Ever since we invested in our first motor home some 12 years ago, Ken and I had dreamed of driving to the North Cape. North Cape is a cape on the northern coast of the island of Magerøya in Northern Norway. The cape is in Nordkapp Municipality in Finnmark county, Norway.
This year we made it happen. We chose to go early during May-June. The school holidays had not started and the midgets had not surfaced. We made sure we had camping booklets from Sweden & Norway, motor home insurance, health insurance etc Ken watched the WX forecasts, cold and ice in May, so I packed woollen jumpers, fleeces, thick jackets, hats and gloves! We booked 2 ferries from Newcastle to Amsterdam and back and bought a good map for all of Scandinavia.
At last we were all set! 37 days of great adventures to come.
We were to drive through 7 countries on route:- England, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway and back, and of course had to have all the relevant currencies with us as well. Once there we had to buy a Scandinavian Camping Card, the ASCI- one from the UK was not accepted over there; it just helped for ID purposes. We drove and stopped where we wanted to and enjoyed the local areas and forests.
Our adventures started at Newcastle to Amsterdam on the ferry, straight east to Enschede in the eastern part of The Netherlands, then to Hannover in Germany where we turned north, through the Elbe Tunnel at Hamburg, and then to Flensburg and into Denmark. .At Kolding we turned east across the islands, passed Odense and on to Copenhagen and the new very impressive bridge to Malmo in Sweden.
We headed north to Joenkoping, along Lake Vaettern and to Versteraas towards the coast at Gaevle, then to Hudiksvall, Umea, and Lulea till we came to Haparanda/Torneo which is right on the border between Sweden and Finland. The Tourist office in Torneo provided Finnish campsite info, and we were now able to work out where to stay next. The river Torniojoki acts like a natural border and we drove in and out of Finland north before crossing into Norway where our first stop was in Kautokeino.
We were now in Sami country and the drive across the Finnmark Vidda. This is one of Norway’s largest arctic mountain plateaus 400 and 550 metres above sea level and the home of the Sami people. During the 4 hour drive to Karasjok we met only one oncoming car, no overtaking at all. We stopped frequently to enjoy the snow covered mountains, watched enormous waterfalls and rapids and saw a lot of reindeer licking the salt on the road verges.
The snow had only melted 2 weeks before to free the roads, but it was piled up along the sides of road. We had the most fantastic weather, it was 30 degrees plus up here and my woolly jumpers were redundant! Before we got to the Cape we had to drive through some very long tunnels, one was 6.8 km long and went deep down under the sea to get us up onto Mageroeya (the island which has the actual North Cape right at its Northern tip). The town of Honningsvaag on the island had a cruise ship in harbour, and it towered over the town. The drive up to The North Cape was superb with high snow covered mountains, clear new roads and no tolls to pay anywhere. The Cape is stunning, after the customary pictures we wandered around and soaked up the atmosphere with, of course, the obligatory 24 hours a day of sunshine! dscn0304
We thought about activating the Summit LA/FI-019, but, although the summit appeared clear there was still a band of very deep melting snow to be crossed. As we did not have any skis or snowshoes with us, we decided that the risk of venturing out into the snow field without the right equipment would be too foolhardy.
We had got there safely and then it was time to meander down the E6 (main road) south. More hills, glaciers, swollen rivers, snow and reindeer along the road as we drove south to Narvik and then to Bodoe. Ken had served in the Royal Norwegian Air Force in the late fifties up there, and it was good to see the area again, and the best bit was the visit to the Norwegian Aviation Museum.
The good weather stayed with us on our drive south towards Mo i Rana and Trondheim. Beautiful fjords and mountains surrounded us. The beauty of it all seemed overwhelming at times. We went east into Gaudalen to Roeros and Alvdal, south to Elverum in Hedmark. Our aim was to get to Magnor, Morokulien to the radio shack. The keys to get into the radio hut were kept at the Swedish Customs-house, and after showing your license and paying some Kronas towards the upkeep of the station, we were able to return and operate as LG5LG for a few hours. FUN!
We passed many SOTA summits in 4 countries, and in an ad hoc manner we decided to activate some of them using the FT817 with a vertical antenna for 40, 20, 17 and 15 meter bands.
– This is a summit in a nature reserve on the east side of Lake Vaettern. Activated easily using 20m.
SSM/GA-004 Jarvs/klack (locals call it just Klackan) – This is a SOTA summit within the reserve inHudiksvall at Bothnia Bay. A map on the display board showed us the path through the forest, all 1350 metres of it with a climb of about 250 metres, to the summit. We set up for 20m and worked through a little pileup on 14.285.
– There is an old hunting lodge from the days of the Russian Tsars virtually on the summit.. As soon as I switched on the FT817, the S-meter went S9+ and stayed there on all bands. We were able to make out some signals on 17 metres, and were able to qualify the activation using that band.
– This an alpine skiing area, but at the end of May was virtually deserted. We headed up the mountain using what was a downhill mountain bike course! We had the summit to ourselves, and managed to qualify using 20m SSB. At the summit there is a signpost indicating a walking path back down the hill. We chose to follow this path down. It took us nearly 2 hours to climb up, and about 45 minutes to get back down again!
LA/ST-009 Gråkallen – This SOTA summit is close to Trondheim, and one can drive all the way up to Skistua, a skiing centre just a few hundred metres below the summit. The path up to the summit is well marked and although a bit rough in places, it is easy enough. We set up just to the east of the summit just outside the fences which surround the various electronic installations on the actual summit.
LA/ST-118 Quintushogda – is a summit a few miles north-east of Roros. It appeared to be a previously non-activated summit as far as we could tell. We climbed up passed some of the old copper mine workings and got to the summit just as the rain started. Christine had brought the old rain shelter and we were able to operate in relative comfort on 20 SSB and some CW.
OZ/OZ-010 Gyllenlöwes Höj – We arrived at the parking area in the forest just a few hundred meters away from the summit. After a short walk under the dense canopy of broad leaf trees, we arrived at what is actually a memorial to resistance fighters from WW2. We set up on 20 m and after a bit of a struggle managed to qualify the activation.
This was a trip of a lifetime; If YOU have a chance, go and do it; you won’t regret it! It was close to 4900 miles on the clock by the time we got back home. It truly was a dream trip and we were very pleased to have been able to achieve it.