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Old 02-19-2015, 04:09 PM   #1
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Following the Fjords

Last summer my riding buddy Mark and I travelled from our homes here in sunny Lancashire, crossed the sea to Sweden before heading into Norway and aimed towards the top of the map for as long as my leave from work would allow.

I'll leave you with a selection of photos, video stills and a cheesy trailer until I get stuff in order and do my best to remember where the places in the photos were


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Old 02-20-2015, 12:43 AM   #2
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nice intro and promo vid

waiting for more stunning pics

Youth is wasted on the young

Need some help<<<<<<>>>>>>> wet wanderings
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:49 AM   #3
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Well done.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:35 AM   #4
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Two years ago we rode to the Alps and had a little wander around over as many passes as we could get to Clicky Linky.

Back then I was on my 1150GS a fantastic bike in amazing condition, a real keeper. Things didn't go quite to plan and I ended up having to leave it in France the day before our return ferry after I interfaced with a Renault Scenic

The Insurance decided it was not worth bringing it back over here so paid up the market value and I started the search for another GS. That winter me and Paula moved house so the GS had to wait until finances had settled. "Give it a year until you get another" she said.... Well, I spent the next six months looking at tons of bikes and couldn't find one anywhere near as good as mine. At one point I'd put a deposit on a reasonable special edition GSA, only to be let down by the garage so I got my money back and walked away.

I widened my search to include the KTM 990 Adventure as they seemed to represent much better value and I figured I could always sell it on if I found a GS. It didn't take long before I found one I liked.

I spent the next year putting it through it's paces, fixing any little problem I found and making sure we got along. To help the relationship I'd opted for an Airhawk to soften the board like standard seat. The GS had nearly destroyed my arse round the alps, I didn't want a repeat.

All of this saw me staring at a serviced bike sitting on fresh rubber the night before my departure.

How many will it have at the end? Nevermind that, will I bring this bike home

Our Ferry was booked to leave around 2am on the 11th July so I had plenty of time on the 10th to tweak my load and make sure I'd got the essentials.

I left my house around 4pm to grab a free feed at my parents house before I would leave to meet Mark at Jkt 31 of the M6 at 9pm.

Well fed (Lamb), quizzed about our plans (head north a bit) and asked numerous times if I had everything I need (I think so...) I left as the sun dipped in the sky to meet Mark.

As I pulled on to the roundabout by the service station I spotted Mark just ahead and followed him on to the forecourt to top up our tanks.

After a glorious warm day the temperature was dropping and thinking about the two odd hours blasting along through the dark ahead I opted to put my outer jacket on.

A month earlier We'd gone halves on a Scala Rider bluetooth intercom set, after a slightly temperamental test ride we'd gone away and read the manuals meaning that we were able to get a good stable connection. These were a great investment, being able to talk through route choices along the way and even warn of oncoming traffic just made the trip that little bit smoother. Not to mention the fact we could just talk about random stuff to help pass the time on long boring sections like the one we faced tonight.

Crossing the M62 with the threat of rain in the air.

With time to spare we stopped for a little while in Doncaster to stretch our legs and have a brew.

Before setting off in to the darkness once more.

Just before as we approached our destination the rain made an appearance giving an unnecessary test to our wet weather gear.

Getting to Norway from the UK isn't as easy as it used to be before the closure of the Newcastle - Bergen ferry. Now most people are faced with two choices, Fly (what? how will I get my bike there??) or ferry from the south coast to France or the Netherlands and ride round through Denmark before another ferry to Norway (a long journey with a fairly high time and money cost)

You've made it this far so I'll reward you with the little known third option which is to catch a lift on a DFDS Freight Ferry from Immingham. There are only two crossings a week sailing to Brevik or Gothenburg for 12 passengers so they book up ridiculously fast.

Our preferred booking to Brevik was full as soon as booking opened so had to settle with a crossing to Gothenburg. No big deal and it meant we got to see a little of Sweden.

Arriving in Immingham is wasn't obvious where to go for the ferry. We'd both checked the supplied address on google earth and agreed on one terminal. Arriving there we were met with smiles (and spotting my helmet cam one guy even combed his hair thinking I was filming) but this wasn't the place. Thankfully we weren't too far wrong and soon found ourselves in a tiny office handing over passports.

We were a little early for the assigned boarding slot, but because we were on bikes and the weather was naff they took pity on us and let us board. Before heading for the ship we were given directions through the expansive loading yard and many warnings to be watchful of the loading trucks.

Once on board it's your responsibility to secure your bike as on many ferries.

Passports checked again on board, we grabbed what luggage we needed for the two night crossing and followed a crew member through the guts of the ship to our individual cabins.

We both had a moment of panic when we looked out of the windows and spotted the ship we thought we had booked on
Turns out they had changed the schedules of the two ships and we felt reasonably confident we wouldn't be waking up in Denmark.

Breakfast was around 07:30 so I set my alarm for 07:10

The wind had picked up and the offshore forecast wasn't brilliant so I opted to pop a couple of motion sickness pills before bed. Hopefully this way if the sea was really bouncy I wouldn't be waking up feeling sick.

My head down I fell asleep to the distant sounds of diesel engines and squealing tires of the loading trucks.


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Old 02-22-2015, 10:12 AM   #5
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I woke at some point during the night as the ship rolled me over gently. "Well, we're underway" I thought as I shifted into a more stable position and fell back to sleep.

What seemed like minutes later I was woken by banging at the door. I looked at my watch, 06:45, what the Hell?

"We've missed breakfast! The ship is running to Swedish time so we're an hour behind!" Mark shouted through the door.

Mark had woken early and decided to walk to the lounge/dining area only to discover we were late. Not the finest start to the day, but there you go.

There was still some food out, but the hatch into the galley was down. We helped ourselves to some barely boiled eggs, bread and meat.
These eggs were like water bombs, Mark had a great Idea of hollowing out a crusty loaf to make a little bath so when he popped his egg it stayed contained. I just ended up chasing mine around the plate.

After a little while a guy with a slightly russian accent came in playing hell, "shit food! I travel this way many time and this cook, he the worst! Runny eggs and no spoons! I should tell that Mother f..." You get the idea. Following this and other mumblings from him we nicknamed him Mr Grumpy.

We settled in for a day of chilling out, reading and looking at maps of possible routes. We also hunted a bluebottle which plagued us at meal times.

Not much to see out of my cabin window. At my parents my Mum had been singing an old Fred Astaire song with the Lyrics "We joined the Navy to se the world, and what did we see? We saw the Sea..." every time I looked out to see if the view had changed I got that line stuck in my head. Thanks Mum...

At some point in the day we asked if we could go down to the bikes to check on them and swap some kit over. I'd taken my towel up with me not realising that there was one in the cabin and I wanted to grab a little portable charger to keep my iPod going. Mark needed a couple of things as well and we were both glad to get out of the limited passenger area.

A young Crew member walked us down where we found the bikes had been joined by a Campervan, a 7.5 ton lorry, and old MG and a Lotus. Now we could try and match up the vehicles to the other passengers.

Back in the cabin for more reading.

On the top deck and still reading at -2m?!

Sunshine on the well appointed passenger deck.

Oil Rigs!!! (after a day of seeing nothing these were a real crowd pleaser, but eventually the novelty wore off)

Victory! our quarry lies defeated.

Satisfied with a rather tasty sweet chicken curry and happy with the successful kill of the fly we watched the sun set and headed to our beds. Hopefully tomorrow we will be up for breakfast!

Todays Route.....

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Old 02-22-2015, 10:17 AM   #6
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I'll be following this thread with interest as to where you went, and which route you took. I have watched your videos of the trip on YouTube today. Now I look on here and you are writing a trip report. Brilliant. I am planning a trip to Norway this summer, and I can't wait.
Just one question. Did the BMW get tired every few days? It kept having to have a lie down

Looking forward to the next instalment.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:40 AM   #7
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Vid of the First two days.

Feel free to mute it, comedic lancashire folk from the 'Lancashire Hotpots' isn't to everyones taste

I'll not give too much away on here just yet about Marks sleepy BMW. I'm still the winner when it comes to tired bikes after mine took a permanent snooze in France.

You'll have a great time, I hope to get back one day soon.

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Old 02-22-2015, 11:38 AM   #8
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Looking good so far Matt, I'm looking forward to the next instalment. Thanks for the tip off about the Immingham>Scandanavia route
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:02 PM   #9
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Great report. Waiting for the next instalment!

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Old 02-22-2015, 12:29 PM   #10
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Good so far, looking forward to more. This is a trip I would like to do in the future
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:21 PM   #11
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:43 PM   #12
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:54 PM   #13
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Day 3 and I've only spent a few hours on a bike! Whats going on?!

I'd planned to get up early and shower before breakfast, but I fell back to sleep in the end. Something about sitting about doing nothing for a day or so makes you even more lazy.

As I opened the curtains I could see we were passing the northern tip of Denmark giving us a few hours until we arrived in Gothenburg. Plenty of time for a relaxed breakfast followed by a shower.

Approaching Gothenburg we tested our knowledge of the Buoyage system IALA - A, trying to predict where we would be going. (I'm sure you all know and it's probably a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck DFDS runny eggs telling you that stands for the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities - System A... ).
Mark has been a Dinghy Instructor for many years and work had recently put me through both my Powerboat and Dinghy Instructor so I'd spent a little time bobbing about on the sea these last few years. However most of my time on the water is in fairly quiet areas so it was interesting to see a busy area in action.

With our bags packed and ready in the cabins we joined the rest of the passengers to watch the pilotage.

I'm not sure I'd fancy reversing such a large vessel into this berth. Who am I kidding, as long as I'm not paying for any damage I'd give it a go

One of the crew gave us all a 30 minute warning so it was time to get kitted up, empty the rooms and give our keys back.

We shared the small lift down to the vehicle deck with Mr Grumpy who said he hadn't noticed we were on motorbikes and until he saw my helmet thought my pannier was a cat carrier...

Being on a bike puts you at a massive disadvantage come disembarkation. Everyone comes down at the same time, but they all just jumped into their cars/lorries, did a three point turn and drove off. We had to remove the straps, load any luggage we'd removed and finally kit ourselves up. So it wasn't any surprise by the time we were ready the rest of the guys had long gone.

Leaving the ship we received some last minute directions for the port exit.

On the way out I spotted a group of official looking people leaning against a portacabin, being friendly I nodded and gave a little wave, one of them waved back a little, then as I was about to pass them signalled he wanted me to come over. Turns out this was passport control!

Passports checked we headed for the exit and soon caught up with the rest of the passengers queuing at a set of high tech looking gates.
We checked with one of them and found out we needed to take our boarding cards into a cabin to get an exit swipe card.

Cards in hand we used the automated terminals to log our exit. Trouble is these things are designed for trucks so a small ladder is needed to get anywhere near them.
Plus each truck stops with its wheel in the same place leaving a wonderful little hole to place the steps in.

Mark finished first and had rode up to the gates just as I got on my bike, I pulled up in the lane next to him as he was shrugging wondering when the gates would open. Just then mine swung open and I was released on Sweden.
Ignoring the Top Gear protocol of always driving off from any downed comrade I stopped just outside the exit and watched as the attendant dragged large sheets of steel over the sensors in the road hoping to trigger the gates.
Hmm, does this mean my bike is as heavy as a truck?

BMW's, Lighter than you think.

Eventually Mark caught up and we spent a little time getting the bikes and ourselves set for the road without the pressure to leave in a hurry we had onboard.

Free at last!

Our Plan for Sweden was basically to head north on the E45 and at some point cut west over the border. Sweden looks like an amazing place, but this trip was aimed at Norway so it would have to be explored properly another time.

Just out of Gothenburg we refuelled the bikes ready for the push north. We must have looked dodgy because the attendant took my driving licence as insurance while I paid.

With my earplugs in, and my intercom linked to some tunes on my iPod I settled into the airhawk and began to munch the miles (Kilometers actually so they flew past that little bit quicker. England should change to them, we'd all get places much sooner.... )

Some 300km Later we pulled over for a leg stretch and a quick piss behind an information sign. The temperature had been climbing all day so it was nice to hide in the shade a little while.
While I was walking around the bike I noticed the inspection bubble on my rear brake reservoir was sticking out. No fluid had leaked anywhere so it seemed ok. I could push it back in, but it just sprung back out again.
Was it like this before we left? I figured I would have noticed so made note to keep a close eye on it and try not to catch it with my boot.

One thing of note about Sweden that summer, it smelled fantastic.
The smell of a place as you travel through is one of the perks being on a bike brings you. Every now and then we would get a fantastically sweet smell, a lovely woody pine smell or
something from what ever crops were growing.
I just wish I could have captured them because the smells are my main memory of that day.

Around the town of Sunne we found a place to pull out some Swedish wonga with a nearby Co-op so we could get some supplies. Sitting in the shade of a tree in the car park we both commented on the number of what looked like interesting old American cars over here. You couldn't pass through a town without seeing at least one cruising around in the sunshine.

Our rest over we used the satnav to find a campsite close to the route ahead. It found one 40km away so we set off into the heat of the early evening.
We passed up on a couple of campsites, just because we had time and the choice before eventually finding one next to a river with plenty of trees for shade.

We both have tents made by Vaude, very popular with backpackers in Europe with good reason. The external pole system and shock cord fastening makes for a quick and stable set up. I'm in the furthest tent, called a Mark II and Mark is in the closest one, a Mark III. Confusing sentence, too many Marks

Link to campsite

Turns out lots of creatures like campsites next to rivers with shady areas, principally mosquitos. By the time we were clearing up our stoves and settling in our tents for the night there was a small crowd of them trying to find any exposed flesh.

I lay on my thermarest reading for a while then braved a dash through the mozzies waiting in my porch to the bogs. Sneaking past the snoring Mark I settled into my sleeping bag around 23:30. We are getting further north, almost level with the top of Scotland here and the sky was still quite bright.

Well, we are finally back on the road. Bring it on!

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Old 02-23-2015, 02:14 AM   #14
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Day 3


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Old 02-23-2015, 03:05 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by BikeLugger View Post
...I noticed the inspection bubble on my rear brake reservoir was sticking out...

What was the final outcome of this?
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