The Arctic Circle Experience.

Musk Ox Flash-Back. You will be glad to learn, as we were, that the army chase the musk ox out of the artillery range into the national park using helicopters before they start firing. It seems that musk ox can manage 60 kph when encouraged this way.

As those who have studied the map will have noted we are now heading north in Norway on the coastal road (the 17) rather than the more central and popular E6. Everyone we talked to recommended the coast road (and rightly so, I have taken the E6 before and whilst beautiful it is something of a campervan racetrack to and from North Cape).

Even on the 17 I estimate that about 20% of the traffic is campervans (Italians easily the most common at the moment, followed by Germans, Norwegians, French, Swiss, and last the British). Because of Slarty Bardfast's excellent work the coastal route involves lots of ferry crossings (one every 75km?). On average each crossing takes about 40 minutes and costs (for a six metre campervan and two people) about $20USA. One unanticipated bonus of the coastal route is that the crossing of the Arctic Circle takes place on board a ferry significantly reducing the scale of roadside souvenir stands and visitor centres that so enhance the "Arctic Circle Experience" on the E6.

The scenery varies from interesting to spectacular, with lots of suitable "wild" camping areas. In many places the lay-bys appear specifically designed for campervans with individual, grass surrounded, hard-standing areas and toilet blocks! "No Camping" signs are very rare, although some parking areas do have signs rather weakly wishing you "an enjoyable short stay". These seem universally ignored.

North of Trondheim we made a small detour to Bølareinto see the world famous 6000 year old rock carvings of a reindeer and a man on skis. Both carvings are approximately life size and are on large gently curved rocks that have suffered some erosion and are difficult to make out. The notice near the reindeer says:

The Famous Reindeer of Bøla.

The reindeer of Bøla is the most famous reindeer of the whole world. It is a rock carving of a reindeer in natural size, ab. 71 inches in length and ab. 53 inches high. This rock carving is placed in a beautiful landscape, where the river Bøla has its outlet into Snåsavatnet. This lonely reindeer is a fully naturalistic masterpiece, made by a stone-age man of a well developed sense of form and beauty. It is a classic example of rock carving in Scandinavia - a well conserved souvenir from the arctic stone-age. It is well known to scientists all over the world.

For those interested in such things we passed Europe's largest radio antennae.

This 3.6km long antenna is (was) used for very low frequency (10-14Khz) radio signals for worldwide maritime navigation. Alas the cable was no longer present, somewhat invalidating their bold claim, a victim of the success of GPS I suspect.

When the weather is good the scenery remains spectacular, the natives friendly and rare, and the roads excellent. We also saw a couple of sea eagles.

Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2003-08-03.