blog and make a donation if possible. All of the money is destined to help kids in Uganda. I am paying for all of my own expenses on this trip!
I have been testing all of my kit prior to my departure and so far, so good. I have to make sure I can maintain my MSR stove as I know occasionally they can gunk up. The biggest challenge will be to decide how much stuff to take along with me. In the first couple of weeks, the temperature will hopefully remain in the warm twenties. However, the further I travel up the spin of Sweden, the cool the weather will become. Indeed, the figures I have seen for night time temperatures for Nordkapp and the north coast of Norway, even in mid summer, are around 4 degrees Celsius. The weather is also likely to me inclement but that should only add to the drama of the journey.
It would be great to hear from any one if they have experience of travelling in this part of the world as so little has been written about it. That said, hopefully my blog will be a useful place for other people considering this journey as a portal of information in due course.
Total mileage: 78
Terrain: Flat on mainland but steep end of day climb on Arran with heavy rain
Another long day in the saddle after the previous day. However, we had a glorious view in the morning at the YHA hostel. The guys there were all really friendly and sent us off with a hot cup of tea and toast.
The weather was pretty foul again but not the same level of rainfall as the previous day. We cycled for a few miles on the small B7000 the hostel was sited off, until we came to the A713 main road to Ayr at Carpshaim. This road was fantastic as there was a long downhill through some incredible countryside. I think in all, we must have had the slope in our favour for about 4 miles.
We stopped off at a superstore in Ayr to stock up after the previous night’s food shortages. None of us wanted to be stuck in that position again in a hurry. Ayr is a very industrialised town and not particularly pleasant. Although the cycle route was well marked, the parts that took us through the urban areas, up through Prestwick and Troon, were particularly forgettable.
Fortunately, the route through the forests close to Kilwinning and Stevenston were really pretty and well maintained. We hardly saw another soul. The well kept cycle route made the ever worsening weather more bearable. Indeed, with 5 miles to Androssan where we intended to catch a ferry to Arran, the skies opened.
By the time we made it to Androssan, we were all completely soaked and the level of motivation was dropping almost as fast as our body temperatures. We timed the ferry perfectly, arriving with just enough time to buy our tickets and board the ferry. As you can see from the first picture, our bikes were fastened with a single bungee to the side of the boat. This, however, was sufficient as the crossing was relatively calm.
Arran looked incredible at first sight. The heavy, opalescent skies looming threateningly overhead as the ferry drew into the harbour. It was getting cold and our kit had not dried on the brief crossing. Mary was feeling the worst, suffering from knee problems. The harbour town of Brodlick was sufficiently congenial but very small. We soon pushed past the town limits as we headed northwards, towards the other ferry port town on the island of Lochranza.
Our route clung to the coastline, affording us the opportunity to see a sea lion as we rode along. The absence of traffic was also noted, something that made the final 16 mile push all the more bearable in the rain storm. The second leg of the Arran ride took us inland, into the mountains. The drama of the landscape was incredible, a real highlight of the trip as we forced the bikes up an ever steeper climb. The lashing rain only seemed to heighten the moment, making the scenery foreboding and menacing. It truly felt as though we were adventurers in parts unknown.
The hostel in Lochranza was great but considering that we had hardly passed a soul on the roads, strangely busy!