Northern Norway 2010
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Northern Norway 2010

What and Where?

Our trip was triggered by a brochure from the Cambridge Alumni dropping through the door, as it does every year.  Although the trips on offer are always very tempting, they are mostly too long in duration, too expensive, or to somewhere I would find too hot these days!  What a fussy person!  But last year's brochure did start with a tempter -a trip to see the Northern Lights travelling on one of the magnificent Norwegian Coastal Voyage vessels, in fact on my favourite one - the MS Trollfjord.  Too good an opportunity to miss, as I had always wanted to experience the short Winter nights of northern regions!

Essentially the trip was from Tromsø going east and north to the Russian border at Kirkenes and back again, with three nights on the ship and a couple of nights in Tromsø at the end.  You can see the outbound journey plotted as a yellow track on the map at the left.  There is an interactive map here, with the full outbound track as measured by my GPS, which worked well on board the ship placed near the cabin porthole.

The Voyage

I feel it best to present the voyage in a chronological order, with the incidental activities and shore excursions in the order they happened.  The Northern Lights deserve a section of their own, as a recurring theme throughout the trip.  You will find a little more description with the individual photos.  Here is the full slide-show - like the Aurora, best viewed with the lights dimmed.

Saturday February 13

Having experienced the possibility of delays at this time of year (remember the snow last year and the high winds two years ago?) we decided to travel from Edinburgh to London Heathrow the day before.  Actually, with an 07:30 flight it would have been impossible to do otherwise!  Overnight at Heathrow hotel.

Sunday February 14

Valentine's day!  Early morning flight from London Heathrow to Oslo, and then on to Tromsø, arriving in the middle of a snow-storm.

Embark MS Trollfjord.

Meet the lecturers.

Monday February 15

Hammerfest early in the morning.

The outdoor Sauna.

First ship crossing - MS Richard With.


Honningsvåg - the excursion to the North Cape.

We are visited by King Crab fishermen.

Tuesday February 16


Arrive at our half way point - Kirkenes.

Kirkenes - visit to the Snow Hotel.

Vardø and its fort.

Wednesday February 17


Hammerfest - Melkøya gas terminal.

Hammerfest - excursion to the Energy House.

Øksfjord - not to be confused with Cambridge!

Seaman's' knot tutorial!

Late night arrival at Tromsø.

Thursday February 18

Tromsø - morning Husky Dog Sled excursion.

Afternoon strolling round Tromsø, and visiting an older Hurtigruten ship - the MS Vesterålen with its rather quaint Panorama Lounge conversion.

Friday February 19

Morning exploring Tromsø.

Afternoon travel from Tromsø to Oslo, and hence to London Heathrow.  Overnight at Heathrow hotel.

Saturday February 20

Travel from London Heathrow back to Edinburgh.

Ship Features

Dining room.


Our cabin.


The Northern Lights

Slide show.

Here are a couple of videos - captured with the Nikon D5000 DSLR and a 35mm f/1.8 lens.  The ISO was set to 3200, and the video contrast increased to 200% making the effective ISO 6400.  Hence the grain (noise) in the image.  The camera was hand held, hence the image moving a lot more than I would like!  The only purpose of these videos is to show how rapidly the Lights can change.  The videos are in DivX format, and if your computer doesn't support DivX yet, there is a free player for Windows or the Mac here.  Both videos are 1.4MB, so a quick download.

Right-click the video and use the Save Link As or equivalent command for your Web browser to copy the files to your PC, so that you can play the movies as often as you want.  I recommend the KM Player (current download) (for PCs) or the VLC Media Player (PC, Mac, Linux and more) to play the file, as the DivX player seems to play incorrect sound (sigh).

Copyright © David Taylor, Edinburgh   Last modified: 2014 Feb 28 at 08:53