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Topic - Driving to Lofoten (Reprise)

Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2012
aFollowing this thread - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=496682&v=1#x6783632 - one or two people asked me to report back on driving to Lofoten.

I opted to avoid the expense of all ferries except the unavoidable Dover/Calais crossing. The most tedious part of the drive was from Calais to the Danish border on busy motorways. This could be avoided by the Harwich/Ebsjerg ferry, but the 800 cost was prohibitive. Cheaper, earlier booking might make it tempting next time! The total return tolls on the two big Danish/Swedish bridges was about 120. It might be worth considering a ferry from northern Denmark to Norway to avoid this and some mileage.

On the way out I took the inland route up Sweden. This is an excellent, quiet road. However, after about a thousand miles I had had enough of the scenic but monotonous forests and lakes, so, with a day in hand, I cut across to the Norwegian coast road at the arctic cirle and pottered up this, gawping at vast amounts of impressive rock. The 2700 miles from Edinburgh to Narvik/Harstad airport took a comfortable five days and was actually mostly enjoyable and relaxing, leaving me psyched and ready for action on arrival.

On the way back, I cut straight across via Kiruna to the Baltic coast road, which is faster, slightly shorter but less scenic than the inland route. The 2600 miles back to Edinburgh would have taken a very comfortable five days (I actually ended up doing it in an exhausting and stressful three and a half due to a major car problem (hot tip: avoid expensive garage bills at Scandinavian prices - 1500 for fitting a new battery and alternator which did nothing to solve the problem....).

The plan of driving out alone, avoiding the cost of car hire, with lots of kit and a load of cheap food, was, I think, a good one (I only spent about 20 on fresh veg in the whole six weeks and didn't bother with any alcohol). It provided myself and my less time rich partners who flew out with an excellent value trip. Having a couple of sea kayaks on the roof provided an excellent alternative activity in this summer's unfortunately largely awful weather (the plan to use them for some cunning approaches to some otherwise remote climbs was thwarted by this same weather!).

With my hitlist barely dented (indeed considerably added to!) because of the crap weather, I certainly plan to make a similar trip again.

I only saw one speed trap (just ouitside Svolvaer) during the entire 8000 mile round trip.
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