Planning a European Road Trip to Nordkapp in the Arctic Circle
When my husband and I first met we bonded over our love of travel. I had just returned from nine months backpacking and he was saving up for a road trip to Morocco. When I started this blog it was never my intention to write about our travel experiences. However I have realised that we have plenty to share about trips we’ve taken together and individually, as well as many more plans. Next up for Steve is a road trip to Nordkapp in the Arctic Circle, the very top of Norway.
I have decided to write about this for two reasons. Firstly, it sounds fantastic and Norway looks stunning. Driving in Europe, although relatively easy, needs some extra planning, especially at the moment. So I am provide some hints and tips for planning a road trip to Norway.
Secondly he has organised the trip specifically to raise money for the charity Combat Stress. Being ex-forces he has seen first-hand the effects of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) on his old colleagues. Through this post I would like to help increase awareness of the charity he is supporting.
Facts about Nordkapp
Nordkapp or North Cape is at 71 degrees north (that’s 5 degrees into the Arctic Circle). It is the furthest point in Europe that you can drive to on a public road (the E69). The cape includes a 307-metre-high cliff (1,007 ft) with a large flat plateau on top, where visitors, can admire views of the Barents Sea to the north with the backdrop of the globe sculpture.
North Cape has a visitor centre with facilities (open seasonally).
The nearest town is Honningsvåg, 20 miles away, where there are a number of hotels and facilities. In the summer months many cruise ships stop here.
Combat Stress Driving Challenge
Steve started planning this trip nearly two years ago – he loves the planning! The reason being was that he wanted to take a new group of people on an adventure. It was as simple as putting an advert in our local paper. Various owners of 4×4 vehicles got in touch with him to talk about the plan. A couple of months later 6 pairs of drivers had signed up to the challenge. Each funding their own trip, Steve’s only criteria was that they should all raise £100 towards the charity.
The challenge he has set the team is to drive to Nordkapp within 75 hours. That means driving pretty much non-stop for 3 days. Drivers and co-drivers will be taking it in turn to drive and sleep. They have booked a night in a hotel in Honningsvåg for Thursday 18th April so they really hope to make it.
Setting off in April, there will still be snow in much of Arctic Norway so 4×4 vehicles and snow chains are essential. One of them is a Series 2 Land Rover, so despite the time challenge they will not be travelling over about 55 miles per hour so they can stay as a team.
How to Get To Nordkapp
Start with the ferry or Euro Tunnel to France or Harwich to the Hook of Holland. There used to be a ferry that crossed the North Sea into Norway (Newcastle to Stavanger) but that no longer runs. The team will take the Euro Tunnel, hoping to make it to the front of the queue so that they are first off and on their way.
The total journey is roughly 3500 km (2200 miles) from Calais. Through northern France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Then into Denmark and across the sea again on the Puttgarden to Rodby ferry and then the spectacular Copenhagen to Malmo toll road. This road is on a cable bridge, then onto a man-made island which disappears under the sea into a tunnel.
Their chosen route, which should be the fastest, is then through Sweeden via Stockholm, briefly into Finland and only entering Norway for the last few hundred miles. Once they have reached Nordkapp they will have a day to rest before setting off in slow time for the scenic route home.
That will be another blog post and the part that I am most jealous of missing out on – no I’m not part of the team – someone has to stay home with the children and the dog. Maybe another other time.
Planning an Overland Trip to Europe
Like any holiday abroad some planning is required. The uncertainty of leaving the EU has added to the requirements. It’s taken the insurance company 4 attempts to get the right details on the Green Card – we can only assume they are over-whelmed.
Essential Items Check list:
Passport (valid for 6 months)
International Driving Permit, this depends on the Brexit outcome. Check which one you need for the countries you are driving in, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Spain are different. They are available from the Post Office (larger branches) and require a passport photo. It costs £5.50
Proof of Valid Insurance and a Green Card – a document provided by your insurer to prove that you have adequate insurance cover for driving abroad.
Assuming you are driving into France you will need to have on you:
Full and valid driver’s licence
A copy of your V5C (vehicle registration docs)
Two NF certified breathalysers
Reflective jackets for all passengers
Headlamp beam deflectors
GB sticker (non GB-euro symbol plates only)
No speed camera detectors or sat-navs with camera locations
Supporting Combat Stress
2019 is the 100th anniversary year of the Combat Stress charity. After the 1st World war they called it shell shock. These days PTSD affects not just soldiers and military personnel but also individuals who have gone through traumatic events or extremely stressful situations.
It may have taken 100 years but at least now we are talking about this and recognising it as a real issue. Although on average, after leaving Service, it takes a veteran 12 years to ask for help. Demand for it’s services has nearly doubled in the past ten years.
You can support Steve and his team of drivers by donating via the Just Giving page “Charity Drive to Norkapp” which we have set up – they have already raised over £2000. By using the Just Giving link you know the money goes direct to Combat Stress and Steve is not involved in it.
I am hoping that the team members will add photos to the Facebook page here during the trip so we can see their progress. i’ll also be checking out the live web cam at Nordkapp, Steve will hopefully to call me when they get there so we can see them all! I will share their progress on my Facebook page.
I am really proud of my husband for making this a trip a fund raising challenge. Please support this important charity supporting veteran’s mental health if you can. Thank you