The Arctic Circle!June 20, 2017 in Sweden
It was the day before midsummer and we were looking forward to crossing the Artic Circle! Sweden is so vast and sparsely populated that the road network is very spread out, meaning there weren't many opportunities for Vicky to take a wrong turning! We therefore set the sat nav to display the coordinates of our position and continued North West on the 97 towards Jokkmokk, watching the longitude count up the degrees and minutes.
The Arctic Circle, the southernmost latitude from where the midnight sun can be seen on the summer solstice, moves north and south in an oscillation that is 180km wide and lasts 40,000 years. There is a shorter oscillation too and both are controlled by the gravitational pulls of the sun, moon and planets. The line is currently on a northwards track at 66°33.778'.
At the midpoint of the large oscillation we pulled into a rest area that had a sign and information. Flagpoles stood along the line and darker flagstones ran through a modern looking, wooden pyramidal shelter to mark it out. We'd been planning and looking forward to visiting the Arctic for years so were very excited! Our mental health is something we both need to actively manage and at exciting times like these we both need to keep an awareness of Will's bipolar, assessing whether his high is a direct result of what is happening and within reasonable limits or whether it has escalated. We thought there was no better way to show this in photos than Will standing across the polar line. We feel very glad that since we've been travelling, it has been easier to spot early warning signs and therefore manage our mental health effectively.
Several other vans used the rest area while we were parked (they make up a significant proportion of vehicles on the road up here). We talked to a Norwegian couple who lived near Nordkapp, one of the most northerly points in Europe. They said Spring had been late this year and the snow had only just melted from the lowlands, although it was still on the mountains. Talking of snow, the temperature had turned perceptibly colder, so we lunched inside the van before driving on and crossing the current line of longitude into the Arctic!Read more