Today I Finished a Wonderful Journey. 27th July.

The Globe at Nordkapp.

I have pitched my tent 400m from and parallel with the globe that marks the furthest land point of Europe. So tonight, for one night only, I will be the most northerly inhabitant of Europe. To the east I can clearly see the Russian coastline and the next land mass to the north west is Greenland, which I certainly can not see. Looking due north there is no land mass until the northern coast of Alaska. Quite a thought.

The weather is perfect, with the sun shining and a gentle breeze. There is an uninterrupted 180 degree view of the sea with the occasional small fishing boat passing by with it’s tail of seagulls flying noisily behind. Somewhere out in front of me is the invisible dividing line between the North Sea and the larger Barents Sea, with it’s huge untapped resources of oil and gas.

A pair of reindeer have just wandered pass the tent. It isn’t often anyone can say that and whilst I remember, this morning as I packed up the tent I was treated to three brief glimpses of a Sea Otter.

Children of the Earth. Created by seven children from around the world who came together for a week at Nordkapp to create a symbol for. World peace.

It is beyond me to describe just how serene and beautiful this place is. However, and not only in the winter, it can be a desperate place to be, with winds strong enough to pick up stones and hurl them through the air.

I have been here for some hours and yet the fact that there is no more cycling to do has not fully registered. No more maps to read, plans to amend, wild camps to find or daily food shops.

This cycle ride has been an epic, longer than any trip to climb an 8,000m mountain. I have met some fantastic people, some I hope will remain in contact. I’ve seen innumerable places throughout Europe, learnt more than I ever though possible and whilst I have turned the peddles, sweated, hurt and swore at idiot drivers and determined flies, mosquitoes and tics. …..

(Hot, bitten by mosquitoes, pestered by flies, target practice for RV drivers, another hill never to be recycled, is completed.)

…. I have also shouted out loud with joy and exhilaration, sung tunelessly at the top of my voice in the darkest, coldest road tunnels and pushed the boundaries of safety to gain a greater speed on long steep descents.

Whilst I thank everyone who cycled with me. Whether planned or by chance and good fortune, the one person I really want to thank is Anne, my wife. Who is not only my wife but also my weather girl, my hostel booker and my link with the real world.

Tonight with a continuing clear sky the midnight sun will be very visible.

And it was!

Tomorrow I will cycle the hilly 35km back to Honningsvag and perhaps do the hike to Knivskjelladdon, provided I can secure the bike.

The statistics – I have purposely not delved into any stats. beyond each days figures. I didn’t want to initiate any reoccurring thoughts revolving around, ‘only another 1,000km to ride, only another 6,000m of elevation’. What I can say is I believe I have exceeded the intended 8,000km. Just in July has seen 1,600 miles covered and 31,898m of climbing, nearly four Everest’s in one month. When I get home I’ll work it all out and post it for you to see.

As you all know I am raising money for cancer research. Many of you have been very generous and I thank you so much for your donation. Others perhaps have got it on their ‘to do’ list. Please, please make that donation. I have a Just Giving page – http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tim-ralph

This won’t be the last blog of the trip. I’ll post all the stats and continue to harass you to donate to cancer research. I also intend posting several hundred photos of the trip on my website, although that won’t be for a few weeks.

I would like to add a further note about cancer. Recently a very dear and close friend had an operation to remove a cancerous growth. Whilst she is both physically and mentally strong, she still has a fight ahead of her. She is young and beautiful and does not deserve to have this terrible disease. I make no apologies for mentioning this, if it results in more money for research.

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