Shot for the Day (30 March 2017)

High in the Andes, the deep blue skies can be deceptive. This was mid-morning and the lake in front of me was frozen.  At night, the temperature regularly dropped to -20 Celsius.   It was also breathless here as I was standing at over 4,200m altitude.

If you like desolate, abandoned places, the Atacama Desert is the place for you.

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Shot for the Day (14 March 2017)

High on the altiplano between Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, the sky is an impossibly deep blue.  The car pulling up was my driver, who played a prank and drove off when I was talking too many photos.  It gave the scene a sense of scale, which was perfect. I ended up asking him to do this a few times over the 4 day trip, much to his bemusement.

Shot for the Day (13 August 2013)

Shot_of_the_day_13AUG

Following on from my last shot of the day on August 10th, this shot was take a few hours earlier at Ayrmer Cove, just as the sun was setting behind the peninsula.  The magic of the moment was having this entire beautiful scene to myself, something that rarely happens at sunset.

Day 13: Litlahof to Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Julien is currently waiting for a pizza to arrive.

Woke up and had a chat with Dave. He decided that he couldn’t ride anymore. So left him behind in Hofn. Jumped on bike. Perfect conditions. Arrow straight road, glacier on the right hand side. Even saw the sun and although it was  intermittent, it was a welcome change. Julien got excited by the conditions and caned it as he was so excited to see the sun. Not many kilometres left to cover but still a few days left to cover them in so am limited myself each day.

Cycled on for about 65 km and found a  very random hotel in the middle of nowhere. Situated on a flat plateau and is a building that looks like containers from a big ship with windows at each end. Looks bizarre and crazy but is surprisingly smart inside.  I wandered in and they looked me up and down. I asked them if they had any lunch but I was too late.  Too late for lunch and  too early for dinner but they did have their special so I was treated to bowls and bowls of lamb soup with a great waitress running back and forth refilling my bowl.

Headed to Kirkjubaejarklaustur and outside of the town I could see a rain cloud coming like curtains ahead of me. I thought I might get away with it but no, cycled 8kms in the pissing rain. Found service station, ran in absolutely soaked. Ordered a cup of tea. I met two German guys going around the island in a 4×4 so spoke with them for 1 hrs 30. Went to Tourist info to find out where I could camp. In the tourist office there was a great guy who was half Scottish and half Icelandic who recommended a campsite and a great restaurant where I have now ordered pizza. It’s arrival is imminent!

I have two days left  and now I am solo am cycling about 17/18 miles per hour and getting excited about meeting up with Dave in Reykjavik and celebrating the end of the tour 🙂

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 12: Jokulsarlon to Litlahof

We woke up to thick cloud but there was no wind or rain. Planned to do 130km. When we got on the bike Dave began to suffer from the illness that had struck him on his way out here.  It struck him quite  early in the day and as it really kicked in he could hardly move.  We attempted to do 35km’s before breakfast but Dave couldn’t make it so  we stopped and set up for a hot drink. Cycled a little bit further. Julien then got his second puncture which was very annoying as he only had two inner tubes but it was caused due to the poor gravel road surfaces.  We now have no inner tubes left, so fingers crossed.

By the afternoon Julien  was getting really cold. Dave was very ill. Dave wanted to thumb a ride as he could go no further. Julien decided to go on to find a hostel. There was nothing, so he cycled on and on and on. 40 clicks down the road found a  town called Litlahof.

A landlady said she had a house with rooms. Julien took the room at about 4pm and waited for Dave. He was in a bad way so arrived at 8 PM. When he got to the hostel we had a chat and decided that Dave should rest up and either meet up with Julien at the end of each day or head to Reykjavik. Four days to go. About 110km solo planned per day.

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 8: Reykjahlio to Moorudalur

The beginning of the hardcore cycling. Had planned to travel for two days and meet Dave in Egilsstadir.We have been going through the highlands so you are at altitude and it feels really really cold. We have been battling with more fierce headwinds.Every morning we look to the flags to check the winds and every morning they are blowing madly. There was NOTHING en route at all, not village, no shelter – nothing, just very big open plains at elevated level with non-stop winds pinning you back.

Cycled our hearts out for 45 kms and then stopped. It would normally take 3 hours to go that distance but it took 5 hours.  It was unbelievable.  Eventually we flagged down some locals to ask when the next town was. They said it was 35kms otherwise they suggested that  I should cycle back in the direction I had come from. There was no way I was going to do that. In the end did we did 78km. Stopped in Moorudalur. It was 8km off of a   main road on a dumpy gravel road. It was a tiny little camping ground but massively windy so we set about finding a sheltered place on a hillock, a challenge in itself! The camp had a nice little bar with wifi but no mobile connection. A lovely sanctuary after a very hard day.

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!