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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 22 February, 2019
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My Best Road Trip: An Arctic Adventure on a bike named An Capall Glas

A 5,000km motorcycle adventure including 12 ferries and 9 capital cities to the most northern point in Europe.

Source: Google Maps

  • Each week, TheJournal.ie/DoneDeal motoring mag will feature a reader’s best road trip. If you’d love to see your top trip featured, email us on melanie@thejournal.ie

MY BEST ROAD trip passes through 9 capital cities en route to the Arctic Circle on my bike fondly nicknamed “An Capall Glas”.

Reader: Michael O’Toole from Dublin

Route: Dublin to Norkapp

Distance: 4,961km

Time: 30 days

When: July – August 2014

Vehicle: Kawasaki ZG 1000

Source: Michael O'Toole

I set off on my Arctic Adventure early from Dublin and my first of 12 ferries arrived in Holyhead at 10.30am. The drive through Wales was sadly overcast and the views of Snowdon and Snowdonia were almost completely hazed out with a heavy drizzle.

Arrived some 350 miles in Harwich in the dark that night and slept well. The cabin on the overnight ferry was much needed after a long day’s drive. Arrived in the Hook of Holland the following morning and then, myself and my trusty steed drove along the Zuiderzee dyke and made our way to Hamburg.

Source: Michael O'Toole

The next ferry took me from Puttgarden in Northern Germany to the port of Rodby in Denmark. It was then on to Copenhagen in the blazing heat. It was so warm and sunny I strapped my solar panel to the top of my luggage and charged my phone as I went.

I then crossed the famous Denmark/Sweden landbridge and drove north towards Gothenburg.

Source: Michael O'Toole

Next stop was Oslo. I loved this city for its art and strange design. Norway really is the land of trolls and Vikings. Their artwork is deep with dark flavours. Just check out their sculptures. They have huge helter skelter type road tunnels beneath the capital and they are a great experience to drive. The engineering involved is outstanding and it feels more like a rollercoaster ride than a commute.

Source: Michael O'Toole

I took a visit to the Vigeland sculpture park before hitting the road again to head north.

As I travelled north from Oslo ,the landscape changed. The huge grey rocks lay like snoozing trolls in the grass along the mountainsides and soon I took roads that traversed the hillsides and mountains.

Source: Michael O'Toole

Tunnels that could house thousands of troglodytes bore into the rocky hillsides and some even went deep under the hills. These are a driving experience every motorcyclist should have. The work involved in developing this network of tunnel systems must have been immense. The Norwegians have it sussed.

Source: Michael O'Toole

One of the highlights for me was Trolltunga (the Troll’s Tongue), which is a slab of wind-carved rock that faces out over a huge fjord. The views back along the heights were breathtaking.

Further north lies the Trollstigen Pass, a road leading through hairpins down a steep bare stone pass. The wind sweeps around these jagged, spiky hilltops nearly all year round and little growth happens on their windworn surfaces.

Throughout all of this, some 2200 miles so far, Mo Chapaill Glas performed like a thoroughbred. The smooth torquey lump of an engine responded to every command.

Source: Michael O'Toole

A stop in Throndheim was well merited and this city is real Viking country.

The rest of the trip north found the landscape become flatter. The fjords almost disappear and the green growth is not as prevalent with a slightly colder climate. The more north I travelled, the more reindeer became a common sight.

I drove for a mammoth seven hundred miles one day as the sun did not set and I breached the Arctic Circle and arrived in Nordkapp.

Source: Michael O'Toole

Nordkapp is a little underwhelming, but the trip there was worth it. I watched the sun drop to maybe a centimeter above the horizon of the north sea, only to rise again without dipping below it.

Myself and my Green Dream machine had travelled together to the most northern point in Europe successfully.

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Read: Reader’s Routes – my best road trip 

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About the author:

Michael O’Toole

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