Petestack Blog

5 August 2014

Norway 2014

Filed under: Running,Uncategorized,Walking — admin @ 2:06 pm

Quick summary of my week in Norway with Marie and Donnie Meldrum… part recce for Marie’s 2015 Norseman Xtreme Triathlon entry and part, well, just regular holiday! Noted in pseudo-diary form (= even fewer sentences than usual!) with photos ruthlessly (?) pruned from the 500+ I took to give a more-or-less representative taste of the whole, so not even necessarily all the ‘best’ shots…

Monday 28 July

Flew Edinburgh to Bergen, picked up hire car (automatic BMW estate with just about enough space for Marie’s bike box, some modest luggage and the three of us) and drove via a late lunch stop at the Norseman start point of Eidfjord to Geilo, which I might introduce as the convenient, centrally-placed ski resort (somewhat reminiscent of Aviemore, but perhaps they all are?) where we were lucky enough to find suitable accommodation when planning the trip just weeks before. Initial discomfort (or maybe terror!) at driving on the right for first time since America 2006 presently allayed by getting the seat (too many levers here!) and mirrors properly adjusted for accurate road positioning.

2014-07-28eidfjord1 2014-07-28eidfjord2

Tuesday 29 July

Up Prestholtskarvet (1,853m?) on the Hallingskarvet ridge/plateau. Pleasant walk reminiscent of high Cairngorms tops with substantial summer snow patch some bonus fun. Then to Torpo for a quick look at the 12th century stave church, but too late for a proper look inside. Donnie driving.

2014-07-29prestholtskarvet1 2014-07-29prestholtskarvet2

2014-07-29prestholtskarvet3 2014-07-29prestholtskarvet4

2014-07-29prestholtskarvet5 2014-07-29prestholtskarvet6

2014-07-29prestholtskarvet7 2014-07-29prestholtskarvet8

2014-07-29torpo1 2014-07-29torpo2

Wednesday 30 July

‘Norway in a Nutshell’ trip by train to Myrdal, train again to Flåm, ferry to Gudvangen, bus to Voss and train back to Geilo. Flåmsbana (famous steep branch line) quite sensational but tricky to photograph from packed train with everyone else trying to do same, so photos barely adequate but, yes, the track and buildings you see in both (second row down) are part of the same line! Ferry trip down Aurlandsfjorden and up Nærøyfjorden (allegedly the narrowest in Norway) equally stunning, then an unexpected bonus on the bus trip (just when we thought it was all over!) with an ever-so-steady descent of the hair-raising Stalheimskleiva (just Google it!) bringing applause from the passengers.

2014-07-30geilo1 2014-07-30geilo2

2014-07-30flamsbana1 2014-07-30flamsbana2

2014-07-30ferry1 2014-07-30ferry2

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Thursday 31 July

To Gaustatoppen (1,883m peak above Rjukan) to check out rest of Norseman cycle and run course, with Donnie driving. Marie and me taking one east-side trail up the hill and the other (which turns out to be the race route) down to cover all bases. Quick run along the ridge (Marie staying at radio tower) for me to tick true summit, with south (near) end easy going and north (far) straightforward, blocky scrambling (think ‘Carn Mor Dearg Arete’). Subsequent short diversion into Rjukan valley (famous ice-climbing centre) by car at my request.

2014-07-31gaustatoppen1 2014-07-31gaustatoppen2

2014-07-31gaustatoppen3 2014-07-31gaustatoppen4

2014-07-31gaustatoppen5 2014-07-31gaustatoppen6

2014-07-31gaustatoppen7 2014-07-31gaustatoppen8

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Friday 1 August

Return to Eidfjord via Vøring(s)fossen waterfalls (me driving) to catch the gathering Norseman vibe and let the birthday girl compete in Eidfjord ‘Mini’ (1/10 Norseman distance) Triathlon. And she was doing just fine (possible ladies’ podium) till knocked off her bike (quote ‘can’t wait to show off my war wounds and torn shorts’) by angry, overtaking Frenchman, after which she did well to get going again and still finish well up.

2014-08-01voringsfossen1 2014-08-01voringsfossen2

2014-08-01voringsfossen3 2014-08-01voringsfossen4


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2014-08-01tornshorts 2014-08-01finish

Two more photos added 6 August, belatedly cropped from larger shots (as was the ‘torn shorts’ pic) to show Marie’s pre-race bike testing and ‘war wounds’ we never saw in real time…

2014-08-01bike 2014-08-01warwounds

Saturday 2 August

Pleasant couple of hours spent watching the Norseman come through Geilo before the rain hit. Then the first really wet stuff after hitherto (mostly) great sunny weather, so not too disappointed when enquiries about train times/costs to Finse (just three stops up the main Oslo to Bergen line) with thoughts of walking to the Hardangerjøkulen glacier snout resulted in discovery that 1. it couldn’t be done today, 2. it would have cost the earth for train standing room only (seats fully booked at weekends) and 3. times for tomorrow really wouldn’t sit well with the need for rest before subsequent overnight drive back to airport even if we’d wanted to pay 80% of our entire ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ train/ferry/bus fare for the privilege of retracing a fraction of that route. So off to the famous Borgund stave church instead (further than Marie thought when the 67km she quoted from the GPS turned out to be as the crow flies!), with Donnie driving there and me back. And what an interesting place that was (most original/characteristic/best-preserved surviving example?), with an excellent exhibition in the purpose-built visitor centre and the driest/brightest spell of the afternoon also adding much to the experience.

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Sunday 3 August

Speculative wee trip to Ål (on the Torpo/Borgund road, with me driving again), where we virtually stumbled across the fabulous Bygdamuseum with its fascinating insight into historic Norwegian buildings and interiors. And saw a horse/pony wearing a ‘zebra’ coat! Followed by a late afternoon/evening of attempted sleep before leaving for Bergen just before midnight.

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2014-08-03al17 2014-08-03zebrahorse

‘Zebrahorse’ photo (100% crop from larger shot) added 6 August.

Monday 4 August

Flew Bergen to Edinburgh and home late morning, with head naturally still full of Norway and double-checking impressions of similarities/differences to Highland Scotland on the drive. So it’s bigger and typically steeper, but different/complementary (the colours being subtly different too) rather than just a supercharged version of the same thing. Somewhere I felt at home and look forward to seeing again with thoughts of more walking, running and possibly (on yet another trip?) climbing, but simultaneously (without doing down that Norwegian grandeur at all!) giving me renewed appreciation of our uniquely Scottish landscapes. And how surreal it felt to be out for an afternoon run above the head of the Leven(s)fjord (now don’t go looking for that one on the map!) thinking ‘this morning I was in Norway!’ :-)


  1. Great blog Pete and an amazing set of photos too. Thanks for joining us. Donnie still can’t believe how much we managed to cram in to the week. We’ll need to pre-book the train to the glacier well in advance next year. Plus remember to set aside ‘running’ time each day and remember the shorts and running shoes on every outing just in case! Now we know the scale of the country it will be easier to plan that sort of thing. Donnie’s very excited about the prospect of noodles every lunch time and evening since we’ll be staying in Eidfjord.

    Comment by Marie Meldrum — 5 August 2014 @ 6:37 pm

  2. Think that ‘set of photos’ is just a 17% sample, Marie!

    Comment by admin — 5 August 2014 @ 7:56 pm

  3. Just added three new photos (2014-08-01bike, 2014-08-01warwounds and 2014-08-03zebrahorse), so 17.8% (90 of 506) now on show!

    Comment by admin — 6 August 2014 @ 2:14 pm

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