#181 – Norway trip

“To Noroway, Far Noroway, to Noroway o’er the foam ….”                                 (The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens)

The author in Norway 1977 as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines

The author in Norway 1977 as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines

Royal Marines ski patrol at Okstinden, not far from the Swedish Border – 1977

Royal Marines ski patrol at Okstinden, not far from the Swedish Border – 1977

I hadn’t been to Norway since 1978. In the 1970’s I was a member of 45 Commando Royal Marines, which was at that time the only British military unit to train primarily for ‘Mountain and Arctic Warfare’.   I loved it, and did three winters out there, but hadn’t been back since – a return trip was long overdue, but the grandiose plan to do a ‘top to bottom’ trip of Norway was abandoned when we measured the mileage!    So, this trip was going to concentrate on the south.

Skeikampen - 1123 metres (3684 ft)

Skeikampen – 1123 metres (3684 ft)

“Come on then – we haven’t got all day!”

“Come on then – we haven’t got all day!”

Setting out for Skeikampen

Setting out for Skeikampen

Looking up the ski pistes ….

Looking up the ski pistes ….

…. and looking down

…. and looking down

An excursion into Sweden to visit Chris’s daughter lined us up nicely for Lillehammer, which was the setting for the 1994 Winter Olympics.   As with many ski areas in the Alps, the pistes often become mountain walks in the summer months.  Skeikampen with an altitude of 1123 metres (3684 ft) had a good write up for a walk, which is why we were there on a misty, moisty morning in July.

Chris near the summit

Chris near the summit

The author and Border Collie ‘Mist’ at the summit

The author and Border Collie ‘Mist’ at the summit

On the plateau

On the plateau

On the return leg below the cliffs of Skeikampen

On the return leg below the cliffs of Skeikampen

Looking up towards the summit

Looking up towards the summit

Heading back

Heading back

The mountains in this part of Norway are very much like the Scottish Highlands, and none the worse for that.    We took the ‘full frontal’ approach to Skeikampen, getting the height gain over and done with.    From the top it was a gradual descent on a plateau, finishing up under the fierce looking cliffs that guard the east side of the mountain.   With the mist coming and going, it was very Scottish in flavour, but this was only the starter – the main course was a couple of days away.

Lemonsjøen Lake in Jotunheimen

Lemonsjøen Lake in Jotunheimen

Weather front starting to move in

Weather front starting to move in

Gjende Lake from Gjendesheim – Besseggen Ridge on the right

Gjende Lake from Gjendesheim – Besseggen Ridge on the right

One of the main mountain areas in South Norway is the Jotunheimen, with Norway’s highest mountain Galdhøpiggen at 2469 metres (8,100 ft), but far more attractive to me was the classic Besseggen Ridge.   We drove the mountain road from Lom to the start point at Gendesheim in warm, sunny conditions, but by the afternoon there was clear evidence of a weather front moving in

Besshøe (2258 metres) left of centre with the Besseggen Ridge right of centre

Besshøe (2258 metres) left of centre with the Besseggen Ridge right of centre

Closer view of the Besseggen Ridge with Besshøe ( the snowy peak) on the left

Closer view of the Besseggen Ridge with Besshøe ( the snowy peak) on the left

The plan was to go for an early start, taking a boat to the start point at Memurubu.   The rain beating down on the roof of the campervan overnight told a different tale with the possibility of a lie-in and a later boat trip, but the view from the van when we lowered the blinds left little doubt that the trip wasn’t a ‘goer’ – Snow!    In July?!!

The view the next day!

The view the next day!

Oh well, it looked as though the Besseggen trip was off the menu for this year, but it’s been there for several thousand years, so I might be able to fit in a return trip.   Without the snow next time!

The Besseggen Ridge on a better day

The Besseggen Ridge on a better day

Looking back down the Besseggen Ridge

Looking back down the Besseggen Ridge

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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9 Responses to #181 – Norway trip

  1. Wonderful! We also visited Lillehammer when we were there and, like you, also discovered that we couldn’t get anywhere near as far north as we wanted due to the mileage plus time constraints! Hoping for a return trip sometime…

  2. That Besseggen Ridge looks amazing Paul…you must have had a good time there!

  3. Pete Buckley says:

    Went a couple of times to the Sogndal area and once to Oslo. Did Galdhopiggen and Fannaraki (near Turtagro) but Besseggen looks an awesome trek. Reading this makes me want to go again too – just a shame the Bergen ferry stopped running as it was a nice trip. Great post.

  4. That Bessegger ridge looks incredible! There was still plenty of snow in July in Scotland – including hailing and snowing some more when we were on Skye!
    Carol.

    • Hopefuly I’ll be back for Besseggen! Bearing in mind the latitude we were at, it shouldn’t have been a surpise to wake up to fresh snow – the irony is that I have a mate who lives in Hammerfest which is about 1800kms to the north at the very top of Norway, and he was enjoying a heat wave!

      • Didn’t know there was a place called ‘Hammerfest’ – I often go to a rock festival called that – it’s all thrash metal and so on so I doubt you’d like it!

        BTW – just put a couple more Skye Cuillin posts out, don’t know if you’ve seen them…

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