Stay away from the edge
21st August 2018
Where are we? Preikestolen, Norway
When we were first thinking about a trip to Norway and doing our research on ‘things to do’ there was one place that made the adventurous heart of our family (Jessica) say, ‘We have GOT to go there’. That place was Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). My reaction was not quite the same as just looking at pictures of it made me feel nervous but I new that we would visit it. So, two years later and the time was just about upon us, the weather had been checked and there was a window of non-rainy days so it was now or never. We got to the closest campsite and thought we would give ourselves a day to prepare and take it easy so we spent a day hanging out, resting, playing frisbee and getting organised. We had heard that there are quite a lot of people who had seen the same pictures as us and had the same thought as us so we knew it would be quite a busy rock so our plan was to get up as early as possible to beat the crowds. We set our alarms for 4.30am and although it was tough we all managed to bounce out of bed and since Jess had got everything organised last night none of us needed to use our brains too much, we just had to eat breakfast, get dressed and go. We were at the deserted car park at 5.30 and on our way. The sun was not due to rise for another half hour or so which meant we were still in the gloomy light and cool air of early morning and there was literally not another soul in sight. Normally when reading about walks in Norway if there are the words ‘constructed by Sherpas’ in the description then you know you are in for some ridiculously difficult climb with stone steps literally on the side of a mountain so the fact that this term was used to describe the hike to Preikestolen made me think of this. But thankfully in this case they were just used to make a path that would make the walk as easy as possible for the hordes of tourists, such as ourselves, that want to say, ‘we did it’. So the hike itself was one of the easier ones we have done although Tim had a bad leg and had to take it a bit slower so we all went at our own pace. We saw a few tents along the way which we thought would be an awesome thing to do, another thing to put on our list for ‘next time’. And it was only in the last 30 minutes or so of our hike that we saw a few other people who had also set off early so we were hopeful that the rock itself would be quite empty. The walk had mostly been straightforward but as we got closer there were one or two spots where it was a bit more nerve tingling until finally, we were there. It seemed smaller in reality than in photos but there were less than 20 people there so we were pretty happy that we had made the early start. The size of it did not in any way take away from the dramatic scale of the viewpoint, knowing that over the edge on 3 sides was a drop of 600 metres to the fjord below kept us all very central to start with but we gradually became a bit more adventurous. I walked as close as I dared to the edge, which was closer on my own than I felt comfortable going while holding one of the girl’s hands. I think that having to keep hold of them made my nerves even more on edge, so I quickly retreated back to the middle. Jess is a bit more daring than I am so she got close to the edge and even held on to Ruby and Allegra by the feet as they lay on their stomachs and looked over the side, I could not even watch as this happened. Jess also leaned over herself and took some photos and Tim and Jeni, who had arrived a little while after us, also went near to the edge. Lily and Olivia are cut from the same cloth as me and stayed mostly on safer ground. We ate some celebratory chocolate and snacks, took some obligatory photos and did some drone filming and then headed back down. This was only about 8.30am but it quickly became apparent that we had made an excellent decision to go early because there was a constant stream of people coming in the opposite direction, I dread to think how busy it would get and how much that would have spoilt our experience, not to mention how much my nerves would have been increased by any feeling of congestion. We made it back down slowly and safely to a car park now overflowing with cars, buses and people and then all we had to do was go back to the campsite, pack up our tent and move on to our next stop.
What have we learned? When doing what is probably a once in a lifetime experience, it is worth getting up early so that it can be really enjoyed.