Destination Nordkapp – Day 4
Day 4: Bronnoysund to Glomfjord 269.3km
Affectionately dubbed ‘Ferry Day’ this was destined to be one of the lower mileage riding days. The assertion that even the reduced distance would render the previous days as average by comparison still seemed unlikely, and the roads to the first ferry didn’t suggest any great elevation in epicness. But they were just the calm before the storm.
Ice blue fjords and unimaginably large landscapes unfurl, laced together with roads that persistently blew our tiny little minds. Sunburn was suddenly a real risk on every ferry, the temperature soaring to 28-degrees C, making the roads sticky even for the AT’s mediocre Dunlops, and the riding pace was now being determined by the roads, not any fear of the invisible police. The only thing slowing us down was the relentlessly incredible geographical tapestry we were passing through. I’m lucky to be well travelled, but there’s a scale and drama to Norway’s coast that’s truly awe-inspiring. Our route was littered with Africa Twins, as our forty-strong sporadic convoy played out a random relay race; riders taking turns to give in to the compulsion to stop and stare, only to pass you again later as you succumbed to the same impulse.
While the ferries could have been frustrating, they actually provided a chance to take stock, to soak up our surroundings, and relive the last tranche of roads in our minds. With superhuman eyes we could have looked out across the Atlantic to Iceland, and yet we were basting gently in our riding kit, and seeking shade on the ferry decks – the snow and shivering discomfort of day one a distant memory. Ironically, as we lounged in T-shirts and jeans on the deck of one of the longer ferry crossings, we passed the globe marker that denoted our crossing into the Arctic Circle. It all felt a little surreal.
Persistent lack of sleep, constant riding, and the pressing heat saw many riders taking every opportunity to sleep for a few minutes, laid out on the pavements as we waited for ferries in coves that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Cornwall’s north coast, while others chain-smoked ice creams and I spent 40 minutes searching the road for a GoPro that had snapped its mount and made a bid for freedom. After giving up and a furious ride to the final ferry stop, I was rewarded by the discovery of it trapped between my drybag and the topbox. I wish I’d bought a lottery ticket that day.
We were warned that the stretch from Foroy to Glomjord would be an impressive climax to the end of the day, the Fv17 clinging to the twisted volcanic vista, while glaciers reached with prehistoric fingers down to cyan fjords that looked like they’d been painted with a vivid brightness that had no regard for reality.
Cold damp tunnels cut through impassable mountain ranges – some as much as 7km long, and so steeply cutting into the earth that your ears popped and the burden of all the rock above weighed heavy on even the least claustrophobic minds. Then we’d burst out into the light to a different world, and often different weather, before plunging into another tunnel, to be released into yet another reality minutes later.
The final leg into Glomfjord saw some of us throw caution to the wind for a ride that more resembled a public time trial. Buzzing and exhausted on arrival at our less than salubrious hostel in the tiny town, we headed out by coach to jump on a boat over to Svartisen Gard, where an isolated cabin was the setting for dinner under the gaze of Norway’s second largest glacier.
Despite lumpy beds and a complete lack of nightfall, it was an exhausted sleep that closed out the best day I’ve ever had riding a motorcycle.