Canoes and Train Bikes
24th August 2018
Where are we? Flekkefjord, Norway
Four thirty in the morning starts have a knock on effect on the following days. So arriving at our next campsite we spent a day and a half doing nothing. I say doing nothing but obviously the twins spent as much time as possible bouncing up and down on the trampoline as they possibly could because they have boundless energy. There was an inverse relationship between how much energy each of us had and our age, so the twins didn’t stop, Ruby had bursts of activity and so did Lily although less so. Jess, Jeni, Tim and I though, spent quite a bit of time lying down not doing a great deal. But we did recover and the realisation that there was not long left on our trip gave us the inspiration to get moving, that and the fact we had a couple of days of good weather to take advantage of. One of the things we wanted to do a bit of on our trip was to use our inflatable kayaks and get out on the water but we haven’t done that as much as we hoped. There are a few reasons for this, being in the right place at the right time with the right weather mostly but it is what it is. So given that our campsite is on a lake and the weather is good and there is nothing better to do that was our goal. So a picnic was prepared and the boats inflated and so that we had enough crafts to transport us all a pedalo was hired. We had Jess and me in one kayak, Tim and Jeni in another and the girls all on a pedalo and we set off looking for a place to pull up and have lunch. The water was calm and there was little wind so we had our most successful paddle of all our attempts and we found a small island, not much more than a rock really, that seemed like as good a place as any to have our lunch. After our lunch we wanted to do some more kayaking and as there was a big island just next to our little rock we decided to circumnavigate this, Jess and I in one direction and the rest in the opposite direction. We did about two thirds of a lap before meeting up and since they all wanted to do a full circuit we turned around and went with them before making our way back to our dock. Almost a couple of hours on the water which was exactly the sort of thing we had in mind when we bought the kayaks so we were pretty happy that we had finally got to do it. The next day we decided to go for something completely different and take a ride on a train bike. This is pretty much as it sounds, there is a stretch of train track, disused it must be stressed, that winds its way around some lakes and through some tunnels and you can hire a contraption that is basically a tandem bike mounted on a platform connected to some train wheels and you pedal away and off you go. So a couple of these were hired, with each having another couple of seats for passengers, and we set off. Describing the effort required makes it sound like quite a breeze but there was quite a climb on the track in places and the ‘bikes’ were pretty basic with no gears or anything to make it easier so it was just leg power that kept us going, luckily the novelty of it made everyone want to have a go so we swapped around a few times which gave all our legs a bit of a rest. Going through the tunnels was a strange sensation as some of them were over a kilometre long and we were in complete darkness apart from a bit of light given off by some head torches that were supplied. There was a real chill inside them as well and the noise of the wheels on the tracks just echoed all around and all you could do was keep pedalling away. It was like something out of a 60s or 70s film like Willy Wonka where we were riding our magic bike and being transported back to Dickensian London. At least that is how it felt to me, I think all the pedalling effort was making me delirious. Or hallucinate. We did hit a downhill stretch and that was a whole lot easier and we eventually came to a spot where we could stop and have some lunch next to a lake. Our timing was not perfect though as no sooner had we sat down and got everything out than it started to rain. Not heavily but just enough to be annoying although luckily it didn’t last too long. We had to head back which meant starting off with an uphill stretch again which no one was looking forward to but we just kept our heads down and pedalled as hard as we could. We stopped on the way to do some drone filming but mostly we just wanted to get back, it was a 30km round trip with a fair amount of effort involved so we were all pretty worn out.
What have we learned? There is a change of feeling from the start of a big trip to the end. At the start it is that ‘we can do anything we want’ and time is our friend but now it is ‘did we do everything we wanted’ and there is a real end of season feeling to it all.