Shot for the Day (01 September 2013)

 

Shot_of_the_day_1SEPT

Nature is often endowed with beautiful patterns that can only be witnessed from certain angles, making them all the more delightful you finally see them.  A river running through a forest in Berkshire created a scare line in the dense, evergreen forest. The view is more akin to Scandinavia than Berkshire.  I can almost smell the pine trees.

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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.

Day 27: Kolari to Enontekio

Julien had an early start on Sunday, he left Kolari at 9.30 and thankfully the wind was much more manageable than over the previous couple of days.

Julien saw a large male reindeer about 2 meters from him en route to Muonio.

It took him four and a half hours to cover 75km due to more hills and a constant headwind. It rained a bit and the temperature dropped to below 10 degrees.

He had lunch with Sylvia and Urs in Muonio and then headed on alone to Enontekio, another 75km to the northeast.

Julien is expecting a shorter day on Monday. He is aiming to cover 80km to Kautokeino in Norway where he has some photos to take for the Norwegian Tourist Board.

Hopefully it will get warmer and less windy as the going was pretty tough on Sunday.

Julien should be at Nordkapp within a week if all goes well.

Click to see a Google Map of Julien’s route on Sunday.

Please support the Child’s i Foundation by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving page. Thank you!

Day 26: Pello to Kolari

As Julien predicted yesterday he didn’t end up getting much sleep last night as his fellow campers were up drinking and partying!

It took him a while to get going this morning; he set off from Pello at about 10.45

Today was a really tough day of cycling as Julien faced a constant headwind and a number of hills along the way.

It took him around 5 hours to cycle 75km to Kolari.

Julien stopped in at a good restaurant and spoke to some locals who say that the wind is not usually as bad as it has been over the last couple of days.

The weather forecast also indicates that the wind speed should drop form 15mph to 10mph tomorrow, which is good news.

Julien decided he did not have the energy to cycle on in such tough conditions and took a shorter day than usual after cycling 47 miles.

He met a really nice Swiss couple called Sylvia and Urs who are also travelling to Nordkapp and expecting to arrive there about the same time as Julien.

Sylvia and Urs were also looking for a campsite in Kolari. But it turned out that there was not one in the town

Instead the three of them found a hut to stay in for night. It is his first night with his own room and a real bed so he should sleep better tonight!

Here is the Google Map for day twenty-six. You can support the Child’s i Foundation by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving page.

Day 25: Tore to Pello

Julien had a little bit of a late start this morning as it took him some time to recover from the 95 miles he cycled yesterday.

He knew that today would be a bit shorter and was expecting to cover around 120km.

He set off towards OverKalix and cycled towards the town for 53km. The route was very hilly and Julien faced a constant headwind that really slowed him down.

The hills and the wind meant that it took Julien 4 and a half hours to reach OverKalix, rather than the two hours he was expecting.

Julien stopped in briefly at OverKalix, which was a really nice picturesque town. He pushed on and was excited about heading towards Finland.

Julien cycled to Övertorneå and again faced a strong headwind. This meant he arrived at the town about an hour later than he was expecting.

He had a bite to eat at Övertorneå and then cycled onwards crossing the bridge from Sweden in Finland.

Crossing the bridge Julien had about 50km of great cycling. The road was finally flat, the wind died down and there was very little traffic.

Julien passed the campsite he had originally planned to stay in and decided to push on to the Artic Circle.

Finland is two hours ahead of the UK so by the time Julien arrived everything had shut down, but he was still really chuffed to have made it the Artic Circle after 2000 miles!

The excitement of reaching the Artic Circle gave Julien a boost of energy and he continued on for another 25km.

However the wind picked up and he was very tired by this stage so it took him a couple of hours to reach the nearest campsite.

When Julien arrived at the town it was absolutely buzzing with people in the streets and a band playing.

Julien had to queue to get into the campsite and once he made it inside he discovered that a massive motor racing event is occurring over the next couple of days.

At 11.30 it was still really bright outside with the sun still a fair distance above the horizon. Combined with the party atmosphere Julien is not expecting much sleep tonight!

Still, hopefully Julien will get some sleep before cycling on tomorrow – he really is on the home stretch now!

Here is the Google Map for today. You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page.

Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and see if you can do anything to help out!

Day 24: Älvsbyn to Tore

Julien could not get a signal on his phone last night, but I just got a text from him with an update on what he got up to yesterday.

He started out a little bit later than usual because his clothes were stuck in the campsites washing machine!

Eventually the owner of the campsite managed to fix the machine and Julien set off at about 11.

He cycled towards Lulea on a rough road and was shaken around quite a bit on the way. On the plus side he saw some stunning views on the route.

He stopped in for lunch but couldn’t read the menu so randomly ordered something to eat. He is still not sure what it was but said it tasted ok!

Julien did not particularly like Lulea, he got stuck on a dangerous dual carriageway on the way north to Tore.

The hard shoulder was sometimes only 10cm wide and traffic was passing him by at 70mph!

To avoid this Julien decided to take a much longer back road route which turned into stone / mud tracks. He did an extra 50km as a result.

He got to Tore and found a campsite that had some gorgeous views over the sea.

Julien thinks it was a bit of a mistake to come to the Baltic coast, as the roads are all so busy.

Julien is now heading on to Finland. Here is the Google Map of yesterday’s journey.

You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page.