My – somewhat outdated – weather forecast didn’t predict any better weather for today than that of yesterday, and I decided to leave first thing in the morning and head south – home. The rain stopped and I packed my stuff and left at 5.30am. It was quite cold and a strong headwind blew. I fought with hills and wind, and after 4 hours I had only done 36km! Otherwise the weather turned out to be almost fine – the sun shone every now and then, the sky was blue, and there was almost no rain and no fog. I felt a bit betrayed by the weather gods. I made peace with it, though, and will come back to conquer Kinnarodden on another trip. Reached Ifjord after 105km.
It started to rain during the night and didn’t stop pretty much all day. I wanted to do the hike to Kinnarodden, the truly northernmost point of mainland Europe, but not under these conditions. Stayed in the tent and continued reading T.C. Boyle’s ‘Riven Rock’.
I boarded the M/S Nordkapp, one of the Hurtigruten boats, in Honningsvåg in the afternoon, and it dropped me off in Kjøllefjord two hours later. From there I cycled the 43km to Mehamn through a cold evening. Both Kjøllefjord and Mehamn are at sea level, but the road crosses a fell so the ride involved a nice climb. The landscape is slightly less green than on Magerøya, the Nordkapp island; there is more scree here, and it’s less hilly on top of the plateau. The picture shows Kjøllefjord (the M/S Nordkapp had just left the fjord towards Mehamn).
Pitched my tent next to Mehamn’s small airport, right at the official start of the hiking track to Kinnarodden.
Andrea, Philip, and Torsten left in the late afternoon to go sleep in the Hurtigruten waiting room. Their boat to Tromsø/Bergen leaves tomorrow around 6am from Honningsvåg. It was a fun time riding with them.
Temperatures are now well below 10°C during the day, and around 5°C at night.
Generally, the North Cape is considered the northernmost point of Europe. Unfortunately, that’s not quite correct. First it is not on the European mainland, but situated on the island of Magerøya, and second, a place called Knivskjellodden reaches about 1.5km further to the north and into the Barents Sea. The northernmost point of mainland Europe is Kinnarodden. More about that later.
We got up pretty late and left in the early afternoon. Like pretty much everywhere else in Norway, the road to the North Cape is in very good condition. There are quite some climbs, though. It was cold and foggy and we didn’t see much of the surrounding countryside. Lots of busses passed by, full of passengers of the Hurtigruten and other cruise ships.
We passed by the car park where the hiking track to Knivskjellodden starts. There was no further info on the track there and we continued to the North Cape for now.
All of a sudden a sign popped up in the fog saying the entry to the North Cape was 500m up ahead and the entrance fee would be 215 NOK/person (almost 25 Euros). Quite a steep price for a natural landmark. The gate itself wasn’t visible through the fog yet and we discussed whether we should try and sneak through the fog. However, the fog lifted and we tried to just ride through the gate – and got caught. So we had to pay a reduced fee (for cyclists) of 140 NOK. Even that fee is ridiculous for what’s on offer, however since we knew from the start that entry wouldn’t be free we accepted it.
We rested in the visitors’ hall and took some posing pictures at the globus, at 71°10″21’N, with and without bikes.
Later we rode back to the car park near the Knivskjellodden track. It took us 2h10m to the northernmost point of the Magerøya Island, the Knivskjellodden, at 71°11″21’N. We had a break there and signed the guestbook, then walked back. There were a lot of reindeer grazing; the track is well-trodden and quite muddy at times, however almost always there are some stones available to step on. One has a nice view at the North Cape from Knivskjellodden.
Today I reached the northernmost point of this journey after exactly 9 weeks of travelling and a little over 5000km of cycling.
We took a day off due to pouring rain and postponed the visit to North Cape and Knivskjellodden. Instead, rode the 18km back to Honningsvåg to do some shopping and stayed in the warmth of the kitchen at the camp site. Not much to see in Honningsvåg.
Met three Italian cyclists, though, who’d cycled here from Milan via the Baltic States, Russia, and Finland.
It started to rain during the night and the wind got stronger and now blew coldly from the east. Neither wind nor rain stopped when we woke up. We decided to wait a bit and see whether there was any change. It was still pouring at 4pm and we left anyway. It was quite cold and we had only short breaks. I’ve never cycled so much with so little stops and food. To speed up the cycling, like yesterday, we kept pushing Andrea every now and then, especially downhill. We came to the tunnel that connects Norway mainland with the island of Magerøya. It has an impressive length of 7860m and goes down to 212m below sea level. After 101km of cycling we reached the campsite at Skipsfjord, 9km after Honningsvåg, at half past 11pm.
Andrea left in the morning to check with local bike shops about getting her bike fixed. Torsten and I went to town a little later, too, to stock up on food. Andrea had no luck with the bike shops. She decided to go on to the North Cape with the broken derailleur anyway, and we left in the afternoon.
Right after Alta we climbed up to a plateau and followed it for a few hours. Stopped in a small settlement with an unpronouncable name, Áisároaivi, and had dinner. At first we wanted to stop there for the night but later felt like going on, persuaded by the mosquitoes.
It was night by now but still quit lightish. The ride was awesome, across the fjell in twilight, with a light south-western tail wind, almost no other traffic, and the occasional reindeer. We finally reached Olderfjord near the junction of E6 and E69 after about 110km of cycling in the middle of the night. Put up the tents not far from the road and went to sleep pretty much immediately.
We crossed into the Finnmark fylke (county) and had a brief stop at a car park a little later, where we met our Polish friends once more.
In the afternoon, we stopped in Talvik for lunch. Talked to a (different) Polish cyclist briefly who was going in the opposite direction.
When we left Talvik, Philip and I sprinted ahead up the first hill and saw the Polish couple, sprinted even more and almost caught up to them at the top of the next hill, but decided to wait for Andrea and Torsten first. And waited. And waited. Eventually, Torsten appeared alone. Andrea’s bike had broken down a kilometer back.
Didn’t look good at all. The derailleur was bent into the wheel and the frame was bent a little, too, where the derailleur attaches. There was no way to fix that properly. So Andrea decided to remove the derailleur altogether, shorten the chain, and cycle on with a single gear. Easier said than done, but an hour later the bike was ready to roll again.
Soon we started to push her a little to increase the average speed a bit. We made it to Alta, after 103km of riding, where Andrea hoped to find a bike shop that could fix the bike, at least to some degree.
It was a wet and cool day today. Reached Alteidet after 104km.
A friend of Torsten and Philip’s, Andrea, joined us for the final ~550 kilometers to the North Cape.
We cycled in a more or less eastish direction, crossed two fjords by ferry, and stopped after 102km near a place called Rotsundelva.
Spent two days in Tromsø.
So we cycled along the coast of Senja Sázzá past tiny villages and settlements. In between there were a couple of passes and tunnels to master. Took another ferry to the island of Kvaløya and reached the city of Tromsø after 149km of cycling.
Talked to the Germans, Philip and Torsten, before leaving and it turned out they were going to the North Cape, too, on pretty much the same route I’d planned on taking as well. So we decided to cycle together for the time being.
We cycled northwards, crossed to the island of Andøya, and reached the town of Andenes at the very top of the island after about 110km. From there we took a ferry to Gryllefjord on the island of Senja Sázzá. On the boat we met two more Germans who were riding their Vespas to the North Cape. We pitched tents right outside Gryllefjord at a small lake that was warm enough for a swim.
Had a few emails to reply to so I stopped at the first campsite that offered Internet access, which was just 35km from Stokmarknes, near Sortland. In the evening some German cyclists arrived, but I didn’t pay much attention. It was a hot day today and I used the rain fly I’d bought back in Bodø to have some shade for the tent.