Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Arctic Circle and Rudolph

Our visit to Stockholm ended with a gentle stroll around the city before heading back to the car ready to head north, en route to the Arctic Circle. For once, thankfully, the drive was uneventful and we arrived at a peaceful campsite with very friendly owners. A quick meal on the stove and Cedric managed to locate and hopefully fix the potential problem with the failure of E'wn to start the previous day - water in the carburetor.

A long day behind the wheel on Wednesday (Day 5) moved us into the Arctic Circle, suitably marked by a huge sign which Ew'n posed nicely in front of (pictures to be posted asap). We were soon to be presented by another sign welcoming us to Lapland - I hadn't realised that a visit to Santa was on cards. Even more appropriately we got our first encounter with Reindeer strolling along the road on a supposed suicide mission. At first the odd one or two, followed by more and more until we were brought to a complete halt by the crazy animals who didn't seem to notice cars hurtling (or trundling in our case) towards them! With the problems with the car so far the last thing we wanted was to spend an evening pulling Rudolph out of the front grill. Eventually we arrived at a huge campsite late in the evening, had a tasty bbq and did some more work on the car until almost midnight. It wasn't darkness that brought us to a halt as it didn’t get dark at all - we could see perfectly well to try to connect up the two spot lamps which half worked - we only managed to get one to function. Sleeping proved difficult as it was almost complete daylight outside, the sun was only just below the horizon even at its lowest. We camped next to a lake once again and when the morning came around, the temptation was too great to resist and we dived into the pretty cold water for an Arctic Dip!

Thursday (Day 6) saw us move east inside the Arctic Circle heading into Finland. The day started badly with an increasing smell of fuel, one we had noticed previously but now it became to strong to ignore and at one stop late in the day a glance under the car showed us the problem - fuel was dripping from the tank. We drove around a town in North Finland called Rovaniemi looking for a new fuel filling tube which we felt was the possible problem, a place more famous for being the traditional home of Santa! Unfortunately Finnish helpfulness was not of the same standard as Swedish and so at 8pm in the evening in a dusty car park with no tube to hand we embarked upon the large task of removing the petrol tank to try to locate the problem. Inhaling half BP's worth of Petrol fumes in the process we got the tank off the car and found what we suspected to be the source of the leak, a rusted Fuel Gauge fitting. A full tube of Araldite around the fitting was our only solution and we still have fingers crossed it will work. We finally got the tank refitted at close to midnight, started Ew'n up and he fired into action, free of the smell of fuel - unlike us! We found a campsite that was still open nearby and bumped into another 2 rally teams as we were putting the tent up at 1am in complete daylight.

Friday saw us put our fix to the test as we headed south into Finland and luckily the majority of it seemed to have worked... all apart from a few drips now and then which we may have to live with. We had a great evening last night (Day 7) camping with two other teams in perfect surroundings, rowing and swimming in a lake and taking a midnight Sauna - a very Finnish day!

No comments: