By: Blonde Two
Mr B2 and I didn’t take any mad dogs with us on our camper trip to Northern Norway but we certainly did have a few moments when we felt like a mad English man and woman. These moments were by and large centred around our experiences with the midnight sun.
You might remember that Blonde One has visited Tromso twice and sampled the delights of the Northern Lights. Mr B2 and I were always going to go in May because that is the date of his birthday (often an rather unfortunate clash with Ten Tors weekend) and I have to admit to being initially a little bit disappointed at the prospect of missing the green lights of the Aurora.
I needn’t have worried though, the midnight sun, when experienced fully as when you are inside the Arctic Circle, is a phenomena in itself and one that I enjoyed each and every night of our stay. It took me a while to get my head around the idea that the sun wasn’t going to set (or rise) but it really didn’t and the joke of the trip became the phrase, ‘It’ll be dark soon!’ Take a look at this sunrise and sunset times chart if you don’t believe me.
The whole midnight sun is to do with the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth which means that at certain times around the summer solstice, if you are between the 66.5 and 90 degree north latitudes your bit of the earth will always be pointing towards the sun. This video is a tad annoying but does give a very good visual explanation.
I didn’t tire once of watching the sun dance its slow circular dance around us. Each night it skimmed the water and carried on its shimmering journey. The light of a night time low sun is crystal clear but hazily coloured (another of Norway’s strange contrasts) and appears to have an excitable effect on wildlife. We officially sat up through midnight twice, once at Nordkapp…
and once on a white sand beach on the island of Senja…
but every night I woke in our Norwagon Camper several times, happy to roll over and gaze at this mesmerising marvel until I dropped off again.
Living with the midnight sun requires a bit of innovation. I packed eye masks to aid sleep but we didn’t use the curtains in our van because the views were too good to shut out.
There is a certain lack of toilet privacy that results from having no darkness but then there weren’t many people about anyway. Bedtimes definitely became a moveable feast and ranged from 8 o’clock when we were tired to 3 in the morning when we were over-excited (fairly often) and night time loo visits took longer than usual because the views were too good to miss.
We got a lot of amusement over the fact that I, in my over-zealous secretive packing (the trip was a surprise for Mr B2) had packed our head torches… like I said, this midnight sun is a hard act to get your head around!
If you ever get the opportunity to experience the midnight sun do take it and do it properly inside the Arctic (or if you are very lucky Antarctic) Circle. It is great to be taken out of your usual perceptions of night and day and experience a completely different pattern. Almost, you might say, like being on another planet.