Friday, August 23, 2013

Preikstolen - not to be confused with nobcake

The Stavanger start was early-ish to get ourselves somewhere good whilst the weather was still behaving.  Norway's roads are strictly speed controlled to the tune of hefty fines so we knew it would take us a while to make progress.  We stopped and dined at a convenient parking lot.  Fresh bread, cheese, tomatoes, ham.  Heaven... and just as Andrew was starting to nod off.

There were tunnels and the fjords below the bridges became deeper and deeper.  The vanu used its full range of gears as the mountains got steeper and then we knew, when we got to the Lysfjord ferry that it was going to be special.

The crossing was brief and within 40 minutes of driving off the ferry we were winding our way up towards the Preikstolen.  We did cheat and drive 600m up the mountain in the Vanu to the car park at the start of the path but being dedicated Yorkshire folk now, we baulked at the £10 parking fee and headed back down the mountain to park in a layby and recover the bikes to retrace our steps, locking to the armaco with other dedicated (tight) folk.
The walk to the Priekstolen reminded me of the trail up to Steill Falls in Glencoe with plenty of points available for unsuitable footwear and clothing.  Still, most Norwegians are used to doing excercise and were better equipped than many UK tourists for this kind of thing... and it *was* a bloody nice day so I wore my Accellerate running shoes and we bunnyhopped around slow walkers almost all the way to the top.

And the top was just like Ben Nevis on a nice day - packed with people - except the Priekstolen drops vertically 3000ft to the sea below.

All ambition of summiting was lost into the vicious wind as my hair whipped my eyeballs and we retreated to the safety of the descent where, I am impressed, TSK ran down the hill along side me all the way back to the bikes.  Sure, we weren't running... running but we passed a steady stream of huffers and puffers and whooshed down the hill, first on foot, then on the bikes then in the Vanu to the happy refuge of the campsite to be handed a notice saying,

"If you're staying here then you're probably planning on doing the Priekstollen hike tomorrow.  If you do, you will not be back in time to check out before 11am.  If you plan to do the Priekstolen hike, please book another night to avoid additional charges."

We settled in to enjoy the sunset and the sound of sheep bells.

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