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]

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wednesday 19 July - Romsdalsegen

An alarm early enough to get us on the road at 7 this morning elicited a few grumbles from a sleepy Mick, but, as we learnt later, it was very much worth it.

It was only an 11km drive around to Venjesdalen, at the entrance to which we were surprised to find a barrier and a payment machine requiring 75NOK from us to proceed up the road to the car park. After bit of a faff with the credit card not working, onwards to the car park we went. The motorhome and a car with a tent alongside had clearly spent the night; there was only one other vehicle.

We weren't immediately on our way. Breakfast came first and it was gone 8.30 by the time we set out, soon catching up a couple of groups who had gone before us.

The walk over the Romsdalsleggen ridge is highly promoted locally, the leaflet from the Tourist Office selling it as 'Norway's most beautiful hike'. We weren't going to do the whole ridge (if we had, we would have descended back to Åndalsnes via the viewpoint platform we visited yesterday afternoon), instead forming a lollipop from the easy and the difficult versions of the linear walk.

The difficult bits of the difficult route lie on the sharp ridge where there are a couple of awkward steps and a few places with notable exposure (i.e. narrow with sheer drops down both sides). I have no head for heights, but I managed it without any knocking of the knees.

Elevenses was had on the summit of Mjølvafjellet (1216m) in the company of just one other couple. One of the groups of four who we had passed just as we got to the trickier bits arrived just as we were leaving, the other group of four we had passed at the same time we didn't see again.

Once off the summit it was incredible how few people we saw. Turning off the main ridge to pick up the 'easy' path for our return leg, we not only had it to ourselves, but the line was surprisingly little trodden, although we did meet about a dozen people further along.

Our smugness at having set out relatively early came at 1pm as we had lunch looking up at the ridge we had walked, where we could see queues of silhouetted people stretched along its length, waiting for access to the tricky bits. At a rough estimate, we reckon there were 120 people in that line. I would have hated it, being both frustrated by the pace of people in front and feeling pressured by the people behind. It confirmed that our decision to drive and walk a lollipop, rather than catching the bus was a good one for reasons other than saving money (the bus would have cost £30 for the 11km journey). There is only one bus a day Monday to Thursday, which causes a busload of people to be setting out together at 10am, which also tends to be a popular time for car-walkers to set out: a recipe for crowds.

Against the flow, back down through the muddy sections we went, to a full car park. We didn't linger, relocating ourselves back down to Åndalsnes, which is also much busier (and in a much prettier location) under today's blue skies.

The weather is supposed to hold through tomorrow too, so it will be another early start.

The first evidence that the hype in the tourist brochures has a basis. I couldn't choose between the walks we've done with outstanding views, but this was up amongst them.

The first of the snow fields. There was only one short section where I thought 'You really wouldn't want to slip here!'

The photos don't show quite how unreal the shade of green in the valleys looked.

That was a long snow field on the return leg.

Rejoining our outward path.


  1. It was! Today's location isn't too shoddy either, but I'm not sure my legs are feeling inclined to do the walk I'd fancied near here.