Day 189 Alta, Finnmark to Straumfjord, Troms, Norway.

Today, the weather has been utterly incredible. Northern Norway is experiencing a period of freak unseasonably hot temperatures. Whilst today in Edinburgh the average temperature was forecast at 14 degrees, at our campsite in Alta it was forecast to rise to 25 degrees, whereas in Nordkapp it was destined to be 28 degrees – unheard of! Whist we are loving this lovely hot weather at last, I find it pretty worrying that at 71 degrees north it can be so hot – climate change is well and truly upon us.

We had a relatively leisurely start in the campsite this morning, eating our breakfast in the sunshine. Our drive today was also at a more relaxed pace than the last two days – a modest hundred mile drive, which took us nearly three hours after stops. We first headed to the supermarket in Alta for supplies and diesel, then retraced our steps back down the E6 southwards. I felt a pang of sadness as we crossed out of Finnmark and into Troms again. Finnmark had exceeded all my expectations – a stunningly wild beautiful lace with wide open skies and crisp air. I think we would be hard pushed to experience this area under such ideal conditions again – we really were very lucky indeed, especially with the addition of Oliver tagging along on our long road trip.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at a lovey beach just after Reisafjorden, at a narrow strait of water called Rotsundet. A couple of other people were also on the beach, enjoying the extraordinarily hot weather. First one couple, then another, braved the ice cold temperatures and plunged into the water. Oliver couldn’t resist a quick paddle, but opted not to go the whole hog and have a swim. The boys enjoyed a couple of cold beers from the fridge, after I offered to drive the last leg to the campsite.    

We are staying on a small campsite on the shore of Straumfjord. It is a sublime spot by the water, with a splendid panoramic view. Once set up, we took a FaceTime call from Thomas and Katy, who leave for Australia tomorrow. They are obviously very excited about their new adventure, and I am happy for them, although I had waves of sadness as we disconnected the call. A year away is a long time – but I’m sure we’ll manage a visit at some point.

The boys are currently cooking tea – salmon, potatoes and salad for Howard and I, grilled halloumi and vegetable burger for Oliver. Howard and I had anticipated eating salad for much of our trip. In reality, it has been so cold a lot of the time, that we have opted for warmer meals. I think the last time we ate salad was in May! So we will make the most of this wonderful warm evening – the last of our camping days with Oliver. Tomorrow we drive back to Tromso, and give him a real bed for two nights – talk about over-indulged children! I think we had now reached his camping limit, but he has done well to fit in with our routine. I don’t know how we would have coped if the weather was bitterly cold or wet, so we have picked a really good time to have him with us.

Tonight we will raise a glass to Thomas and Katy – happy travels in Oz!!

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