It was mid-winter when my wife-to-be Lisa and I left home in our Series IIA hybrid, along with friends Nerys and Pease, and Siani and Gareth, in their 300Tdi Discoverys. We were heading for Nordkapp in Norway, more than 2000 miles away.
On the way to the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone, the passenger-side windscreen in the hybrid got smashed so we called at a mate's in Redhill to collect a spare - which was fitted somewhere under the Channel! There was also a wheel bearing collapse on Pease's Discovery, which was changed on the side of the M20. A nightmare start, really...
We spent the night at Eindhoven, and left early for Frederikshavn in Denmark, 608 miles away, to catch the ferry to Gothenburg in Sweden.
Once there, we headed to our booked hotel, only to find it was closed. Annoying, but we found another - a decommissioned ship moored in the river that was, luckily, a great place to stay.
We drove on towards Stockholm and headed north, aiming to be in Vannas on Christmas Eve - just inland from Umea. En route we camped in a layby where it snowed for most of the night, but our insulated Maggiolina tent was brilliant - I had also fitted an air pipe from the IIA's heater to warm the tent before we got in!
When we woke on Christmas Eve there was a wonderful blanket of soft, white snow - we couldn't believe that we were in Sweden for Christmas! We stayed in a picturesque chalet for the next two nights, and spent part of Christmas Day snowboarding.
On Boxing Day we continued north, and stayed in a log cabin near the Finnish border: the snow was two feet deep, the roads were sheet ice and the reindeer roared through the night. The Land Rovers were going well, starting easily even at -40°C.
We arrived in Alta the next day and spent some time dogsledding, before our night stop at Honningsvag.
The following morning we met the convoy truck that we would follow to Nordkapp - a spectacular drive through bleak, open countryside. We spent about four hourse there, then followed the convoy truck back to Honningsvag, before driving to Forsol where we marvelled at the amazing Aurora Borealis.
On the return leg we enjoyed stunning scenery, and sat for most of the night on a frozen lake at Porjusselet, spending New Year's Eve in Sundsvall where there was a real buzz.
We left Denmark on the Esbjerg-Harwich ferry, then started the long drive home. It was a memorable, epic journey with great friends.
For anyone planning a similar journey, I recommend mud-terrain tyres (my Goodyear Wranglers MT/Rs were totally unfazed by the snow), evem though we did get some odd looks from locals for not using studded tyres. Make sure you take spares, tools, lots of food and warm clothing. We even had a 1000w inverter to run a small 240v oil-filled radiator to dry clothes and warm our gloves.
Originally featured in the August 2014 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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