Destination Nordkapp – Day 5
Day 5: Glomfjord to Camp Lofoten 253.4km
The shortest riding day of the trip was, by simple maths, unlikely to deliver the highest number of great roads – but it proved not to be so. The morning’s route was dominated by amazing bridges (check out Saltstraumen on Google maps, the maelstrom of whirlpools and drama unfolding beneath), disorientatingly mirrored lakes and fjords, and coast-hugging endlessly arcing roads. But after an early start to reach our last ferry of the trip in good time for fear of missing it, we fell foul of numerical bureaucracy, and suffered the most tedious seven hours of our eight-day adventure.
Cruising through Bodo, the Norwegian equivalent of the worst of Calais (and the only ugly place we saw), we were glad to be in good time to exit it for the 3.5hour crossing to Lofoten island. But with a ferry limit of 36 bikes, and well over 40 in the queue – the inevitable happened. Nine of us were stranded on Bodo for 7 hours while we waited for the afternoon sailing. It was miserable, there was nowhere to go, and we didn’t dare ride away as we’d relinquish pole position for the next crossing. When we eventually landed on Lofoten island, we pulled the pin, riding in a tight group of three to make light work of the insane route to Sun Kiss Camp – where we would spend the night.
If Mordor were coastal and beautiful, this place is the real embodiment of its ethereal drama. Mountains rise from the sea like they were pushed forth with the most beautiful violence. Tiny clusters of red and white timber houses cling like limpets to the shores, and there are acres of drying racks where stinking fish lose their moisture to the air. The only economies in this remote region are fishing and tourism, but if a lottery win ever befalls me, the petrol stations will do a good trade because I’ll spend the rest of my days riding the roads on Lofoten.
At just gone 10pm we finally roll into camp, and mop up the remains of the beach barbeque the rest of the group had enjoyed four hours earlier. Of course, it was still broad daylight, and with the ferry misery long behind us it was impossible not to be wowed by the setting. The Caribbean would struggle to offer a better beach, and the phenomenon that was unfolding on the horizon was enough to confound every one of us. As the sun got to a fist height above kissing the ocean, it just moved horizontally right. It never touched down, and as ‘morning’ approached, it simply started to rise again. Surreal.
We saw it all, too. Sleeping in a tent in such an incredible spot seemed like a waste, so we pulled our camp beds onto the beach, dragged some reindeer skins from the main tent, and slept on the sand under the never-setting sun.