Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Tuesday 27 June - Storvik Beach and Saltstraumen

Where's Bertie? He's in a small car parking area at the start of a couple of walking routes just to the W of Saltstraumen (exact loc: 67.23296, 14.53856).

What a miserable day it has been today! Grey and wet has been the overriding theme, with the cloud down as low as the fjords at times.

With our next intended destination being well up within the cloud, and with the sole purpose of going there being for the walking, we modified our plans and (after following a JCB-style digger slowly through an 8km tunnel), sailed past the turn to the car park.

Instead we stopped in the car park of 3 supermarkets (yep, all sited next door to one another) in a place called Ørnes and, after buying some croissants and pastries, we sat and watched the rain on the windscreen over elevenses.

Not much further along the way, I called for another stop in a nice beachside picnic area at Storvik. There we had lunch, after which the rain abated, prompting me to change into full Paramo and take a walk along the beach. I was glad to have worn a woolly hat. Gloves would have been wise too. We reached a high of a chilly 9 degrees today.

Nice, firm, golden sands

A bit of street art on the side of a building and waterfalls slashing white lines through the trees beyond. There were a lot of spectactular waterfalls today; it's a benefit of wet weather.

With the choice of frittering away the afternoon where we were, or moving on, we moved on. An hour up the road lay the Saltstraumen, a tidal maelstrom, and my reading of the tidetable for today (the website I found was in Norwegian, making it a bit trickier to decipher) I reckoned the maelstrom was going to reach its peak two hours hence, at 3pm.

The maelstrom is caused by a narrow (150m wide) channel, leading into two large fjords, coinciding with an area which has a very large tidal range. As a result, as the tide makes its rapid rise or fall, billions of gallons of water have to squeeze through the bottleneck of the channel. Watching the patterns on the rushing water, and the frequent whirlpools, was a mildly diverting way to spend an hour and we were lucky enough that the heavier rain held off whilst we were walking back and forth across the bridge.

I think you would need proper camera equipment and more photographic skill than either of us possesses to capture a true representation of what we saw.

An immaculately kept grass-roofed house, that sits below the bridge, caught our attention.

The large car park, at the north end of the bridge, in which we had parked for this little outing, has signs up advising of a charge of 200NOK (around £18.50) for parking between 2200 and 0800, which seemed more than a little steep for a sloping car park with no facilities. Thus we moved 5km, to the small parking area in which we are now sitting.

The waymarker here had me consult the www.UT.no mapping/walking routes website that I discovered yesterday, which told me that the route followed a track up to a lake, with only about 60m of ascent. Suitable for running, we thought, and once the heavy rain finally stopped, out I went.

At the first bend in the track (by which time I was already gasping), I saw a side trail, clearly marked with blue paint, and took it. It soon became apparent, as I gasped up variously boggy/root-ridden and rough rocky terrain, that this wasn't the path I'd seen on the map, but one that was going up to a nearby summit. I pushed on regardless, running the runnable bits. It was only after I'd got back, handing the (virtual) baton over to Mick and advising him not to be tempted by the turn I had taken, that I looked again at the website and saw that there are two routes starting from here, an 'easy' and a 'moderate'. I'd taken the latter, with 300m ascent! It was probably wise that I turned after 15 minutes, rather than pushing on all the way to the top.

Depending on what the weather's doing in the morning, I may go and investigate the area further, taking my phone with me for some photos (I went empty handed today, hence no snaps).

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