A Heacham biker had the trip of a lifetime when he joined four friends on a trip through forests and mountains to the Arctic Circle and helped raise almost £6,500 for Macmillan Cancer Care.
Chris Harris, 44, was devastated by the loss of his mother within weeks of her being diagnosed with lung cancer, followed by his father, a year ago, who had lung and stomach cancer.
In around three weeks, he and his fellow bikers completed the route to the Arctic Circle in a heatwave after months of preparing to deal with the colder temperatures.
Chris said: “We had all expected the weather to be getting colder as we rode north. The reality was that the temperature was almost 30 degrees when we arrived wearing our thermal clothing!
“Scandinavia was experiencing a mini-heatwave which stayed with us for a most of the southern parts of the trip in Denmark, Sweden and on our return through Southern Norway.”
Chris was joined by three other IT workers who share a passion for motorcycling, Belfast’s Paul Mooney, Preston’s Roy McGeoch and Ohio’s Gregg Eldred. They were also joined by a Croatian friend, Vladimir Veletic, who was living in Denmark.
The group reached the edge of the Arctic Circle in just six days, after travelling along fast highways through dense forests in Sweden, but they still had to head as far north as possible.
Chris said: “We rode long days, travelling most days between 8 and 12 hours with short stops every two hours to refuel, which was physically and mentally very tiring in the heat.
“We were ecstatic to reach the Arctic Circle although we still had to get as far north as we could and also visit the Arctic Centre in Norway the following week on our journey back through Norway.
“We finished day six at the Abisko National Park, a wild and barren place on the banks of Scandinavia’s largest alpine lake, Torneträsk. The lake was is 41 miles long and totally frozen over. It was here we experienced the 24-hour daylight of the midnight sun.”
The next eight days were spent travelling down through the mountains of Norway before arriving in a small town called Hell, where they spent the night, before being joined by another biker, Arvid Nornes for the next five days.
An overnight ferry took the team back to Denmark, before riding down to Esbjerg to catch the return ferry to England, before Chris started the ride home to Heacham.
Chris said: “We travelled through 80km of tunnels including the Lærdal Tunnel which was 24.51km long and the longest road tunnel in the world. We also rode across the Great Belt Bridge which has the world’s third longest main span on a suspension bridge at 1.4km.
“We took 12 ferries during the whole trip. We rode over 6,500km although the total distance travelled including ferries was over 8,500km and even further for Gregg with his travel from the USA.”
Overwhelmed by their huge journey, Chris started a blog to chart the trip and to keep supporters on track with their progress. Donations and support flooded in, helping the group to raise almost £6,500 for Macmillan.
Chris said: “We raised almost £6,500 and donations are still coming in so I hope that we will reach the full £6,500. The blog is still being updated at www.dash4dosh.wordpress.com and you can still donate at www.justgiving.com/Chris-Harris22/”