Disturbing the peace
24th July 2018
Where are we? Alvund, Norway
There are well oiled machines that would break out into fits of laughter at our ability to get moving some mornings. Today was one of those mornings. True, we did not have to rush off anywhere but we did have a large hill/small mountain we wanted to climb. We needed the weather to be on our side though and the day hadn’t started off too promisingly as we could not see the top of the hill we wanted to climb as it was still in the clouds. So we went for the leisurely/disorganised start to the day, the type where there always seems to be one more thing to do before we can actually get moving. We needed to pick up some supplies for our lunch so the main thing on the agenda for the morning was to go to the shops. It would have been very simple and easy if just one of us had gone, almost too simple and easy. So all of us had to go which meant getting everyone on the bikes and locking, unlocking and re-locking the van at least once and then all riding to the shops together to pick up a few things before coming back to the van and getting ready to set off on our walk. And of course locking, unlocking and re-locking the van at least once more. Although we are quite near the base of the hill we are not right at the starting point for the hike up so that was a gentle 2km walk, during which we saw a couple of deer frolicking in the fields, before we even started going upwards but we reached the starting point full of optimism, after all we have climbed hills before, we have even made it to the top of Snowdon. About 200 metres of vertical walking later and Jess and I were huffing and puffing and svitzing like putzes, Norwegian hills are pretty harsh. Plus the ground was quite damp and the path (a very generous description of what we were walking on) dodged its way around the pine trees at a very steep gradient without even any little areas where it flattened out. Olivia was skipping like a mountain goat and Allegra and Ruby were keeping up, they were the three who weren’t carrying any bags while Lily, Jess and I were laden with all the ‘just-in-cases’ we didn’t need to bring on a mountain walk as well as the food. So it was slow going. We made it to the first rest point on the way and could finally sit for a few minutes to refresh but we needed to crack on so that was all. We were starting to get hungry as it was past lunchtime and the fudge we had eaten for energy was only going to get us so far so when we spied an old cabin with stones around about it looked like a good place to stop and have some lunch. So we found a spot on the rocks to sit down only to realise that the spot was already taken as two common adders hissed at Ruby. So maybe not such a good spot for lunch after all. Then we started arguing as Jess tried to explain to Ruby that there was no need to be afraid of snakes and Ruby’s adrenaline and generally argumentative nature causing her to not really listen and the rest of us joining in so we were really disturbing the serenity of this mountain. Things escalated quite quickly (although we managed to do all this while setting a cracking pace) and I heard snippets like ‘respect’, don’t care’, ‘Donald Trump and ‘its all your fault’ before finally we were a man down. One of our team lost it and stormed off from the group. I’m not going to name names as I don’t want to embarrass anyone but 50 metres further up the hill I told the girls to wait while I went and got Jess to come back with us all, a big group hug mostly healed the anger although we did have a few references to Shirley Valentine through the rest of the day. A little further on we came to an intersection where we could sit on a rock and eat our lunch. We also had a decision to make; there are two peaks we could choose from, one which was 500m away and one which was 2.5km. The further one was the higher peak but unfortunately this had been in clouds all day so we feared the view would not be worth the extra effort involved so we chose the lower option. This still gave us a spectacular view of two fjords and a completely different perspective of the area surrounding us from that at sea level. We stood close (but not too close) to the edge, got some footage with our drone and took a few selfies before we started our descent. Due to the dampness on the walk up most of us had wet shoes and socks and with the slippery ground and the steepness of the hill it was quite a tricky walk down but apart from a couple of small slips we all made it safely. It was a good 6.5 hour round trip walk so it is fair to say we were all sore and stiff and basically just completely knackered when we made it back to the van. Welcome to hiking, Norway style!
What have we learned? If your children have zip off trousers and they zip them off, make sure they put the legs into a bag or you could end up with one trouser leg somewhere on a hill in Norway.