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.

Senja

By Stuart Lowe on

In the morning I woke feeling warm. A little too warm. All the layers I've grown accustomed to wearing were unnecessary in strong sunlight. I had another dip in the Atlantic. I took my time having lots for breakfast. I didn't want to leave this perfect slice of summer.

I finally got on the way at 11am aware that I should aim for the 3pm ferry at Gryllefjord. The route went in and out of more bays then went up. Not more up my knees complained. Actually they were complaining a little less. Perhaps Christophe's oils have helped. Or perhaps it was just the sun.

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Senja

About 100 metres up there was a viewing platform. There were also several cyclists. Here I met Kristen and her dog Whisky from the UK. She was heading north. I also met Jonathan from Germany heading north. Then Agata from Poland arrived from the same direction as me. She was followed by Victoria and Ewan from Scotland/Finland. It was getting like Piccadilly Circus on the side of this mountain. Kristen warned of the tunnel ahead. We'd be going up for 1.9km inside it.

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Jonathan

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Kristen and Whisky

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Agata

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Ewan and Victoria

I got going. At the start of the tunnel I got behind Victoria and Ewan as I felt we'd be safer in a more visible group. It wasn't that bad in the end and was shorter than the Nordkapp tunnel.

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heading up

Down the other side I let Victoria and Ewan go on ahead whilst I took photos. I reached a lovely bay with glorious blue water and some sandy beaches. This is the Arctic I kept reminding myself.

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Flowers

I had to get a move on to catch that ferry otherwise I'd have a four hour wait for the next. Around the next corner my heat fell. I could see a road contouring up a big hill. As I got closer I saw there was also a tunnel. Which would it be? Thankfully the answer was the tunnel. It was new. It went downwards. It was well lit. Hooray. I sailed into Gryllefjord with 15 minutes to spare. At the ferry, as well as Victoria and Ewan, I met Robert and Martin who had both cycled from Germany. The coast of Norway is a popular route, clearly.

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Looking back at Senja from the ferry

The ferry took about 2 hours to get to Andenes. There I went to the Tourist information office and used to WiFi. As I headed out of town I reached a cross roads and was wondering why a camper van was driving so slowly across it. Then I spotted Alistair driving it. Sheena and Alistair were here! As it happens they'd got talking to Victoria and Ewan in a shop due to their Irn Bru tops and they said I was behind them. It was so nice to see Sheena and Alistair again.

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Sheena and Alistair in Andenes

They were going to park in a swimming spot a few kilometres north of Nøss. It was 40km away. I didn't fancy 40km of hills. However, cycling along to Bleik I realised And&oslah;ya was different to what I've experienced so far. It was pretty flat. The wind was actually behind me. The sun was out. I forgave a suggested camping spot near Bleik and made the most of the favourable conditions. I sustained over 30km/h for a while.

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Not bleak in Bleik

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flat roads

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Andøya

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Near Nøss

I reached the camping spot just after 8pm. Sheena and Alistair kindly let me eat in their van and Alistair opened a bottle of wine. We chatted long into the evening sharing stories. The midnight sun is a tricky thing. We hadn't realised the time. It was well after 1am but it had been an evening well spent. I went to bed under blue skies, happy.