Crossing the Arctic Circle by boat

The trip north from Lillehammer to Trondheim (which served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217)) took us through some amazing countryside – it seemed that with every bend in the road there was a new vista, another wonder.

Green meadows with hay bales piled up high, picture perfect villages with whitewashed churches and their distinctive skinny steeples, sparkling fjords and lakes, rolling hills, stony mounds and heathland, ghostly bald peaks with not a tree to be seen, mountain cabins, craggy moorlands, bubbling streams, waterfalls, fir covered hills, gurgling rivers.

The typical Scandinavian red ochre painted farm houses
The shinny church spires seen all over Norway

There was water wherever we looked….
….sparkling fjords….beautiful lakes
There were rolling hills
Stony mounds and….
….craggy heathlands
Mysterious bald hills

Lots of fir trees…
And rivers.

Then as we drove onto higher ground we started to see patches of ice and snow high up in the mountains, grass covered ski runs scarring the mountain slopes, and climbing ever upwards to our camping spot for the night in a national park, densely packed conifers.

Patches of ice (or snow) on the top of mountains
Ski slopes waiting for snow
Densely packed conifers

As we drove into the isolated car park (it was miles from any village or any kind of habitation) we were shocked to see the place absolutely full of cars and loads of people milling about, chatting and changing their clothes after some kind of sporting event! We had no idea what the event was but thought it could have been orienteering. Needless to say we beat a hasty retreat!

What are all these people doing in “our” camping spot

By this time it was getting late and we were concerned that we wouldn’t find anywhere to stay but we kept on going and around 7.30 pm finally arrived at Storsandgard camping just a short way from Trondheim.

We drive down the mountain towards Trondheim
And saw this lovely sight on the way

Refreshed from a night’s sleep we set off the next morning hoping to reach North Norway by the end of the day. Again, we found the landscape enchanting and particularly loved seeing the shiny, painted hikers cabins – some with a grass roof!

Enchanting landscape
Lots more water…

….hikers hut with a grass roof

By mid- afternoon we had crossed over the official line to North Norway. Now we were starting to see more patches of ice and snow on the shaded sides of mountains. We had made good time despite a bit of rain so we decided to head for Levang on the scenic Helgeland coast where we could board a small car ferry to Nesna.

We made it to northern Norway!
Some serious ice on the mountainside!

In our normal haphazard way, we hadn’t looked up ferry leaving times but struck lucky as we only had to wait about 15 minutes before one arrived to take us to Nesna. There were also small ferries leaving for nearby islands that sounded very tempting but we were anxious to keep heading north while the weather was still mild.

Luckily the ferries were still running!
The car ferry arrives ready to disgorge its cargo
Ready to board!

The interior of the ferry

Being die-hard yachties we were so happy to be on the water again – even though it was on a car ferry! The misty rain gave the mountains that surrounded us a ghostly atmosphere which we thoroughly enjoyed.

The view was very atmospheric

Once on the other side we drove out of the ferry at Nesna and carried on for another hour until we reached a very pleasant free camping spot under a big cliff at the side of a mountain.

Our free park for the night

The following day promised not one but two more ferry rides plus some impossibly dramatic landscapes and many, many tunnels drilled through the mountains.

The dramatic landscapes of norther Norway

No wonder road tolls are expensive. The Norwegians have drilled hundreds of tunnels through the mountains.

On the first ferry of the day we had a moment of great excitement when we crossed into the Arctic Circle. The ferry Captain pointed out the marker and told us that we were on the same latitude as Greenland and Alaska.

We set off to cross into the Arctic Circle
The scenery was stunning

There it is! The marker indicating the beginning of the Arctic Circle

Having crossed the Equator on our yacht a few times in the last couple of years it was a thrilling experience to be crossing over into the Arctic Circle for a change – and especially wonderful to be doing it by boat.

Another view of the Arctic Circle marker (well it did feel special!)
The Arctic Circle awaits us ….

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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