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.
A sky full of clouds.
After crossing Europe on my bicycle in 2009, I took the Hurtigruten ferry from Honningsvåg (and the North Cape) to Tromsø. I was only on the ferry for a day but the landscape in mid summer was stunning. As we were north of the Arctic Circle, we did not lose the light. The shot above was take somewhere in the archipelago around 10pm.
I aim to return in the winter, when the landscape is covered in snow and under the Aurora Borealis.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Seven weeks today I shall be off on the first day of my ride to Nordkapp. To say that I am a little trepid at the thought of it, would be a huge understatement. In the interim, I have to gather together all the kit I will need for the trip. Going that much further north than last year, the temperatures might drop to near zero on the coolest nights north of the Arctic Circle. However, the average daytime temperature should be somewhere around 15 degrees Celsius.
My soul wish is that I do not experience the amount of rain encountered last time. I anticipate that I will be camping far more frequently due to the sparse population in many of the places I aim to cycle through. In fact, chances are that I will end up free camping most of the time. This means both good and bad things. On the plus side, there is nothing quite as liberating as finding an isolated spot and camping out for the night. If you like peace and quite, and I do, this is just the ticket. On the other hand, laundry, washing and conversation will all be far more complicate.
Part of the route I will be following will take me through Germany. Unless I take a rather lengthy detour on my way northwards towards Denmark, I will have to traverse Hamburg. Not that I dislike the city, cycling through large conurbations tends to make life all the more tricky with cars blazing past you and getting hopelessly lost.
It would necessitate the need to carry yet more kit that requires recharging. On that note, I had the first stab at a kit list yesterday. By Jove, I’ll be carrying a lot of gear. That’s the consequence of doing this solo I suppose.
A couple of people have indicated their interest in joining me on the ride. I’d love to have company. The more I think about it, life would be so much easier with another person present. For example, shopping; I will have to leave my bike, albeit chained up, along with all my panniers, which do not have locks, attached to the bike outside of the shop. In smaller towns and villages, this should not present too much of an issue. However, in a larger metropolis, I’m not sure it will be there when I emerge from buying groceries. Then there is all the end of day chores. Last year, Pete, Mary and I shared the cooking, laundry and tent pitching, which worked out really well. It won’t me a problem, probably something I get used to very quickly. Just that after several houses cycling; it would be nice to share the load.
All that aside, I am completely focused on the ride. I cannot wait to see the places that lie ahead of me. From all the cyclist’s blogs I have been reading, it should be a trip of a lifetime. So, now I must marshal my forces and complete preparations for the next Long Way Up ride.
What a month it has been! So much has been happening since the end of February. My principle focus has been on completing my first book. I am so close now that I can smell the ink drying on the first draft. My book is all about my cycle ride last year from Lands End to John O’Groats. I will be utilising the Blurb platform to publish it. It is a mixture of journal and landscape photography. Watch this space.
Other news includes all the preparation for this year’s cycle adventure, London to Nordkapp. I aim to be off within the first half of June. I have decided to cycle along the North Sea Route for part of the way. This will take me through England, over the channel to Belgium, then on through The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and eventually, Norway.
I gave a presentation to the good people of the Child’s I Foundation last week as I shall be supporting their cause for this cycle adventure. I hope to have a few bloggers filling in for me whilst I am away. Relaying information from the various corners of northern Europe should be an interesting challenge but something to relish rather than fear!
I will start to post more information about the route in the next week, along with preparations and training. Ending on an exciting note, I did a shoot last week for the Gok Fashion Fix show website that will appear on the Channel 4 platform. Hyperlinks will be available from this Tuesday / Wednesday.