At 06:40, after travelling southeast from Bear Island, we passed beneath the cliffs known as the North Cape at 71.10N and at sea level, the village of Knivskjelodden, which is the actual most northerly point of Europe. But, if and when giant cruise ships arrive, this small place would not cope.
Following an early breakfast, we were away on the 45 minute coach journey to the Cape from the port of Honningsvag.
The Cape is nearer to the North Pole than Oslo and the midnight sun is visible from mid-May to the end of July. Today it was a barren, wind-swept plateau with a stunning approach with the low morning sun and autumnal colours of the tundra. This is in contrast to January 2022 when the landscape was snowbound and the snowploughs were keeping the road clear.
Richard Chancellor, the English explorer came across the cape in 1553, whilst in search of the Northeast Passage, and gave it its name.
Much later royalty visited, especially King Oscar II of Norway in 1873 and from Thailand, King Chulalongkorn in 1907 whose graffiti is preserved in the Visitors Centre.
At around this time Thomas Cook started tours from England, however, there was no port available so the wealthy tourists, in their best clothes, had to scramble up the cliff path from sea level!!
A prompt departure during lunch saw us navigating more islands and fjords en route to the Lofoten Islands.