By my reckoning, today is about the mid point of our time away. It’s fitting then, that we will hit the apex of our trip, Nordkapp, the northern most point of Norway and Europe. Chris wakes me with the news a herd of reindeer stopped by in the early hours. He has strict instructions to wake me next time.
Nordkapp sits atop the island of Mageroya, linked to the mainland by a road bridge. Our last 80 or so miles take us through the last of the plains with a quick hike through stunted birch trees at lunch time. We then leave our old friend the E6 to drive up the E69, along the Laksefjorden which runs out to the Barents sea and Artic ocean.
It’s another glorious day with blue skies and waters. The E69 is a rather fabulous road, if sometimes scary. It wraps around the mountains on one side, fjord or ocean the other. A few hairy tunnels too. We’re well above the treeline and mountains are grassed or bare.
We see so many reindeer we lose count, adults, babies, brown and speckled white. Fuzzy antlers a plenty. Some in herds, others leading a more solitary life. One memorable group are having an afternoon siesta by road works, enjoying the shade the worksite offers. Chris turns (no mean feat on a mountain road with an 8m vehicle) so I can get close and we draw a crowd. I offer carrots, but all I get is a deeply suspicious look. Still though, I leave them a couple and get within a couple of metres. I don’t want to spook them onto the road.
We’re pinching ourselves on our good fortune with the weather. Nordkapp is notorious for getting fogged in or rain. Each corner we turn offers a glorious horseshoe cove of blue water and either a pebble or sand shore. Higher up are floating lakes, nested in mountain depressions, their reflective surface broken only by the occasional sea bird taking a bath in fresh waters.
Nature is not to be defeated though. The higher we climb, the colder it gets. The colder it gets, the foggier it gets. Our blue skies turn to pea soup fog and by the time we are on top, visibility is down to a few metres. Still though, we’re here, we made it. And fogs lift.
We settle and explore what we can. It’s bitterly cold and windy. I have to put my gloves back on in between foggy pictures – far too cold to leave hands out. We get the obligatory picture atop the globe sculpture that marks the tip. The fog shifts briefly and I get a few snaps, but it’s more a taste of what we’re missing. The people I feel sorry for are the cyclists. Having no doubt taken days to slog up the mountain, with no accommodation other than a flimsy tent, only to find fog.
Someone up there likes us, it seems. Just before midnight, the fog lifts entirely, leaving gloriously clear skies and the midnight sun. Chris can’t be coaxed out of slumber, but I’m off like a shot to hike the cliffs and take it all in. The place is abuzz, there are 9 coaches in the carpark and many, many motorhomes. Lots of poor cold souls in tents too.
The midnight sun is gentle through the remaining clouds above the water. It pools in circles of light that dance on the water. I can now see that we are on top of a headland, with many others either side, deep gorges in between. It’s very stark, very beautiful, and oh so light.