Day 10 - Nordkapp
I made it to the Arctic Circle the previous night and ended up at a campsite 30 miles north from Rovaniemi for the night. It was mid September and the temperature dropped to 0 degrees at night. When I woke up, there was frost on the ground. On a plus side Nordkapp was only 400 miles away and it was looking more realistic that I could make it on this trip.
This was the route I did that day (in red box):
View from my tent at Korvalan Kestikievari campsite:
Spent most of the day just riding north. Weather was not great, had to put my waterproofs on as it was raining.
Came across some reindeers on the side of the road:
Despite the rain the views were quite nice:
About 100 miles of coastal road left to go. It was still raining (not too heavy though), but the wind was really strong. I was fighting with my bike constantly to keep it upright. It felt very remote – there was not much traffic at all. At some points there was no one passing by for as long as half an hour.
Wind was already really strong making it hard to keep my bike upright. But it kept getting stronger. 20 miles to Nordkapp it was so bad that I started considering giving up and turning back. It also got very misty – I could only see about 2 meters in front of me. But I was so close I couldn’t give up now.
Finally made it to Nordkapp.
There was a cafe so took few pictures and went inside. Had some hot chocolate to heat up and a cake. It was good to sit down for a bit after hours of riding. There were 2 other bikers inside and I heard them speaking polish. I had one of these moments where I wasn’t up for starting a conversation though and after having quick rest I decided to start heading back.
There was still couple hours of daylight left. I was considering trying to find a b&b for the night instead of camping after riding in rain most of the day. But I knew it would probably be difficult to even find even a campsite (I wasn’t very experienced in wild camping yet at that point), nevermind a b&b (especially one that doesn’t cost a lot). I couldn’t remember passing any campsites for the last couple hours north. It was very remote, there were only few villages (if you can call them villages, usually just one or 3 houses) and no people around.
Either way I had to start heading back so I thought I will just find somewhere to sleep on the way down.
The plan was to head south through Norway and Sweden. First 80 miles south were the same as last 80 miles north as there was only one road to Nordkapp. It was so different on the way back though. I spent around half an hour in Nordkapp at the most. When I started heading back all rain and mist were gone, so I could see what was in front of me. Wind wasn’t as strong now. I wished I kept my helmet camera charged for later as views were much better now.
Back to when I was leaving Nordkapp. As I was getting ready to leave the other two bikers were getting ready to leave too. I kept my speed down a bit as it was still a bit windy. Few minutes later I noticed them catching up in my mirrors. They didn’t overtake me though. Eventually wind almost stopped so sped up a bit. They overtook me but I was still behind them.
Started getting worried about the fuel – last petrol station before Nordkapp was in Olderfjord – 80 miles from Nordkapp. That would mean 160 miles round trip. I wasn’t sure if I would make it. But I made it and they stopped there too. One of them asked me if I know about any campsites near by (in English), I responded (in Polish) that I’m from Poland too but living in UK hence British number plate. Turns out that they were actually from Ukraine (they are brothers) but they live in Poland. I said that I’m also looking for a campsite.
There were some shops on the same side of the road as petrol station. Shops were closed and petrol station, well it was just one pump with only option to pay by card. There was no people around.
We noticed that there was something that looked like a campsite across the road. Decided to check it out. There was no one to pay to but as there was no gate we went there and put our tents up at the coast of Porsangerfjorden fjord.
When I finished putting my tent up I went to take panniers off my bike and wanted to put them inside the tent. Entrance to my tent is quite small and when I tried to put panniers inside, one of the tent poles collapsed. Took the pole out and I thought great what am I gonna do now. One of the guys suggested to take one of the spare tent pegs and straighten the hook. Then I could put straight peg inside the pole to support it. I had no pliers or hammer that I could use to straighten the peg but he had some pliers and straightened it for me. At the time of writing, 3 European camping trips later, I’m still using the same tent with the same broken tent pole with the same tent peg as a hack to support the pole!
So our three tents were finally up. I had to clean and lube the chain in my bike as it was well overdue. Especially with one link broken, I didn’t want it to get any worse (more about broken link in previous part and how did my chain issue get to the end in one of the next parts of my blog!).
There was a wooden hut with the fire place in the middle right beside us. They went to bring some wood and got the fire going. Then they suggested that we could just sleep inside beside the fire. Took air beds and sleeping beds inside and sat beside the fire. At some point some old man came inside (the door to the hut was open). He sat on the chair beside the fire for maybe 5 minutes then left. He tried to talk to us but his English wasn’t very good.
Since it was raining for the most of the day, we put our gear near the fire place to dry. Turns out these guys did almost the same route as me and at almost the same time as me! They took ferry from Tallinn in Estonia to Helsinki in Finland the same day as me only few hours earlier. That was probably the ferry that I missed!
I went to phone my dad to say that I made it to Nordkapp today. He comes to Norway fishing every now and then. When I stopped in Poland to see him at the start of my trip, he didn’t seem convinced that I would get to Nordkapp on the bike. He thought it was silly idea at the least anyway. I think it was a great idea!
Finally went to sleep. It was quite warm at first but after fire went down it got pretty cold. I kept waking up and was pretty freezing. One of the guys got up when it was still dark, around 5am. Even though I couldn’t sleep anymore, I was struggling to get up as that would mean getting out of my sleeping bag and getting even colder. The other guy got up just before 6 and I got up too.
This was the view in the morning:
Next part of our routes was the same – I was heading to Tromso and they were too, but after that they wanted to go to “A” and I didn’t think I had enough time for this. After Tromso I wanted to just head south through the west of Norway. That was the idea anyway (which didn’t work out). So we decided to stick together at least until Tromso.
Here’s the video from the start of my trip, through Finland and Norway to Nordkapp: