Today is a day of contrasts. Within the space of a few kilometres, the mountainous landscapes of Norway give way to the dense, dark woodlands of Finland. Surrounded by emerald-green forest, the Lemmenjoki River is a favourite haunt of gold panners.

If we hadn’t already chosen the topic for our report, it would have been fascinating to take a closer look at these hermits, who spend their working lives squatting in the river searching for the little nuggets that fire the dreams of many Finnish adventurers. During a previous rally, one of the teams was startled by a shaggy giant – where did his beard end and his hair start? – who suddenly materialized out of the forest, bellowing hello in Finnish.

After a short chat, this friendly gold digger disappeared as abruptly as he had arrived… As well as being the last of the Midnight Sun stages, tonight is the last time we will camp wild.