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, 2 August 2017

Hjelmen in Hjelmeland

Against a weather forecast of sunny intervals and rainfall of 0mm, we sat in a car park in Hjelmeland this morning, looking at the small hill (Hjelmen) up which we were supposed to be walking, whilst rain bounced off the tarmac all around us. Again.

Thunder had been added into the mix by the time we finished elevenses and a decision was made: all plans were to be abandoned; we were going to head down to Kristiansand and get out of Norway. Of daily bouncing rain, we have had enough.

Our initial progress down the road was only about a kilometre, before we stopped to take a snap of Mick on a chair:

Little Mick/Big Chair is a theme I have going on Facebook. This is number 5. It's amazing how many oversized chairs there are in the world.

There I wavered on the plan. I *really* wanted to nip up the hill that had been on the agenda (a 207m standalone pimple), so leaving Mick sensibly in the dry, off I went.

Thwarted at the first attempt (Norway has very liberal access rights, but I draw the line at walking down someone's block-paved drive, which is what my map was telling me I needed to do), I ended up walking back to the car park we had left a short while before. The heavens opened on me again in the process.

The walk itself was quite pleasant, up through woodland on a decent path and with grippy rock. The summit was a huge disappointment, being almost completely surrounded by trees, robbing me of views. This is the only snippet I could see:

Having seen a signpost for a sculpture on my way up, I followed a path in that general direction to get down and it proved to be a good move - if you ignore the incident where I was looking at the ground as I carefully stepped through some roots and walked slap into a low branch. At the sculpture was the view that had been missing from the summit:

This was also the site of a picnic area and the Norwegians do excel in proving such facilities. Here there was the option of covered or uncovered dining, depending on the weather, but both options boasted the same views:

Is it cynical of me to think that if this was in a similarly accessible location in the UK it would be trashed and/or full of litter?

By the time I got back down, Mick (kind chap that he is) had relocated back to the original car park, saving me a trudge back through the village in the rain that had just started afresh.

I didn't take my Garmin Gadget on this one and don't even know how long I was out, so I've no stats beyond knowing the outing must have involved 206m of ascent.


  1. That thing with the branch when you're looking down is more embarrassing when the obstacle is another person coming the other way.

  2. Undoubtedly more embarrassing when it is another person, but probably softer on the head!

  3. It's raining further south too with no letup in the offing. I have enjoyed your Norway trip with many familiar places. Apart from the cost I only have good memories of my visits.
    I think you are right not cynical, it would be trashed in the UK, and probably set on fire.