After the decision was made for Lisa to return to the UK for a short period a route change had to happen to meet the availability of an affordable airline. Using some accumulated Airmiles she could fly out of Stockholm (Sweden) and then return to Munich (Germany) where I would drive to and pick up up 5 days later.
In the initial planning stages of our trip I had always wanted to visit the handmade axe producers at Gransfors Bruks Axes. We were going to head up to the forge and then cut back across to Norway at Trondheim but as our departure grew closer it seemed a long way out and we would also miss out on the main fjord region of Norway (which seemed to be the main attraction). Things were changed last minute and I thought I would never get the opportunity to visit GBA again…
Crossing into the Lappi (Lapland) region of Finland from Norway on the E8 still deep within the Arctic you notice an immediate change in landscape. Suddenly the roads straighten out and all around you is an endless snowy plateau interspersed with forests and frozen lakes. There is also substantially more snow here than in Norway. Passing Sami reindeer herders and the odd snowmobile there is little life out here, It is the frozen tundra of the last great European wilderness.
The aim of our Scandinavian section was to reach the Arctic Circle and drive on up to 71 degrees north to Nordkapp. The North Cape is the most northerly point in Europe (accessible by vehicle; there is another headland to the west you can walk to, but not ideal in winter). Here you are deep into Arctic territory and population densities of the towns drop off significantly. (more…)
So we left the UK on the 27th January, saying our goodbyes on the 25th and 26th before driving to Dover for the ferry. It was a rush, no two ways about it. Packing up took a lot longer than anticipated. We planned to leave by 1200 but finally got going closer to 1500. Nothing really went to plan weeks before leaving. there was no ‘test packing’, there was little time to test anything new that we had fitted, bought, packed. Spares and tools were put together from a huge amalgamation of things last minute (I think I have everything). With all the winter gear for Norway in the back, the 90 was stacked high and the trailer was… about right.