The SLCenic Route – Episode 19

Graham Laing decided to retire 10 years earlier than planned to enjoy an epic driving tour with his SLC. The plan, inspired by conversations with his Father, was to drive the SLC from the southern most tip of mainland Europe in Spain to the northernmost tip of mainland Europe in Norway.

When he told his children, they said ‘you should write a blog about it’… So that’s exactly what Graham is doing. Graham approached the SLSHOP and asked whether we would be interested in hosting his work, and we were only too happy to share his story. The SLCenic Route was born!

In this episode Graham starts to worry about whether he can aFjord the fuel as he drives north into Norway.

The SLCenic Route

Episode 19 – Trondheim to Mo I Rana via E6 detours 315 miles

Leaving Trondheim and the lovely Trondheim Fjord, I won’t see another town/city of this size for 8 days. It’s amazing how big and sparsely populated Norway, northern Sweden and Finland are. The drive up to Mo I Rana should have been straight forward, but as more often than not on this trip, something keeps me interested.

There are lots of roadworks on the 300 miles of this part of the E6 that involve diversions or long queues at traffic lights where the road is down to a single track. But with a bit of help from Google I was able to find some back roads and it forced me to explore a bit more. At least you can see that the new parts of the road are going to be a big improvement, new tunnels, wider, straighter, safer and there is work going on all along the roadworks all during the day. I’ll try not to think of the time it takes just to convert a motorway hard shoulder in to an extra lane in the UK.

You say Norway to someone and the first thing they say is fjords. The Fjords are beautiful, seeing the classic sight of flat calm water with a solid wall of trees on both sides rising from the water’s edge to the top of impenetrable cliffs is fantastic but to really appreciate them, I would need to stop, take a long boat trip and have lots of time. Seeing what I can of them by road is great, and there is much more to them than just walls of trees, but I think I’m missing their true beauty. However, Norway also has mountain passes, lakes, rivers, moors and forests, lots of diverse forests.

The 2 things you can’t tell from pictures are the noise of the rivers and the smell of freshly sawn pine. The drive north on the main road, the E6 is basically, rivers and lakes every couple of miles on the right, Fjords every 60 miles on the left. The rest being mainly forest, although there are a few exceptions. For a spell just north of Trondheim, you could easily think you were back on the German Alpine route, mountains in the background, rolling hills with forests and lots of hay making fields. There are also the many quaint little villages dotted about, with beautiful painted wooden houses. If you don’t know why all the older houses in Norway are made from wood, it’s probably because you can’t see the wood for the trees!

The locals know how far north they are by how depressed they feel at the price of fuel.

As I passed each petrol station going north, the prices slowly but inexorably rose. The day started with them at 14.50 Krone and finished at 16.25 Krone. That’s £1.31 increasing to £1.47 per litre. I’ve still got 2 days to get to Nordkapp, scared to think of what I’ll be paying.

On the subject of money, if you do drive your own car in Norway, get an Autopass, search for it online. It’s an automatic way of paying the tolls which are everywhere and Google SatNav has no idea what is or isn’t a toll road. Sometimes there isn’t an optional road anyway, but if you stay off the E roads they seem more likely to be toll free and more scenic.

And finally into Mo I Rana, and a rest at an Airbnb. I’m now just 1.5 miles from the Arctic Circle; the view over Ranfjord is, as with all fjords, beautiful.

Click here to read Episode 20