The weather is being very kind; it’s bright and sunny and a good few degrees warmer than it was on the Lofoten Islands. Kampington is soldiering on; he’s still not his usual perky self when first starting up each morning, but at least he hasn’t had to resort to his (WD40) inhaler again. We’ll see how he gets on at Nordkapp, which is the furthest North we’ll be travelling and is quite exposed… (there’s an update later in this post)
It’s a long way from the Lofotens to Nordkapp; we broke up the drive on Friday with a stop to see the rock carvings at Alta. These are between 2000 and 7000 years old, carved into the bedrock. Originally they were just above the sea line, in a layer of red rocks where the carvings would have stood out clearly against the red background. We could see the reddish colour on some of the rocks near the water’s edge:
As the land has risen over time, the carvings are now further from the shore (so the oldest carvings are furthest up the slope) and the rocks have lost their surface red colour.
The tradition in Scandinavia used to be to mark rock engravings using red paint to make them easier to see; nowadays that’s not the “done thing”, so more recent finds haven’t been marked and they’re slowly removing the red paint from the rest.
Some reindeer in a traditional reindeer enclosure (used to gather up the herd):
Boats and hunters (driving reindeer into the water and hunting them from boats was another method of trapping reindeer):
This was one of my favourites; a boat with a long fishing line and an enormous fish on the end. Not sure how the bear is managing to eye up the fish though (artistic licence?):
The rock engravings that aren’t marked out in red can be much more difficult to see, although our entrance fee included a really nice little booklet with lots of explanations (it’s one to keep, which is rare for us, space being at a premium in Kampington). It has photos of all of the rocks along the boardwalk trail with the rock engravings marked in white, so at least you did know what you were looking for:
From Alta, it was “only” another three and a half hours to Nordkapp. Norway is a very long country. It creeps up on you, but you do eventually start thinking of distances like an American or Australian rather than the Brits that we are….
We’ve finally started seeing lots of reindeer:
We reached Nordkapp on Saturday lunchtime. We’ve covered 4449 miles since leaving home: 539 in the UK, 1190 from Calais to Hirtshals where we got the ferry to Norway, and 2720 in Norway. This is our 38th night in Europe (plus 3 in the UK = 41 nights in total so far). When reading this post in draft form, Mark’s comment at this point was “41 nights? Must be almost time to change the sheets……”.
Moving swiftly on……
Nordkapp is actually on an island, and to get there you go through a tunnel under the sea.
This used to cost a horrendous amount of money (£50-odd each way?!) but the tunnel is now paid for so thankfully it’s free (would that happen in the UK, we wondered, or would a pretext be found to keep charging?). Nordkapp is Norway’s version of Land’s End… but when you’re a foreign tourist you just have to do it.
We paid our £54 for 24 hours and arrived on a big car park. Kampington got a spot in the front row of vans:
From just in front of Kampington, we could look across to the Nordkapp monument thingie:
We had a walk round there and Mark insisted we get our photo taken in true tourist fashion. When I later looked at the photo and commented “oh no, I look like Wallace” Mark’s only response was “oh yes, so you do. Nice cheese, Grommit”……
There’s also an arty installation called Children of the World: a statue of mother and child done by a “proper” artist and 7 designs on discs by kids from around the World.
Inside the visitor centre we saw a 15 minute film showing the area in all seasons. There’s a big souvenir shop, some general exhibits (stuffed birds, German navy ships etc), and a strange sound and light thing called “Cave of Light” which was supposed to represent the four seasons. After about 2-3 of the 6 minutes it was supposed to last, I commented that it wasn’t very good. As Mark replied “yes, Cave of Light, rhymes with sh***”.
We spent Saturday night on the car park, waiting for midnight to try to finally get a photo of the midnight Sun, and hoping that it wouldn’t get too cold for poor Kampington. At 8pm, Mark had a wander round the car park and counted 85 vans, with more still arriving. They’d been pouring in all afternoon; we’d been lucky to arrive early enough to get a good spot.
Come midnight, it was of course completely light but the Sun was hiding. We’ve been trying to get a midnight Sun photo for so long and failing (all those mountains do tend to get in the way) that we thought we’d better head outside anyway and take a “midnight daylight” pic:
The vans were stacked 5-deep by this point; here’s part of the front row:
One quite amusing fact about the Nordkapp tourist experience is that it’s not even at the most northerly point. There’s a bit of land to the West that sticks out a bit further:
You can get there, but it’s apparently an 11 mile walk (total i.e. there and back) along a path that can get boggy. No-one seems to mention any glorious scenery along the way, so presumably it’s a bit desolate. One for the purists; neither of us felt any great need to go there. We’ve come as far North as Kampington can go, and that’s good enough for us….
Sunday morning brought bacon and egg butties! Mark had been rereading OurTour (a popular blog) and once he saw that they’d had bacon and egg butties at Nordkapp, the concept was immediately adopted as a “must do”. So bacon was duly purchased for the event….
The other thing Sunday morning brought was the usual Kampington test start…. He really struggled, but just as I was giving up hope he finally chugged into life. It was a bit windy during the night (and the wind is cold) but the air temperature this morning is, according to Kampington, an amazing 18 degrees… Oh well, we’ll just have to see how he gets on heading South…
We saw some really nice free spots on the road up to Nordkapp (which we have to go back down anyway) so are planning to make use of one of those tonight, which will get us to the fettlings (service point) tomorrow morning, bang on schedule, after which we’ll be heading into new territory again…..