The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 26 June 2017

Holandsfjorden

Today's little amble was short enough not to be worthy of a mention here, except that the surroundings were so remarkable that I thought I'd share a few snaps:

First the big picture of what's across the fjord from us:

The Svartisen glacier, which is the second largest glacier I'm Scandinavia.

Having overshot both the outward and return paths of our intended loop on the first pass, without seeing them, we found ourselves walking past this enviable fjordside residence...

...before we backtracked (incurring the wrath of a dive-bombing tern for the second time) and put ourselves right.

Even more enviable when the deck came into view.

Descending steeply through some woodland (Norway isn't short on woodland) and past various information signs we bottomed out at sea level, at a picnic-/view-point built out over the edge of the water:


The rest of the way was through more woodland, regaining the height we had lost, with a couple of extra undulations thrown in for good measure.


We timed it well, completing the little outing in one of the only dry spells all day, meaning it was only our feet that got wet from the grass.

I have today found out some information about other walks in the area, so if the weather perks up we may get out for something a little longer later in the week.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

A Big Lump of Rock In Northern Norway

Arriving at our night-stop today a way marker signpost was spotted on an adjacent track. A look at Open Cycle Map suggested that it led to a hut about a mile up the hill, so once we had settled Bertie into his parking slot and I'd done a bit of research into tomorrow's ferries, I delegated food prep to Mick, clad myself in full Paramo (it has been raining all day and is showing no signs of letting up), and went to investigate.

It wasn't long before I saw that my route lay up this:


Alas, in the conditions, and with my lack of photography skills, none of my snaps can possibly do justice to how incredible the surrounds were.

Over vast scoured slabs of (fortunately very grippy) rock I went, following waymarkers:


In the dips lay pools of water, with little streamlets running between them:


And the view back the way I'd come, over the fjord, was pretty fine too:


The hut, when it came into view, was truly grin-worthy, sitting on a slight raise down in a dip in the landscape, surrounded by a river of snowmelt:

The hexagonal hut blends into its surroundings nicely, but it is in this snap.

As much as I would have liked to go for a closer look, I didn't think it wise to try to cross the water - plus it was tea time and I was hungry - so I turned tail and went back the way I had come.

Enthusing about how wonderful a little walk it had been, Mick wasted no time in donning his running gear and set off at a trot as I set about cooking. A subsequent comparing of notes has confirmed that we were both quite taken with the outing, even if it was only a mile each way with around 150m of ascent. A fine way to end a day of driving.

Quick Catch Up

Before I pen a few words about the short walk I took this evening (which will be the next post), here's a little summary of the last week:

It is seven days since we crossed the border into Norway and in that time the main activity has been driving north up the E6 trunk road to our current position which is within 50 miles of the Arctic Circle.

We did pause for 24 hours in Oslo on Monday/Tuesday, into which period we fitted as much sightseeing as we reasonably could.

At Vigeland Sculpture Park

Then there was a night stop in Lillehammer, where on Wednesday morning we walked the 936 steps up to the top of the 1994 Winter Olympic Ski Jump (then we walked the same number back down again):


Next came a big drive up to Trondheim, which we broke with a stop on Wednesday night on the boundary between two National Parks. A gorgeous location, but it was a bit nippy being quite high up:


In Trondeim, on Thursday, we couldn't get a space in the popular motorhome parking area, so after a speedy bit of sightseeing and a few mundane chores, we detoured a small way south for the night, which involved me swimming in a very cold fresh water lake...

...and, the following morning, going for one of the most violently undulating runs of my life.

It was a late change of plan on Friday morning that saw us return to Trondheim and get lucky by finding a space in the hugely oversubscribed motorhome parking area. We took advantage by staying the full 24 hours permitted.


Yesterday (Saturday) after a run along the river, more driving ensued (this may all sound rushed, but we've been on a mission to get into the Artic Circle in time to see the sun not set - we will then slow down as we have seven weeks available to make the return journey). After a short visit to Hell...

We ended our day parked at the top of this:

It blocked out noise from the adjacent road nicely!

That brings us to today, which has been another big driving day (good day for driving, being grey and wet), with a pause in the middle to see this Anthony Gormley sculpture in Mo i Rana:


To my surprise, today has also involved a walk. It wasn't far, but it was spectacular, so I'll pen a few words about that and post a few snaps in the next post.

(If anyone is interested I'm still posting a daily blog, together with more photos, at thegateposts.blogspot.com )

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday 13 June - Varnæshoved and Hejlsminde, Denmark

(As today involved a couple of strollettes, I'm replicating here today's post from our travel blog (thegateposts.blogspot.com).)

Last night's kipping spot at Varnæshoved was a remote one: a picnic area at the end of a dirt road, the best part of a kilometre off a remote single-track road. Amongst its good points was the presence of an information sign setting out the waymarked walks in the area, and whilst I couldn't read any of the descriptions, I could understand the route distances and the accompanying map:



A look at Open Street Map (via ViewRanger) confirmed that the paths were shown, so after downloading a couple of tiles we were well equipped for an amble around the headland.

Happily, the light rain stopped by the time we stepped out of the door, but the grass was still wet as we walked the 100m or so to the beach.

Didn't take a snap this morning, but here's one I took last night

I commented last night, as I looked out to sea through Bertie's windscreen, that if I had been abducted by aliens and plonked in this location, I would have guessed that I was on the east coast of Scotland somewhere. We'd not gone far up the coast this morning before the presence of a thatched cottage had me amend that impression to 'maybe somewhere in England':

It was only the presence of signs in a language we don't understand that gave the game away that we are somewhere foreign.

A turn inland, away from the beach, and through a beech wood we passed...


...taking a little diversion on the way to visit a long barrow (ancient burial site):


This area is well provisioned with parking and picnic areas. The one shown below was vast, and could easily have been a campsite, particularly with the decent toilet facilities that are there:


Through a turnstile into a field...


...and through another one at the other side, we then temporarily abandoned the red route, taking instead to the yellow route so that we could walk right across the headland. The map told me that by going that way we would walk the length of a lake, which I thought would be picturesque. The reality was a walk through beech woods with barely a glimpse of the water.

Past another thatched cottage...

...and a little way along the road, the map said we would rejoin the coast to complete our circuit of the headland and I was looking forward to more nice coastal views. Alas, we were again a little disappointed, not by the fact that we were skirting crop fields per se, but because of the height of the boundary hedges standing in the few yards between us and the cliff edge...

...with just the occasional gap giving us the view we wanted:

Late autumn or spring is probably the best time for this walk, when everything isn't in full leaf.

Even with the addition of a bit of the yellow route to the advertised red route, our outing only came in at 5 miles with the gentle undulations amounting to around 120m of ascent.

Being now well after 11, Mick wasted no time in preparing elevenses. Jam was smeared onto croissants and coffee made, but it didn't go well. Biting into my jam-laden croissant I discovered that it was stuffed with ham and cheese, and drinking my coffee I discovered that Mick had forgotten to remove the two slices of lemon which had languished in my mug from my previous two drinks. I can report that lemon coffee is a far worse taste sensation than a savoury croissant with jam.

Time to move on and there had been a loose plan of visiting the town of Kolding next, but at the last minute I decided that another seaside location was more what I fancied than a walk around a town, and Mick was happy with either option (laid back chap that he is), so the seaside won.

In our new location, another strollette was taken this afternoon, featuring a beach with a swimming jetty...


...but I haven't ventured out with my swimming costume, even though a hand in the water suggested that it's not outrageously cold.

We may have only been in Denmark for a little over 24 hours, but my observation so far, based on today's walks and the drive in between them (for which we didn't take the motorway, no matter how much the SatNav tried to make us) is that there are two industries that must be thriving in this country: those involved in the manufacture and provision of flag poles and picnic benches. The whole place also seems to be remarkably clean, possibly related to the presence of so many litter bins (although that can't be the whole story - how many times at home do we see coffee cups or McDonald's bags dropped five paces away from the nearest bin?)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Summer Tour 2017

All is likely to be quiet here this summer, as we're away in Bertie-the-Motorhome, with Norway being the main objective. I will probably write a few words here when we do something that merits inclusion under the 'M&G Go For A Walk' banner, but otherwise news of where we are and what we're doing will be on t'other blog at thegateposts.blogspot.com.

Since leaving home last Sunday we've journeyed down to Folkestone (via lunch with friends) and spent a couple of days in France, really just killing time until an appointment in Belgium. A run around the seaside town of Wissant and a walk around the walled town of Bergues featured in those days.

Tuesday was an exceedingly dull day sitting in a motorhome dealership in Kortrijk, Belgium, whilst some warranty repairs were carried out on Bertie. The following day saw us take a morning run alongside the river in Kortrijk, then a walk around the town, before we headed nearer to our ultimate destination. We broke our journey at Antwerp, spending a couple of nights there.

Heavy rain lashed us on Friday morning, making it a good driving day and by the time we had left Belgium, crossed the Netherlands, battled traffic on the German motorways and arrived in Dülmen the sun was out.

Two visits were made to the nearby lake, one at a walk on Friday evening, the other at a run yesterday morning. With the perimeter path being 5km long, it's a shame that ParkRun hasn't yet reached Germany.

Bright and early this morning off we set for another long drive (long by our usual 'on tour' standards), which landed us in Kaltenkirchen, just north of Hamburg, where the high-twenties temerature feels much warmer than the same temperature felt yesterday. Must be the humidity.

When we leave here we will either end our journey in Denmark or in the last town in Germany before the border.