Monday, 2 July 2018

Lofoten. Into the troll's den

It's a long way to the Lofotens. I'd wanted to go for a long time, but struggled with the logistics. John was keen on seeing them too, but had only limited time available from his work. After much humming and hawing I decided to drive there, with John flying in to join me. On the 6th day of driving from Scotland, rather tired and a bit fed up of trees, I crossed the Arctic Circle. 

A while later I arrived in Skutvik, to catch the ferry to Svolvaer, capital of the Lofotens. Skutvik is pretty but very quiet. My kind of town, really.

John flew in the following morning. It was already clear that the weather wasn't going to allow for our plan A of a big circumnavigation, so we warmed up with a day paddle from our rather convenient campsite to the settlement of Henningsvaer.

One of the biggest industries in the area is production of dried fish. Thousands of cod are strung up to dry, making an approach to town from downwind a bit unpleasant.  I tried a bit of the end product, but won't be doing so again.

With an indifferent forecast we set off for a 3 day tour to the Trollfjord. Lofoten peaks seem to drop straight into the sea, and finding places to camp is not easy. The shores are steep and rough, and in this area covered in low birch trees, Despite the abundance of water on the mountains, streams and burns often seemed to vanish before reaching the sea.

There are also lots of cabins and houses along the shores, I guess dating from the not too distant past when road access was a complete irrelevance to the way of life here. This particularly delightful cabin was on a 50m river between an inland loch and the sea.

As we approached the Trollfjord, a sign warned of grumpy trolls throwing rocks at seafarers.

Leaving the fjord, we embarked on a long hunt for a campsite. We were using Jann Engstad's guidebook, and he suggested good camping at the end of another 3km long fjord. There was none. When we returned to Svolvaer I was sorely tempted to knock on his door and complain, since he lives close to the campsite.

We had a bit of a fright when we thought we had spotted a troll, but it turned out to be an inquisitive sheep.

When we finally did find a campsite, close to some empty houses, it was even more alarming to find troll footprints. Adult trolls have 4 toes, so we decided that this must be a youngster, and made camp despite them.

Our last day took us back to base, with a decision to make on what to do next.

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