By Nigel Smith
During an idle conversation with my very good friend Robin Seymour, he casually mentions that on his ‘bucket list’ is a gentle ride on the Harley to the top of Norway to visit Nordkapp, making the most of the 24 hour daylight during summer. This seemed like a good idea, so inspired, I sign up to the trip along with some other Harley riders.
After committing Robin tells me it’s not the gentle ‘bimble’ I am imagining, but a full on ‘endurance ride’ covering 5000 miles in only ten days (ask any motorcyclist and they would probably tell you that’s quite a ride.) I comfort myself positioning it in my head as an ‘epic adventure’ and the chance to hopefully raise a few pounds for a worthwhile cause.
That worthwhile cause was the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund. My friend and colleague’s father Harry Townsend devotes his time and efforts towards raising awareness and funding research into finding a cure for melanoma. I have the perfect opportunity now, so why not help out as much as I can?
A team of six us set off on the 4th July and head up from France to the German/Demark border; some 570 miles in one run. Day one over and after an overnight rest we then head up through Denmark, popping in to see the ‘Little Mermaid’ then over the next few days into Sweden then Finland and eventually into Norway.
After reaching the half-way point just below Nordkapp, we get a glimpse of the stunning scenery, bathed in the most glorious sunshine (what luck!) I never thought I’d be standing at the Arctic Circle in 28 degrees and in sunshine! The weather at Nordkapp was, well simply put, freezing and foggy – but a picture with the union jack and me in my charity T-shirt is proof actually we made it.
Heading back south through Norway over mountains and round fjords was an unforgettable experience, passing through so many scenic places; Tromso, Trondheim, Oslo and of course every tourists favourite stop ‘Hell’. Yes I can say I’ve now been to ‘Hell and back’ on a Harley Davidson Road King! All with very little sleep, as it’s as light at midnight as it is at midday. The trip from Oslo on the ferry in an inside cabin with no light was (sorry) heaven!
The highlight of this incredible trip was the constant good humour and faith of my riding companions. I led the ride from Sweden to Finland and they actually followed me. Those who have any experience of my sense of direction would applaud their trust!
Ten days from departure I arrived home, the star of the show (my Harley) was simply outstanding and didn’t miss a beat, despite a slightly unfortunate incident with a wasp in my crash helmet and some fairly erratic riding trying to dislodge it. Note to all: you really do have to stop to get an angry and stinging wasp out when traveling on a bike!
For me it was a personal achievement to ride so far on my trusty bike but also to raise a little to help a worthwhile cause – sometimes you just have to well, do it – and I did it for melanoma!
Nigel raised £456.25 for the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund. If you are inspired and wish to add a bit more to that total, please click here.
If you have a journey in you that’s missing from your bucket list, why not make it happen, and at the same time raise funds for a worthy cause. If you want to do it for melanoma, simply visit: www.melanoma-fund.co.uk