Europe End-to-End 2010

Day Twelve - Sunday 15th August

The run up to North Cape can be split into sections, the first of 60/70 miles involves climbing up and over a number of passes until a vast blank plain is reached at about 400 mts (you start from sea level at Alta). The wind on this plain was something to behold and appeared over the next 50 ish miles to blow from every direction in turn. Although the bike was stripped of all unnecessary stuff when I was into wind I could not get into top gear, changing from 5-4-5 just to maintain momentum. I thought the first section was bad - I was in for a surprise! Dropping back down to sea level I entered the tunnel to access the island, relief - no wind, no rain, oh I forgot to mention it was raining continually. An £8 toll greeted me at the end of the tunnel, but in fairness I got two other tunnels (one longer) and two substantial bridges FOC.

I went into the main town of Honningsvag to refuel. I parked up and as I walked around the front of the bike I was blown over by a gust of wind, full motorcycle kit and waterproofs cushioned the blow - mainly on my backside, my only damage was being hit by a passing half-full watering can! The North Cape centre is 1000 feet above the sea and to reach it in 30 miles you climb and descend that height at least six times, the highlands were manageable - previous training in the morning but down at sea level, normally right next to the sea the buffet effect was amazing - sorry wrong word, terrifying! With the wind bouncing off the rock face a few mts to my left or right there was no predicting where the bike was going next - literally! If I could not see around a corner it was down to 2nd gear and wrestle the bike - threepenny bit style to the next straight bit. This went on for an hour. Sometimes trying to stay on your own side of the road was impossible.

At long last the tourist centre came into view and I was relieved of £3.25 to park on a Luna landscape some distance from a much larger version of the old Snowdon Café! At least inside it was warm, dry and wind free. Coffee, slice of cake, postcards a few photographs and now I can set out to do it all again! Wind unchanged and still raining but it could not get any worse - wrong! The temperature had never got above 5.5 deg C all day but as I crossed the great plain it got dark at 1600 hrs! The temperature went down and down at just over 90 mins to Alta it was 0.5 deg C and then started snowing!

I have been riding motorbikes for the best part of 40 years but without doubt this was my worst day on two wheels - ever! Still it can only get better, going south tomorrow.

Travelled today 296 miles
Total distance covered 1868 miles

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