On Friday I arrived home from a day of tiring work. Feeling jaded and ready to pounce on the nearest thing that irritated me, which turned out to be the unsuspecting parrot. No one else was available to fend off my horrible mood!
On opening up my email box, suddenly that awful mood dissipated into thin air, as a huge grin along with a shout of Eureka emerged instead.
The star email was from the AlpKit Foundation, who have granted me an award for my journey, along part of the Iron Curtain Trail! They are kindly paying for the flight to Kirkenes, and the return flight from Helsinki.
It is a fantastic feeling, when an organisation believes in you enough, to invest either help/money/time towards a venture.
My solo journey starts in late April from Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle, close to the Norwegian/Finnish/Russian borders. There will be snow on the ground, but I’m heading south so it’s going to warm up eventually! The plan is to cycle along the east side of Finland towards Helsinki. A total distance of around a 1000 km. This particular section of the trail is very quiet and close to the Russian border, there will be War museums and memorials to visit and learn about, which is the main intention of the ride. Remote Sami villages, woods, moorland, lakes and endless forests to enjoy, with hopefully no little brown bears or large wolverines to be seen!
Of course I will be wild camping as much as possible, and hope to do some swimming in the numerous lakes, as I progress further south. Each night at the start and finish, will be spent staying with local hosts from the Warmshowers website.
When I arrive back home, there will be a talk about the journey during the Ambleside Festival of the Fells. As well as at the local Rotary Club, as long as they invite me back again!
I’m hoping for an interesting, exciting and fulfilling bike ride…….and looking forwards to sharing the story with you all!