Evenings are spent at the cosy coastal lodge in Hamm i Senja, where the obligatory sauna, along with a hot tub constructed within an old fishing boat, prove popular; less popular is the suggestion by some in the party to dive into the North Atlantic in between sauna and hot tub sessions.
I’m amongst the idiots who decide to take a dive, and I can now tell you with great authority that when you leap into 5C water in a pair of boardies you definitely need both sauna and hot tub to be in the immediate vicinity afterwards.
The rest of the trip is besieged by snowstorm and blizzard, so our touring has to be restricted to the lower slopes of peaks such as the modestly-sized Purka (495m) and Norbakken (height unknown) on Bergsbadn Fjord.
This doesn’t affect our ability to test out our Polygiene-treated togs, however, and I can report that yes, this is a product that really does work – how else to explain the fact that, for example, my Rab Flux base layer really doesn’t smell at all after being worn for four consecutive days and during more hundreds of metres of skinning than I care to remember?!
Whilst the weather remains challenging throughout our visit there is something quintessentially Nordic, nay Arctic, about exploring the island in stormy conditions, just a handful of companions alongside and very little else other than fjords, forests, mountains and snow for many kilometres in any direction.
There’s no doubt that Senja’s scenery and atmosphere exert a strong pull – without exception everyone on the trip plans to revisit this almost unknown Nordic treasure in the future.