Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

It begins

By Stuart Lowe on

I cycled back to the campsite and filled up my water carrier with water. Then it was back to the airport and finally onto new roads. I road to my first fjord. I was going to have to cycle miles around it.

I stopped for a late lunch and a road-side picnic spot where I promptly lost my camping knife after its first use. Too many things were going wrong in a short space of time. My GPS had decided not to show me the maps of Norway I'd made and which had been accessible back home. It was now pretty much useless for navigation (just for logging where I'd been). My on-the-go card reader had decided it wasn't going to read SD cards despite the fact it had worked fine at home. We're the Russians stopping my technology from over the border? Was there some kind of weird magnetic rock in Kirkenes affecting my electronics? Did I have gremlins? Was I just unlucky? An answer doesn't help, unfortunately. I still have to make do. Thankfully there aren't many roads so navigation isn't too hard right now. I could make do without getting pictures off my camera as I'd done on other trips. I'd survive.

As I reached the end of the fjord I saw a cyclist going the opposite direction. I stopped. So did he. He turned out to be Helmuth who had ridden from Denmark. He was on the last day of his trip and was going to meet his wife in Kirkenes. After a nice chat we both carried on our respective journeys.

It is slow going this time. Partly that is because I have extra weight in my kit and partly because of the hills. It also doesn't help that I can't keep track of how far I have to go on my GPS. My guesses don't take into account how winding the roads can be.

At 96km in I start looking for somewhere to camp. I can't quite find anywhere not rocky or lumpy or windy or far enough away from a house (you have to be 150). One spot I see already has a camper van in it. I finally find my spot at the 120km mark which is handily how far I'd hoped to go today. It still has the cold north easterly wind but I angle my tent so the opening is sheltered.

I have dinner and some tea while admiring the not-a-sunset (because the sun doesn't set this far north).

My tent keeps out the wind, but I still wrap up warm in my sleeping bag. During the "night" the sun stays shining and that helps keep the temperature up too.