Above the Arctic circle in February

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by DavidG58, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Some will find my idea weird, some others are possibly having similar thoughts, hopefully some will already have done the same as I want to, it is you I am appealing to, for now at least

    I am partially retiring in December and for our first MH escape I would like to take a trip to the top of Norway, next February with the principle objective of seeing the Northern lights

    I have looked at routes, mileages fuel costs, price of alcohol and ticked those boxes so far, but am really troubled by .......

    Can you drive a standard MH and use it in arctic conditions, we have a winterised MH so fairly OK there, but do I need special tyres? are the roads permanently snow / ice covered in February?

    I have heard from an ex army friend that they used to leave all vehicles with their engines running overnight when that far north due to the effects of the cold!!??

    So has anybody else done it?

    Can I please have positive and negative opinions please

    David
     
  2. flatpackchicken

    flatpackchicken Funster Life Member

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    Hi David, To help you with your questions, I will try to explain,,,,,,
    1. You cannot drive in arctic conditions that far up as it will be about
    -40/50 below and roads could be blocked with 10/15' snow drifts,
    2. most people get about on skidoos.
    3. Most vehicles are parked up for the winter and use snow chains if they have to get about.
    4. The use of 24 hr engine running is because some engines will freeze solid and just wont turn over.
    Best bet is to forget it and fly up there and see the lights, Regards Garry Flatpackchicken
     
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  3. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Have driven above the circle several times, but never that early in the year. There is snow and ice at the side of the road in the beginning of June, so in February you are really going to be in trouble. Another thing is that it is hardly daylight at that time of year. Personally I would never drive in the dark up there, there are to many wild animals wandering around. Some weigh around 2 tons :Eeek:. A motorhome would definitely come worse off against a full grown moose. If you must, you must, but do it at your peril. It can go down to 30 below up there, diesel does not work to well at those temperatures.
     
  4. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    I was up at Nordkapp on the longest day this year......my god its a wild place even in the summer. I was told the Norwegians sometimes have problems keeping the roads open after heavy snowfalls. The roads are also very narrow in many places, so could be difficult for a MH in the snow.

    Some of those tunnels go miles into the bowels of the earth and are pretty scary again even in the summer. They will be wet and slippery and cold in the winter. I can also tell you that many of the Norwegians IMHO are not very good drivers and I can imagine some are not that good in the snow and ice either.......

    RAC site says for Norway:
    At least 3mm of tyre tread, from October to March
    Winter tyres between November and March, if your hire car is registered in Norway
    winter tyres at least but I think snow and ice will be to much for a MH that far north

    Loaf of skanky bread is £3.50+ better stuff is up to £5+ luckily diesel is comparable to UK but everything else is a fortune, take as much food as you can with you!

    Cleanest remotest and most beautiful place I have driven in......

    in the summer the locals regularly seem to roll up at 3am in the morning and start a Barbie at your wild camping location if its not far off the road-funny lot :thumb: good luck
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
  5. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Maybe I was a bot over optimistic on timing

    Some may call me daft or worse, so Feb not a good time to go. I love the idea of no darkness in summer, but that makes it a devil of a job to see the Northern Lights!!

    How late in spring can you go, or early autumn to get long cold nights, but clear roads, and enough daylight to do 200 miles a day sensibly in daylight

    David
     
  6. flatpackchicken

    flatpackchicken Funster Life Member

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    Hi David, I think your best bet is from June to end of October to be safe, after that you may get heavy snow falls where you will need snow chains and serious sub freezing conditions, but wait till Alf from Sweden comes on as he lives in the middle of Sweden and he will be able to tell you exactly the score, Regards Garry Flatpackchicken
     
  7. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Some Funsters will be spending time at Val Thorens in the Alps, the highest ski resort in Europe, in Feb.
    Can I suggest this would be a good dry run for you? Temps are a persistent -5 down to -25 normally.
    I spent time near Nordkapp with the Army, it was a bit extreme, even compared to VT!:Eeek:
     
  8. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I presume the army flew you in. The problem the OP has is, he will first have to drive there overland. I wish him luck in February, he will sure need it. Have driven over the Taurus mountains and the High Atlas in winter and that can be bad enough, but above the Arctic Circle would be bordering on suicidal.
     
  9. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    I like the alps, but my reason for going is the Northern Lights, so need to go North. I have already rethought the February idea. Not retired in time for this autumn, but that is now my revised plan, travel up in September hope to get lucky

    Thanks for input though

    David
     
  10. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Am I the OP? If so what does it mean, hoping it is was not an insult!

    Suicidal tendencies have been abandoned, a late summer, early autumn option next year seems much more sensible and on the basis that you get 24 hour light in June and no light in December the nights should be pretty much 12 - 14 hours in Sept / October so plenty of time to see the Lights

    Thanks very much for putting me right

    David
     
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  11. Phill D

    Phill D

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    i did 7 winters in Norway, 4 inside the Arctic circle in Februrary... and trust me you dont want to be taking your motorhome there then :Eeek:

    There are all sorts of you would need to adapt your van too to get you through the visit not to mention your personal equipment / specialist clothing.

    it was often bad enough driving / travelling in an oversnow vehicle let alone a motorhome.

    Norway is beautiful especially around the fjords but winter inside the circle is no joke and not for the ill prepared.
     
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  12. jb0371

    jb0371 Read Only Funster

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    Top gear did it:BigGrin:
     
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  13. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    OP = Original Poster

    I spent some time in Abisko years ago filming for Scania. In the middle of June the warmest temperature recorded was 12deg C, and it was 24 hours of daylight.

    We were shown photographs of the area in winter, and where they had managed to plough through the snow, it was 12 feet high on either side of the road - so you would never see anything anyway......:BigGrin:

    Lots of folk had their car engines plugged into electric heaters overnight to keep the oil thin, or at least thinner than frozen.
     
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  14. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

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    i have worked up there in winter on a rig designed to work in those conditions we lost power we lost our stem within for hrs it was a big lump of frozen steel the accommodation doped to -15 we moved in to snow caverns because they were only -3
    if you brake down your van will freeze in 20 min it will draw every bit of heat out of you and any one in it it will just be a fibre glass or steel clad box the engine will be-cum a lump of ice
    any vehicle that wernt in use were plunged in to the manes to heat them we use studied tyres on trunks 4x4 and snow ploughs from Oct til march or even later and never went alone at lest two vec but we were Gerard up for it

    if you brake down you might not see any one all night and when they find you you could be already dead

    1 are you planing to do this yourself if so you will die:Sad:

    2 if you are planing to go with a group no Les than three vans carry wood and wood burning stove there is no shortage of trees just a small burner axe an bow-saw
    practise using them:thumb:

    3 sat phone as you may find mobiles don't work
    4 good quality ski winter clothing:thumb:

    5 a way of lighting your fire flint stick tinder as lighter can sum times wont work
    matches are prone to condensation condensation and get damp:thumb:
    6 emergency rations sum way of heating them hexime work well in Arctic conditions

    but if well prepared with a local guide you might even have a slim chance
    but don't do this unprepared reserch reserch reserch

    the norges do keep there roads open the mane ones and they travail on studied tyres not winter tyres as the road up there will just be ice covered tamarack when i worked up there it was sum times not possible to get around to move any thing not even a snow mobile
     
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  15. electricscott

    electricscott Funster

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    let us know how you can on as we would like to do something similar by travelling around the Baltic sea, e.g. up through Norway and back down again through finland. :thumb:
     
  16. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Certainly was no insult. You were given good advice by people that have travelled up there. Whether you take that advice is entirely up to you. I have reread what I advised and for the life of me cant find anything that could be taken as an insult. The AA wont be much help up there am afraid, you will be on your own as even the Sammi hibernate in the winter.
     
  17. the stig

    the stig Funster

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    Dave
    I think he interpreted your OP to poss meaning OAP but someone has already posted it that you were referring to Original Post

    Andrea
    x
     
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  18. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Just in case the others had not made it clear how daft I was being you certainly have, thanks, travel timing plans already modified, September at a few degrees above suddenly sounds so much more sensible!!

    I can't believe how niaive I was being (or that I cant find out how to spell naiive) thinking I could just drive there with maybe some snow chains at worst.

    Many thanks to all you wise ones who saved me certain embarassment and possible death :Eeek:

    David
     
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  19. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Absolutely no offence seen or taken, info very much appreciated, I had just never seen the OP reference and did not know what it meant. Others have put me right already

    Thanks David :thumb:
     
  20. Phill D

    Phill D

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    hi David, not naive at all, if you were as naive as you think you would have gone and done it without any consideration or looking for advice... we happen to have been there..:thumb:
    easy when you know how :Blush:
     
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