/ Driving to Lofoten (Reprise)

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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.
HeMa on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Nice...


Although...

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

Well, never seen a manned speedtrap in Norwedge. But a bunch of automated ones in Sweden. Good thing they put up signs before the darn tin-police, so you know where they are when driving through the boring northern Sweden during the dead of the night.
Fultonius - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Sounds like a reasonable option for people who have unlimited free days and more limited funds.

I couldn't imagine wasting 10 days to save a few pennies myself. Damn limited holidays...



HeMa on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
> I couldn't imagine wasting 10 days to save a few pennies myself. Damn limited holidays...

It's only less than a days (24h) drive from Stockholm (albeit with 2 or 3 drivers...) And about a day if doing it solo. I seem to recall, getting to Stockholm would take about a day from Calais as well.
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
> I couldn't imagine wasting 10 days to save a few pennies myself. Damn limited holidays...

Five weeks car hire and food at Norwegian prices is more than a few pennies! In fact, if I had flown out, it would have been six and a half weeks car hire...
But yes, it would only be worth doing if you have time for a lengthy trip.
In reply to Robert Durran:

Last year we did Sheffield > Harwich, Ferry to Esbjerg, drove to the top of Denmark, Ferry to Larvik, drove to Trondhiem, Ferry to Bodo, drove to Skutvik, ferry to Lofoten.

We decided in future if we are going for less than a month it would be (much) cheaper to fly and hire a car!


Chris
Fultonius - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: We didn't bother hiring a car. 250 for flights, then got the bus to Svolvaer - we were there for 3 weeks though. Buying a car for 6 weeks would be cheaper than hiring!!
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to HeMa:
> I seem to recall, getting to Stockholm would take about a day from Calais as well.

Well over a thousand miles - pushing it in a day, especially on your own. I did a 900 mile single push back to Calais and that was pretty grim.

Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) We didn't bother hiring a car. 250 for flights, then got the bus to Svolvaer - we were there for 3 weeks though. Buying a car for 6 weeks would be cheaper than hiring!!

If you are happy to be limited to the popular bit of Lofoten, that is fine. Having done Lofoten before, my main objectives were on the mainland and away from the Svolvaer/Henningsvaer area of Lofoten, so a car was essential. Another time, I might not bother with Lofoten at all - the mainland stuff is much more inspiring!

Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Last year we did Sheffield > Harwich, Ferry to Esbjerg, drove to the top of Denmark, Ferry to Larvik, drove to Trondhiem, Ferry to Bodo, drove to Skutvik, ferry to Lofoten.
>
> We decided in future if we are going for less than a month it would be (much) cheaper to fly and hire a car!


But that is using a lot of expensive ferries, which I avoided!

How much was the Denmark/Larvik ferry? That would avoid the expensive Danish bridges.
In reply to HeMa:
> getting to Stockholm would take about a day from Calais as well.

Perhaps possible in 24 hours if you drive next to non-stop, but it would be a bit epic and not safe if you didn't have a number of drivers.
HeMa on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to HeMa)
> I did a 900 mile single push back to Calais and that was pretty grim.

Well, HELLsinki to Svolvaer is 1450 km, and I've done it in one go and solo. Grim, yes but doable.

Which is why I mentioned that 2-3 drivers would make it more tolerable (two awake, one sleeping in the back).

HeMa on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to HeMa)
> [...]
>
> Perhaps possible in 24 hours if you drive next to non-stop, but it would be a bit epic and not safe if you didn't have a number of drivers.

Geneve to Stockholm takes less than 24h, including a few hours powernap around DK/GER border. With one driver...
In reply to HeMa: Calais Stockholm http://bit.ly/NceQPR "1,724 km, 17 hours 59 mins, In current traffic: 19 hours 18 mins" and that's taking the ferry from Ger. to Dk. Having driven this route this summer its a long way, even stopping along the way. And particularly with the kids! :)
ebygomm - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Coming from the North, Hull to Rotterdam ferry saves a fair bit of driving. Probably not a huge difference time wise but that time can be spent sleeping instead. Far cheaper than harwich esbjerg too
HeMa on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Well, I was sort of expecting not have kids in tow...

http://goo.gl/maps/cTGES took me pretty spot on 24h, including the few hours of sleep... and driving alone.
Heike - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Sounds a great option if you have loads of time! The only thing I am wondering how much 8000 miles is in car depreciation? We usually drive to the Alps and back (3500 m roundtrip) and I often wonder about this.
Heike
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Heike:
> Sounds a great option if you have loads of time! The only thing I am wondering how much 8000 miles is in car depreciation?

Yes, that is a fair point. Best not to think about it in my case - I spent 2000 at Scandinavian garages just to get the car to limp home. A garage in Edinburgh did no better, so it is now just almost worthles scrap and I've had to buy another one. Nightmare!
Heike - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Oh no! But I guess that would have happened anyways - just a few months later....I feel your pain I had to fork out 3500 for reconditioning the gearbox on our van last winter...
Rog Wilko on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs: We made the trip this "summer" and after paying 800 for Harwich-Esbjerg rtn were a bit shocked to have to pay 180 to get from Fredrikshavn (N Denmark) to Goteborg single (about 3 hrs). Can't remember what we paid for Larvik to Denmark on the way back, but we discovered these particular ferries are MUCH more expensive if you just turn up. Worthwhile making advanced booking. We made our Larvik - Denmark advance booking via the tourist office in Svolvaer - very helpful - and it was nowhere near 180.
Managed very little climbing for a variety of reasons but it was a great road trip, with some lovely campervan stopovers. Only three nights on campsites in six weeks :0D
Robert Durran - on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to Rog Wilko:
> We made our Larvik - Denmark advance booking via the tourist office in Svolvaer - very helpful - and it was nowhere near 180.

So, with advance booking, probably worth taking this ferry, cutting out some driving and the expensive Danish bridges.

> Managed very little climbing for a variety of reasons but it was a great road trip, with some lovely campervan stopovers. Only three nights on campsites in six weeks :0D

So it was you clogging up every layby in Scandinavia with a big white eyesore then!

Rog Wilko on 06 Sep 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Ouch! That's harsh.

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