At this time of year in the very north darkness lasts but a very short time so that by 0400 or so the sun light brings you back from sleep and it is impossible to lie in. I must admit that this morning I managed to stay in bed until 0630 (which will shock those of you who know me well!!) before ambling downstairs to enjoy smoked salmon and eggs for breakfast.
After breakfast we spent the morning walking around Kandalaksha. During our walk Steve and I found ourselves leaning against a bridge looking out over the railway. Here in Russia trains are a very good way to get around and in Kandalaksha it looked as though there was more rolling stock than you would find in all England.
At 1200 we started our journey into the Kola proper, stopping off at the view point high above the city where you can see for miles into the Gulf of Kandalaksha which sparkled in the sunshine. From the viewpoint a rocky track leads down to the White Sea and we enjoyed lunch sitting beside a beach looking out onto a calm blue sea in hot sun. It was 100km from here to the military town of Umba where we fuelled for The Kola. Only a few kilometres from the fuel station the off roading starts with a crossing of an estuary, which I had timed to coincide with the low tide so we enjoyed a run along the sand before finding a campsite up on the shore between the sea and the forest. The climb up to the camp was difficult and I had to use my front and rear lockers to forge a way through the sand, allowing the Land Rover of Kevin and Sue to enjoy an easier climb on compacted sand. Rob and Isabella’s Toyota brought up the rear and we were soon camped and ready for a relaxing evening beside the sea.
Whilst sitting (as you do) watching the tide come in bathed in glorious sunshine an Osprey flew by while Velvet Scooters bobbed around on top of the waves that a stiff southerly wind had stirred up.
Steve, Sue and Rob got a fire going as the evening chill came in so we sat in daylight, chatting about the day, enjoying the warmth of the fire and the sound of the waves against the shore until at least 1100 when we knew that we really ought to get some sleep.