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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK

    Default Arctic Circle Return 2015

    Arctic Circle Return 2015


    Some different places planned in for this tour as we head up through the middle of Scandinavia covering around 2600Miles (4100Km) in the process to get to King Oscar II Church near to Kirkness.
    Then after going around to Mehamn and Slettnes Fyr to see if the paintwork is still good after our first time in 2011, with all that salt sea spray that hammers away at it, we will be heading back down and along the coast of Sweden covering around 3700Miles (6000Km)

    So, ‘Buckle up!’ or as some would say ‘BELT UP in the back!’ and let’s be off!

    BUT I will let you know that due to quite a number of the locations we are stopping at NOT having any Internet facilities then Blog Updates will not be frequent….

    While from a program called Tyre, here is the route we will be taking firstly to get to the top..…

    Then after we get there, then this is the route we will use for coming back, but it is different! Trust me!…..

    Meanwhile here are the countries that we will be passing through or/and visiting, in a slightly different format to stretch your knowledge…….

    Next stop Eurotunnel…….

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    UK to Eurotunnel & then Calais (France)

    Rise and shine on departure day at 06:30 to hear the ‘pitter patter’ of raindrops on the bedroom window which was not a good omen but surprisingly by 08:30 it had cleared up and a bright blue sky was overhead with a rising temperature to boot!
    So after breakfast it was load up, lock up and head off down to the ‘TinTent’ to put away the rest of the gear and set off for Eurotunnel….

    Then within a short time we were once again heading over the Second Severn Crossing and on our way to Folkestone….

    While traffic was ‘heavy’ it was at least rolling along, well that was until we got to ‘The Largest Car Park in The World’ also known as the M25 Motorway around London where we joined the ‘Crawl’…….

    After getting through that lot it wasn’t long before we saw the signs for The Tunnel……

    Then having checked in and got an earlier departure train we had a bit of time to stretch our legs in the car-park and the terminal building…..

    Then it time to go through the Security & Gas Check to make sure the Gas Bottles were turned off before we got into the line for boarding….

    As the Green Light came on and the barrier rose we started to make our way around to the train and we could see the open carriages that are used to carry the Trucks through the Tunnel…..

    The 45 minutes after departing we are rolling off and into France….

    With some of the elevated roads leading back to the train for booking in, it will be some time (Hopefully) before we are back on them…..

    As we then pass some of the more interesting buildings on this side of the Channel as we head for our first overnight stop….

    Tomorrow will hopefully see us into Germany, but it will be a long day…..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Camping Galå Fjällgärd to Őstersund, then on to Järvsand

    Found on the Internet a Hobby Caravan Dealer near to Őstersund, but before we left we had to take a pictures of the house that the owners of Camping Galå Fjällgärd built which took them 5 years from 2009 but it looks very nice both outside and in…..

    Then after breakfast it was back down the ‘Piste’ road to see what we could get sorted out…

    As we head down towards the main road this is the view towards one of the many very large lakes in Sweden….

    As we pass another of the LARGE Bell Towers outside another Church….

    As we see large mounds of Snow/Ice on the far side of the lake. (The broad line going through the picture is part of the crash barrier as we were crossing a bridge)

    While then looking over to the side we have come from, we see some of the hills that still have a covering of snow on them…..

    Then as we climb a bit higher we see the floating ice….

    While out in the middle where the ice has melted is one of the Ferry Boats as it is sometimes quicker to take the ferry than drive all the way around…..

    Looks like this Ferry is still undergoing some winter maintenance….

    Őstersund ahead….

    While we turn left to head to a place on the outskirts called…..

    As we see one of the Ski runs also still with snow on it….

    As we got to the Hobby Caravan Dealer it was immediately visible that they did not carry a lot of spares so I was not in luck for getting anything to repair the ‘Loo’ however the man in the workshop did allow me to hook up to another Hobby just to confirm that the brake & indicator lamp failure ‘problem’ was not being caused by the car, and after ‘testing’ we could confirm that it was in fact our ‘TinTent’ that was the culprit, but the dealer had no means of checking anything to try and find the fault, so it was off to an Auto Electrician whose details were provided by a lady who spoke excellent English and was having her hair done at the time in a hairdressers next door!!

    Next stop was 9 miles away, so off we go towards Sundsvall…..

    Passing this rather interesting church on the way….

    Then these ‘Ornaments’ on a traffic island on the main E45 Main road….

    Arriving at the Auto Electrical Company, the doors were immediately opened up to the workshop and in we went.
    Explained the problem with a demonstration of the ‘message’ then the Technician removed both rear light assemblies and also a large connector block behind the rear plastic skirt.
    I removed the bed mattress to gain access to the 13 core distribution box as there was no other way to get at it.

    I then went across the road to another Caravan/Camper Dealer and while I was not able to get a new part to replace the broken part in the Cassette Loo, I was able to buy the complete middle section, so at least we now have a fully functioning 'Loo'!

    Meanwhile back across the road.....

    As the Technician replaced a number of connectors in the large connector block a test was then run but the ‘problem’ remained.
    All the connectors in the 13 core distribution box looked clean so the lid was replaced and the mattress and bed put back.
    Further tests were conducted with other bits of test equipment but no fault could be identified however the ‘problem’ remained….

    Time for lunch, for all of us, after which I replaced the only 2 connectors which had not been changed, which were the 12v power for the Indicator & Brake Lamps, I then started the car and didn’t see the message on the dashboard while the indicators on both sides worked ‘normally’ but as everything had also ‘cooled down’ a decision was made to go no further with trying to identify the ‘problem’ but I would stay in touch to let the company know what happened as we travelled further north on a longer section, so with that we made our thanks known, paid the bill and set off North once again…..

    As we spotted a campsite with a sign outside that said ‘Oppett’ which is ‘Open’ so we pulled in only to see a notice on the door that then said ‘Stangt’ which is ‘Closed’ till 01/05/2015, so with that we got a picture of this rather large ‘Tent’ and hit the road again….

    As we then continued to Stromsund….

    From a catalogue we got we found an ‘All Year Open’ campsite a few miles North of Stromsund called ‘Camping i Järvsand’ so are now in place there and plan to spend a few days here with a visit to Stromsund tomorrow for a bit of exploring….

    Must admit having been for a shower this evening it was like being sprayed with a Karcher Pressure Washer the power was excellent and left you with a real tingling feeling!

    OK I saw that the temperatures back home are around 16C while over here we reached 11C and tomorrow is another 16C at home while here is 6C!
    BUT we do happen to be less than 3 days away from going over the Arctic Circle at Jokkmokk so come on give us a break if you expected HOT Sunny Days….

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    A day in Arvidsjaur Town

    While the weather forecast for today said Snow we woke up to a nice sky with some blue bits showing through but a very cold wind coming from the East, so after getting some washing out of the way we set off into the town centre on foot as it was quite close by….

    As we go along the side of the frozen lake we see the downhill ski runs off in the distance which are now closed till next winter….

    Next up on the lakeside is this café-restaurant which is part of the Laponia Hotel complex in the town…

    Main Street, where the Supermarkets are the only places open on Sunday….

    While outside the Library is this Moose family carved and pieced together in wood which is about as close as we will get as they are normally very shy animals and only come out at dusk or very early in the morning to feed.

    Directly across the road is the Kommun building….

    While at the far end of town is this rather impressive church again all in wood….

    With this notice just above the main entrance which mentions King Oscar II and whose church we are hoping to get to at the top of Finnmark and just across the river from Russia…..

    Having collected a few items from the supermarket we start to make our way back to the campsite and firstly pass this little windmill whose sails were going around quite fast in the wind but there was no sign of any flour or even a generator providing electricity.….

    While in front of the Laponia Hotel is this family of Bears carved in wood with a person offering something to one of the smaller Bears ....

    As we go back along the road to the campsite we call into a place where Cross Country Ski-ing is held while also there is a rifle range at one side and the electricity is still running so from the electronic sign we can see the temperature…

    The plan of all the routes you can take with the distances of each course at the bottom…..

    The ‘Start’ point, with the tracks still in place….

    The temperature, but the wind made it feel a lot colder….

    The rifle range…..

    Back on the road tomorrow and if the weather turns out to be correct then it will be Jokkmokk in a single run….

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Calais (France) to Herford (Germany)

    Managed to get away at 07:00 this morning while agreeing to have breakfast en-route as we had around 350 Miles to cover today.

    Sunrise as we set off this morning……

    An ‘Arena’ that is also a very large shopping centre….

    Going into the Kennedy Tunnel, but you drive through this one….

    As we get to a stretch of road in Belgium that has been in a diabolical condition for a very long time, it seems the ‘Powers at B’ have decided to completely re-build it which on a normal travel day must create havoc with one side shut!

    Now into the Netherlands…

    Building Sand Castles…..

    Via a conveyor system….

    As a small flat pontoon sucks it up from the bottom of a BIG pond then sends it ashore where the water is drained out of it by the Bucket & Filter machine on the left of the next picture…..

    As we cross one of the large rivers with the Barges moving along it….

    Then past a rather interesting building which at one point we thought was a hotel, but we couldn’t see any windows!!!

    Specially designed ‘Chopper’ for something else, but not sure what…..

    Then finally we are coming to our next stop in Germany…..

    Sited up and kettle on for a well deserved cup of tea and coffee….

    While as the Sun went down this ‘Blue Streak’ went across the bridge alongside the campsite. It was a local train, but seemed like a fast express train….

    With a couple of pictures of the other parts of the campsite, as we call it a day…

    It’s not often you manage to drive through 3 countries before lunch and finally ending the day in the fourth, but that is what happened today…

    After arriving at the campsite I went back to a Total Garage just around the corner to fill up with Diesel at €1.15/Litre which was strangely cheaper than France!

    The following morning as we set off to go into the town centre I could not help but notice the price was now €1.28/Litre! As we came back from the town in the early afternoon it was down to €1.18/Litre and by 17:00hrs it was again €1.15/Litre, so I went in and asked how the price was ‘controlled’. The reply was that the HQ in Berlin controls the price and can ‘adjust’ the signs at the garages with the touch of a button!

    Glad I filled up late in the afternoon!

    Meanwhile, heading off into the town centre, firstly along the river…..

    Then passed this strangely shaped house but a nice blossoming tree a bit further along…

    We get to the Weir on the river and the fountain….

    Then after a couple of right and left turns we are in the Old Town…..

    With a ‘Space Age’ Loo (WC) in the centre, which you pays your money, then the doors open, you step inside and they close, and you thought you might have been in a Spaceship!

    It was nice to get out and back into the Town Square….

    With the Town’s Coat of Arms set in the floor….

    While this inscription on a water fountain was fascinating….

    Along with the fountain…..

    Then some more of the Old Town as it was definitely more interesting that ‘Going Shopping’!!!

    Then it was time to head back to the campsite for evening meal and get ready for the next leg which would see us in Puttgarden for the ferry to Denmark.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    A day around the campsite in Järvsand and the town of Stromsund

    Reception at the campsite is a building that has had no repairs since it was built of wood in 1803. It was the first school in the area and the schoolteacher used to teach the children in her living room.
    The small curved building in the picture to the right of Reception is an outside store room which was used previously for storing potatoes in as the temperature only varies by a couple of degrees all year…..

    Guest rooms & Facilities block…

    That building also included the ….

    As the next picture is of one of the 77 Siberian Huskies that are also here and used for Sledding in the winter months….

    While below is Preza’s last litter of 6 Boys & Girls who are now 6 weeks old…

    The next picture is of the other litter by another of the Female Huskies here….

    As we got invited to go with the staff for the Puppies breakfast time, as they get fed twice a day…..

    Then we managed to catch one of them on their ‘Blue Eye’ side as the other eye is brown, but he wouldn’t keep his head still to see both eyes together!….

    While up away from the kennels is the first Reindeer we have seen on this trip whose name is Karhu and came from a Sami Reindeer Herder.

    As we then walked down to the lake which is 30 Miles long by 6 miles wide and is very rarely visited by any boats or fishermen!

    Then it was off to have a look around Stromsund…

    Small park very near the centre…

    One of the main roads through the town….

    Market Square but no market today….

    Making our way down to the river this very large building with a distinguishing roof is spotted….

    With the bridge on the E45 main road North – South….

    As we then walk alongside the river, while the river floes there are still patches of snow & ice at the sides….

    With some rather large but nice houses just set back from the road along the river….

    Pleasure boat in need of some ‘TLC’…..

    Spotted this wood yard where they make firewood, and already working on next years store….

    With this example hanging just outside the entrance….

    With one final nice residence…..

    We then made our way back to the campsite for a quiet afternoon and a bit of sunshine before we start getting ready for the next stage tomorrow…

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Herford to Puttgarden

    Another day of Motorway/Freeway and in some parts very heavy traffic with long virtually stationery vehicles while this one was going the other way, we had a few on our side of the road, which after you got moving again you wondered why as there was no valid reason!

    As we came off the ‘Autobahn’ for a comfort & coffee break we spot this place as we had to park at the side of the road as we could not get into any of the car-parks, and NO I haven’t turned the picture upside down, the place was built like that!.....

    Although you can visit the place, as we put away our ‘on view’ items in ‘Flamenco Red’ for security a Bus rolled up and 50+ visitors got off all of whom were over 60+ years young and went to visit the place, so we just headed for the comfort and coffee….

    Then as we came back I still could not turn around so we had to go a bit further down the road to be able to and spotted this place, but the skis had been sold a long time ago…..

    Back on the road and up around Hamburg and as we come to this Tunnel we see Container Cranes rolling across the top with containers slung beneath!
    Fingers crossed they don’t drop one as we go through!

    Interesting water tower…

    As we reach the last couple of miles to Puttgarden crossing this bridge….

    Around the traffic island and into Lidl (On the right) for some fresh items, then across to Edeka (On the left) to see if they had any ‘Woolly Hats’ as the wind chill was not nice and we forgot to put the Thermal Hats in.
    Luck was with us and we got them!

    As we make our way to the Aires that we will stop at for the night we pass these ‘Pirates’ one of whom seems to be pointing to a group of Seagulls who are not being very kind to them, as they keep getting covered in white ‘stuff’…..

    Then we see ‘The Border Shop’ and go to have a quick look while the place would be more aptly named as ‘The BOOZE Boat’!
    It is four Floors/Decks of nothing but different types of alcohol with a few candies in different spots.
    The ‘Customers’ must love it as they all come out with their shopping trolleys piled high!

    As we pull out of the car park we pass a statue of one of the ‘Pilgrims’ from earlier times….

    Tomorrow is over the water on the short ferry crossing to Denmark…

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Järvsand to Vilhelmina

    As we got invited to see the Siberian Huskies getting their evening meal we went down to the kennels and before the meal came started playing with the little Blue Eyed female in the picture below who very nearly stole our heart strings as she was really friendly and kept coming back to play…..

    But it was time to move on and as we left the campsite and got back to the main road we saw these birds that look similar to Flamingos but are not pink in colour

    Then after a few miles it was decision time: Right or Left Turn?…..

    We took a Right turn that brought us very quickly to….

    Southern Lappland….

    Out of the town and under the railway bridge we see the Fisherman on one side and the Fish he has caught on the other side while the words are welcoming us to return….

    As a bit further along we cross the river with the railway bridge alongside…

    As we then arrive in Vilhelmina….

    Going along the main road through the town….

    With a Moose & little friend outside the Supermarket….

    While this impressive building is the Tourist Office….

    Directly opposite was the Konditori and as it was that time of day it made a nice break to go over and enjoy a couple of nice cakes and coffee, and going for the standard coffee you also can have a free refill which was good value….

    While looking out of the window as we took our cakes and coffee up to the first floor of the Konditori we see this statue across the road but as there was no plaque we were not sure if this was Vilhelmina or someone else….

    While outside on the upper entrance we got this view of the main road in both directions….

    Coming out of the Konditori we then went up the hill….

    Passing the Museum which unfortunately wasn’t open….

    To Vilhelmina Church which is still one of Sweden’s largest wooden churches….

    Then coming out of the church grounds we turned left towards….

    Which is the old wooden buildings from a Sami village….

    While all the larger buildings seem to be still in limited use the next one when looking through the window seems to be a Summer Café….

    One of the 2 social huts.
    You can see a small ‘hole’ at the back of the hut in the middle of the picture and this was to let air in for the fire and the smoke go up and out through the hole in the roof when the door was closed….

    Winter Food Storage Hut, raised off the ground to stop animals getting at the food….

    Another of the social huts but…..

    Notice the floor which has been covered with broken twigs to make it more comfortable for sitting down, while the fire place which is in the centre of the hut is on the right of the picture with the air vent hole behind ….

    Then making our way back to continue our journey we see this Outside Summer Loo which seems to be doing well in winter growing Heather….

    After a further short run we arrived at our next campsite to learn that due to much needed ‘repairs’ while they have electricity, there are no showers, or kitchen facilities, there is limited fresh water and no Internet, and still one heck of a lot of snow, so….

    We found a spot where we can just see out the rear window over the snow and got set up at least for tonight….

    I guess when you see the BIG Fishing Rod set up at the edge of the campsite on the river bank then it becomes clear that this is a campsite primarily for summer fishing and we are a bit early!

    While it looks like this fish is one of the ones that got away to live another day!

    The ‘Bulb failure on Trailer’ message returned today after we had covered around 60 miles so while we were in Vilhelmina I also got another new 13 pin Plug which was fitted this afternoon to see if that cures the ‘problem’….

    Back on the road tomorrow while we hope there is no snow forecast and the ‘problem’ disappears.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Puttgarden to Faro

    Off for the Ferry from Puttgarden after a really nice quiet night on the coast outside of town!
    It wasn’t long before we were at the ‘Checkin’

    While as the service runs every 20 minutes it wasn’t long before we are going up the ramp and into the bowels of the ship….

    Once on board you can wander around and go outside but not into all the accessible areas as I don’t think they like the extra work of keeping them clean and tidy, so you only get a small area…

    OK so what is a ‘Hybrid Ferry’?
    Well that one runs on either Diesel or Electric Batteries!

    Not long and we are coming into the port of Rødby in Denmark…

    Then a short while later we are ‘rolling off’…..

    Even though it was quite windy the sails on this windmill were not turning and I think more for show….

    Then it was over the bridge to our next stop at Faro…

    Really is a nice place to spend a few hours….

    ‘Camping’ facilities includes fresh drinking water, grey & chemical waste disposal and WC’s….

    After a bit of lunch I decided to re-make the 13 connections on the plug that supplies the power to the ‘Tin Tent’ as the last 6 months have been a nightmare of intermittent ‘problems’ between the Indicator & Brake Lights as I keep getting a message on the dashboard telling me ‘Light Failure on Trailer’!
    When they have been checked while the message was there and we were stationary there was nothing wrong.

    Having completed that we decided the only way to see if that had resolved the ‘problem’ was to carry on so off we went to the next ferry in Helsingor….

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Vilhelmina to Blattnicksele

    Off to the next place we wave the BIG Fish goodbye and head off up the E45 road once more…..

    Winter isn’t quite over but the road repairs are already taking place over here….

    Next town along the road is….

    While this guy keeps a look out for any ‘trouble’!

    Then just north of the town are some major road repairs, where they are replacing a metal tunnel to allow the river to pass under the road.…

    Interestingly there are no traffic lights controlling traffic from each way, it is left to the common sense of the drivers to make sure they are clear to proceed…

    Very soon we are at Sandsjögården Camping and having checked in and got set up we take a short walk around the place and find this Dog Power ‘Snow Plough’….

    With 3 other sledges which are used for trips out….

    Then we meet a few of the Malamut Huskies who pull them….

    Around the corner was this Charcoal fired ‘Campsite BBQ’, and trying to lift one of the flap openings by the ‘Antler’ handles you find that the metal flap is extremely heavy….

    Walking down towards the edge of the lake we see a large depression in the ground that has quite a bit of snow in it with this information sign nailed to a tree alongside….

    Unfortunately you don’t get to see the depth from the picture but at a guess it was at least 2.5feet deep in the middle….

    Some of the huts you can also rent on the campsite….

    A beached pontoon at the side of the lake….

    As we look out across the lake this dark spec appears which is a person walking across the frozen lake!….

    Making our way back we then spot this other sign about another breed of dog that is also here, and one that we have never seen before….

    The brown colour of these two was very striking….

    After some lunch we set off for a short walk as some of the overhead clouds looked quite threatening and it wasn’t long before we had a snow shower as we made our way to a bridge that was crossing an outlet from the lake….

    While the downstream view looked rather nice….

    As the clouds built up over the lake….

    Then as we made our way back to the campsite we saw a notice board about fishing in the lake with a picture of the lake and the depths that it goes down to which is 31meters in the dark blue areas….

    A house with a nice view over the lake and more dog kennels alongside…..

    Looking forward to a relaxing lazy day tomorrow before we are once again back on the road while the weather forecast is telling us it will be Snowing!

    As I do the update for today the snowflakes have just started falling again, and we only brought a small collapsible shovel with us!

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