From Norway to Wreaks, Grewelthorpe and Foulgate.

Post 171: 7 August 2017, Ripon Rowel Circles 8. 

Having returned from the glories of Norwegian fjords, waterfalls and mountains on the 6 August, the names on the walk route on 7 August seemed less than enticing; Wreaks Lane, Grewelthorpe Moor and Foulgate Farm.

This was soon remedied when we hit lovely purple heather at the start of the walk, followed by a rainbow. Yorkshire was welcoming us back in a very colourful manner.

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Even the cows with calves seemed to have calmed down since we last encountered them.

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It was soon time for our coffee and banana break with Sid the Yorkshireman and Carol showing off their new Norwegian flasks. Now Norway is expensive but sometimes you get what you pay for and these were certainly more decorative than my much cheaper flask.

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There is no doubt that Norway is more dramatic than Yorkshire with huge mountains, fjords, waterfalls and with dramatic skies and landscapes. Many of the walks demand very high levels of fitness (see previous blogs).  But Yorkshire has much lovely walking countryside that more ‘senior walkers’, like myself, can cope with much more easily.

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Around 70% of the world’s heather moorland is in the UK and the largest continuous expanse of moorland in England and Wales is on the North York Moors, and the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas have their share too. So there was a lot to be thankful for.

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We passed a former 1878 Wesleyan Chapel.

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And a newly painted bus stop at Manor Farm. We were not sure if any buses ever came.

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Passing grouse butts, we decided to use them as shelter for our lunch with spectacular views and skies towards the North York Moors in the far distance.

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We passed through Low Bramley Grange and and Foulgate Farm to return to Wreaks Lane and our car.

The end of a gentle resume of the Ripon Rowels Circles after our Norwegian Saga (as opposed to Saga holiday – we are not there yet! ).

Miles Walked 7. 

Calories Burnt 847

Steps Taken 12,200

Average Pace 18 Minutes per Mile. 

 

 

 

 

Eidfjord Wander, A Double Rainbow, Try Looking at the World in a Different Way, The Mightily Superfit, The End of the Nordic Saga.

Post 170: 4 August 2017, Eidfjord Wander.

Having completed the walk to the Viking burial grounds, I decided to have a wander around the village of Eidfjord. First stop was a delightful gallery. See slideshow:

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Then after passing a lovely cafe

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I was treated to an exquisite double rainbow show, see slideshow:

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I continued to the pretty church

 

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Then the old part of town.

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Before seeing things and my ship in a different way! This was without having had a drop of gin and tonic.

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Returning to the ship I was able to watch the triathlon in a new way from above. Watching the Norwegians swim across the fjord and cycle and run over the steep hills just confirmed they are mightily superfit! Time for a G&T to recover from my walking today.

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At 8.30pm our ship left for the Port of Tyne. There was a superb Balmoral Crew Show to ease the pain of leaving Norway. This was then moderated by force 5 waves.

5 August 2017

Sunrise in Newcastle was at 5.34am and I just managed to catch it. See slideshow:

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I hope you have enjoyed my travels to Norway as much as I have?

Miles walked today 2 + 3.5 earlier = 5.5

THE END OF THE NORDIC SAGA

Eidfjord Walk to the Haereid Viking Burial Grounds.

Post 169: 4 August 2017,  Eidfjord Circular

Leaving the ship after another sumptuous lunch, we headed off for my guided walk to the Haereid Viking burial grounds, Western Norway’s largest area of burial mounds from the Iron Age and Viking periods. It is home to almost 400 graves from 400-1000 AD, which are located on the Haereid plateau at 100 metres (328 feet) above sea level. Perhaps one of my relatives would be there as my DNA is 35% Viking!

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Here is the route.

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We passed canoeists in the fjord

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And ice carving in the car park!

P1030603 Then a caravan site by the fjord, to begin an ascent to a viewpoint at Hodna.

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We were intrigued by a house which had strengthened guttering for snow and a ladder for clearing snow off the roof.

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There were soon retrospective views of our ship

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What a back garden!

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A train came down the hill.

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Before we reached the viewpoint.

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A sign warned of avalanches that had occurred in the area but our path was quite safe.

There was no time to let the grass grow under Carol, Sid the Yorkshireman and Alison’s feet so I urged them on. There was enough grass on the roofs.

I was delighted to find an old Volvo and Steve found a VW. Like us they had seen better times.

Someone coming the other way did say they had not seen any burial grounds and we pointed out they had passed them!

Further on we found the burial mounds.

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Many Viking and other artefacts have been found in the area, such as a gold ring, iron axe, arrowheads, a knife, a blade, a brass ball, coal, shards from clay vessels, charcoal, a shield buckle, rock crystals, three-leaf bronze clasp, an Irish 9th century circular buckle and an iron frying pan.

We then descended and many people coming up in the opposite direction asked us how much further it was to the graves.

We arrived at a delightful beach overlooking Eidjordvatnet. An opportunity for some photography and a rest.

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The path became a track alongside the river and even included a smart toilet.

Some remnants of the salmon fishing traps (now banned) of the past were found

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Lovely flowers were in abundance. see slideshow.

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Finished off with some interesting signs.

Had we not got a ship to return to we could have booked a bad room or two!

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The guide’s reward – some delicious Italian ice-cream

Miles Walked 3.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruising Hardanger to Eidfjord.

 

Post 168: 3 August 2017, Cruising Hardanger to Eidfjord. 

We left Flam at about 5.30pm after a wonderful day there in good weather. Rumours were around that the UK was getting a lot of rain. As we sat in the Observatory at about 10.00pm to start the quiz, the sky change coloured. Fortunately, I had a small camera and was able to go out on top deck to capture the colours. See slideshow:

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At 10.30pm it was off to see the comedian Andy Rudge who was very funny. I can’t remember if it was disco dancing after that!

4 August 2017

I was up and about not long after the sunrise at 5.16am. I had spotted interesting clouds through my porthole. See slideshow:

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A couple of ships passed.

At about 8.00am we entered Hardangerfjord running from the Atlantic to the Hardangervidda Plateau. It is the fourth largest fjord in the World and the second largest fjord in Norway.

We then cruised past Furebergfoss Waterfall around breakfast time, a great view from the restaurant:

 

Sit back and enjoy the slideshow as passengers could:

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Wonderful cloud effects lined our route. I remember a photographer saying that clouds make a photograph. I must agree.

Again relax and sail through the clouds in the slideshow:

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There were occasional full breaks in the cloud.

But not many. See slideshow:

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Until a fine bridge, fairly recently built, was passed under.

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And the smiley face of one of our favourite members of staff signalled Eidfjord was close.

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The views from the ship looked promising. Time for another superb lunch before embarking on our planned walk.

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Miles Walked 0 apart from round the deck. 

 

Flamsbama, Train Up and Cycling Down, Waterfall Up, Follow the Blonde Lady to Find it!

Post 167: 3 August 2017, Flam and Brekkefossen

Arriving in Flam at about 7.00am, the plan this morning after breakfast was for Celia to catch the train to Myrdal ascending to 867 metres within just 50 minutes. The railway gradient is 1 in 18 over a distance of 20 kilometres (12.42 miles). She would then get the train back to Berekvam, which is half-way between Myrdal and Flam where a bicycle would be provided for her to cycle down. She would start at 343 metres above sea level and cycle for approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) – nearly all downhill!

Having been on the train before, I fancied a walk to the Brekkefossen Waterfall. This was about 7 km (4.4 miles) and is situated at the top right of the map.

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Leaving the ship I passed through the station which can get extremely busy at times as it is a major World tourist attraction. Finished in 1944, the railway climbs almost 1,000 metres through magnificent scenery, in and out of mountains, past waterfalls and ravines, and pausing at the beautiful Kjosfossen Waterfall – where water crashes 225 metres down the side cliffs. It passes through 20 tunnels.The river at some point was diverted to go under the railway line!

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After some easy road walking (3 on the map) the waterfall soon came into view

P1030540and at the Brekkefossen sign I left the road. The path was quite easy and even at first but became rough, muddy and steeper. I met a lady who had got so far up, but explained that she didn’t feel up to it having previously had ankle injuries. I got quite quite high up as shown in the photograph but views were restricted by the trees. Two young ladies were descending and confirmed that views from the top were no better and the path got even steeper.

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I decided to descend, somewhat disappointed. There were steep inclines at the side of the path and I didn’t want to end up in hospital or worse. It was also slippy. Fortunately, I had brought my trekking pole. Further down I met a family from California. who were descending.

A blonde lady from Holland (they are usually Norwegian) appeared at a sharp bend and headed off right descending to a grassy meadow area. She seemed to know where she was going so I followed her. A magnificent viewpoint emerged at the base of the waterfall. I had missed this on the ascent and there were no viewpoint signs. I wonder how many people miss this magnificent viewpoint?

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There were views back along Flamsdalen towards our ship.

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And along the valley.

See slideshow. A train passed along. Can you spot it?

 

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This made the hard climb all worthwhile. When Norwegians say it is a moderate walk, bank on a steep hill! However, a young Norwegian couple were clearly going to the very top of the mountain. Easy peasy for the superfit.

I met  a number of people coming up as I was descending and their question was ‘how much further?’. I tried to encourage them to keep going, but to watch out for the descending grassy viewpoint area.

On reaching the road I turned right towards  a bridge marked on the map only to find it under repair following damage by extensive floods in recent years. I continued further along to a Dutch family who were sat around their motorhomes. One motorhome was a  40 years old Dutch one and very unusual. They did not know if I could get to Flam village where there was another bridge.

I was off the map!

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Eventually I found a bridge and crossed over. It was now warm, but I had a water bottle.

I then followed the quiet road alongside the railway line back down the valley.

Soon I came across some raspberries, which were for sale at the end of someones drive. 30 krona (about £3) which was very reasonable for Norway (I had already eaten a few before the picture was taken). I also found a wool and gift shop selling homemade ice cream.

Both were absolutely delicious.

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The views were gorgeous in the sunlight.

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I came across some unusual walkways, which were damaged last time I passed here in September 2014 on a Great Railway Journey holiday.

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I saw Celia’s train heading out at midday and she saw me. My activities were coming to an end and hers were just beginning.

I passed the lovely hotel, The Fretheim, which was built by English salmon fishermen in the 19th Century and I stayed there in September 2014.

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I do not normally add my photographs of previous trips, but have  included two I took in 2014,  one of which adorns our lounge wall at home.

Such wonderful memories.

Dawn

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Nightime.

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Miles Walked 6.2

PS Celia did return from her bike ride, but I didn’t see her as she must have been going too fast downhill!!

 

 

 

 

Kate and William attend British Night, Europe’s Highest Sea Cliff, Reflections.

Post 166: 2/3 August 2017, Cruising to Flam (pronounced Flom)

Leaving Olden for Flam along Invikkfjorden and then Nordfjord we passed Hornelen Europe’s highest sea cliff at 860 metres (2,820 feet). There was a build up of cliffs before then.

 

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It was time to party on British night after an exhilarating day. It was good that we had some special guests on board. William and Kate and of course Sid the Yorkshireman and Carol in her union jack tights.

Get a glass of wine or a G&T and enjoy the slideshows and the Show!!!!

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The Show

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Early next day, after sunrise at 5.11am, we sailed through the broad Sognefjorden and into the much narrower and beautiful Aurlandsfjorden. Another late night and early morning!

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As we got nearer Aurland and Flam the reflections got better.

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Arrival in Flam and moved over again by a larger ship. Another tender landing.

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Miles Walked 0 other than around deck 

The Best Mile Walk I had ever done. Over the Edge and the Lady in Red at the end, Fab-u-lous.

Post 165: 2 August 2017, Olden and the Hoven Loen Skylift. 

Having taken some photographs from the restaurant viewing point area I carried on up a well defined path to a cairn. There were few people about.

Seeing sheep reminded me of Yorkshire, but these had bells on!

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Just after the cairn a Norwegian couple came along with their 87 year old mother from Oslo. To say Norwegians are fit is an understatement. A bit further on she turned round and decided to descend on her own on what was a steep path down and then up at the end to the restaurant. The views were fab-u-lous.

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Some glacial boulders looked as though they would roll if pushed down the mountain and some snow appeared.

I now had a summit in sight and I wanted to know what was on the other side and so carried on climbing. Reaching the summit the vegetation was interesting.

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The views on the other side of the summit were impressive too. A volcanic plug?

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It was now time to head down again and see if my wife had finished her coffee!

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I arrived back at the cable car.

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And then watched someone make a quicker descent than I would!

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Meanwhile Celia and some cruise friends were enjoying their coffee, chat and view. I wonder if they thought I was a bit anti-social?! But who wouldn’t be for the views I had just seen?

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THE BEST MILE I HAD EVER WALKED! SO MUCH IN SO SHORT A WALK.

I WAS NOW AT OVER 3,500 FEET THE HIGHEST I HAD EVER BEEN. 

IT HAD TAKEN ME 65 YEARS TO GET THERE.

ENOUGH TO BRING ME TO TEARS. 

I then met a couple who had spent 3.5 hours coming up the Via Ferrata which is near the cable car. Thats another story. But the bridge alone is enough to put me off, not to mention the near vertical climb clipped onto steel rope.

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To see my descent in the cable car watch the 5 minute video on You Tube (search on my name David Maughan) or on Facebook:

OVER THE EDGE AND AT THE END A LADY IN RED.

I finished the day with a mile walk around Olden

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Miles Walked: Only 2!