A Life in the Slow Lane

The Lofoten Hills

Regular readers will remember our record of completing walks, without getting lost, has not been good on this trip. Today that record did not improve!

A random pretty house in the hills.

The fridge saga has only got worse. It now appears that the fridge does not work on gas or electricity, which probably means a leak of coolant which in turn may well mean a new fridge required. Being Norway, whatever is wrong it will cost top dollar to correct. I contacted a caravan and motorhome dealer this morning, who is only 45 minutes drive from us, and he will look at it on Monday. In the meantime we are busy eating everything from the freezer, to save what we can.

Of the countries we have visited so far Finland has taken the prize for easiest hiking. All of their national parks have a multitude of well laid out, waymarked, colour coded walks. Norway talks about walks in its tourist literature, but always makes reference to buying a map. Fair enough you might think. But we’ve been fancying a walk in the hills around our campsite so I went to look at acquiring the relevant map. 290 NOK (€30)! That’s a pretty hefty price for a day’s walking!

Luckily for us our next door neighbours had invested in a map and were happy for us to take a photo of a section. As our neighbours arrived yesterday I could hear the woman and two children speaking with English accents, but they were travelling in a Swiss car. It turns out that they are a Swiss/ English family, with the woman having lived in Switzerland for 19 years and has married a Swiss. They are very nice and we’ve been having some enjoyable chats.

So armed with a photograph of a section of a map we headed for the hills this morning. The total route was intended to walk was about 11km, in the hills inland from our fjord. The weather was glorious, if anything too hot. We set off on a vehicle track into the hills and soon encountered sheep. The interesting thing about these sheep is that they all had bells. I don’t know why they have bells here when the upland sheep in the UK don’t. The sheep of course excited the dogs. Even Melek managed to find his inner sheepdog!

Sheep with cowbells

We eventually left the main track onto a smaller one which made its way up to the top of a ridge. All the way up the views down the valley to our fjord were fantastic. From the ridge we could now see a spectacular fjord on the north side of the island. With views in two directions and about half of the walk complete we found a spot to sit down for lunch.

Our Fjord from the ridge above

The north side of Vestvagoy Island from the ridge above our campsite

It was after lunch that things deteriorated. The track we were following essentially came to an end. We looked around for the correct patch with no joy. Discretion being the better part of valour we decided to retrace our steps. Instead of literally retracing our steps along the path, Sarah liked the idea of making a short cut across the moors to find the path down. This proved more difficult than it appeared, with the mountainside being covered in deep ground cover and occasional bogs. At one point we nearly stood on a Ptarmigan, whic flew off giving Sarah a start and Mabel much pleasure!

Sarah reaches a summit and demonstrates she can see both sides of the island

Eventually we located the correct path down, although Sarah managed a more direct route than poor old Melek and I. Melek of course was almost disappearing in the ground cover and the off piste sections were a real test for the little man. He only needed carrying for one or two sections.

Sarah and the dogs have a well earned rest

On our return to the campsite Sarah decided she had not had enough excitement for one day and donned her wetsuit to go snorkelling in the fjord. The wetsuit kept her body warm enough, but it wasn’t long before cold hands and feet forced her out. At least she can now say she has swum north of the Artic Circle. I shall not even try.

Sarah braves the Arctic Ocean

Our current plan for tomorrow is to explore the last of the two Lofoten Islands and then camp somewhere near the motohome dealer who is going to look at Basil’s fridge on Monday.