Day 214. Ulvsund Fyr lighthouse to Gulestøa in Bremanger

Posted by: James on August 2, 2009

Distance 36km | Time 7.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 214.1 The town of Maloy on the west side of Uvlsund was a fishing and shipping communityIt was a slow start this morning as breakfast was not until 0900. When it arrived at 0900 it was worth waiting for. In addition to all the fresh bread and homemade jams there was also smoked salmon and scrambled egg. There were 8 guests in all and it was a long sociable chatty breakfast.

I did not start packing up until 1030 and by the time I had said my goodbyes and packed the boat it was 1200. I had enjoyed the stay here at Ulvsund fyr; it was a friendly easy going place.

Initially I paddled south down Ulvsund sound for some 8 km until I reached the town of Maloy. There was a bit of industry down each side of the sound especially on the west side at the village of Raudeberg, where there was a large trawler repair workshop with about 8 trawlers tied up and 2 more in a huge shed.

Maloy itself seemed to be a town of at least 5000 people. It had a number of industries but again fishing seemed to be the main one. A few shipping lines had wharfs and offices here like Green Reefers and Norlines. A lot of the older shipping wharfs were starting to fall into disrepair.

I could not really work the tide out at all and could not see if it was flowing of ebbing. It seemed to be against me and then with me as I went under the bridge which did not make sense.

When I reached Nordfjord I turned east up the fjord. Nordfjord is a very long narrow fjord which goes from the coast and follows a deep slot for some 125 km into the heart of the glaciated mountains. I had to cross it from Maloy to the south side passing a couple of islands in the fjord. This crossing was also part of the coastal shipping lane and 3 ships chugged past me here.

Day 214.2 Heading up Nordfjord to Rugsundoy island and the mountain of HornelenAs I paddled across the water the classic views and landscapes one associates with the fjord region unfolded. There were very high steep mountains on each side of the fjord. These craggy grey mountains had lower slopes which were covered in birch forest and grass. Here and there were small wispy waterfalls.

This became even more so when I reached Rugsundoy island. On the south side of the fjord was a mountain called Hornelen which rose almost vertically from the fjord for 800 metres.

I paddled between Rugsundoy island and this looming precipice for a few kilometers with the tide helping me along and giving me an extra 2 km per hour. I could still not work out if it was rising or falling, which meant flowing into Nordfjord or draining from it past this island in into another branch out to the sea. I was heading for this branch myself and hoped the current would carry me down the branch and out into Froysjoen. As I paddled down under the very impressive Hornelen it started to rain but it was very calm.

Day 214.3 Looking back up Froysjoen to the grey mountains and the peak of HornelenWhen I reached the branch south to Froysjoen I took it and paddled through a very grey landscape. It had not been long since the ice sheets and glaciers withdrew from here and virtually no soil or vegetation had accumulated since it retreated. The whole landscape was precipitous grey ice-scoured rock except for a few estuaries where tumbling rivers carried some silt down.

Two of these estuaries were Vingen and Vingelva. Here hemmed in by the fjord were two green oases in the grey rock. On each of them was an isolated farm with no access other than boat on the fjord. Both farms were surely just summer houses now and it would have been few decades since the hay here was cut. Some 250 to 150 years ago Norway’s population grew and people were forced to come to such places and clear the land and try and sustain themselves.

Remarkably beside Vingen farm is one of the largest collections of rock carvings in Norway, with about 1500 figures. They are called Helleristnings. They were made by stone age hunter gatherers some 4000 to 6000 years ago. The motifs are of deer, humans and some abstracts. Unfortunately I did not go over the fjord to see them, as time was always pressing.

Day 214.4 The isolated community at Hennoystranda had 5 farms and just 2 km of roadI paddled down the deep grey fjord to the island of Hennoy. Here there was a hamlet of some 4-5 farms which like Vingen and Vingelva just along the coast were hemmed in by fjord and mountain. There was an isolated section of road of about 2 km along the shore connecting the farms but leading nowhere else. I saw an old tractor driving along it. All the fields had high ungrazed and uncut grass so I suspect that all 5 farms and the associated cabins were just summer leisure homes now. It was an isolated but idyllic spot.

Day 214.5 A pause on the beach looking north east back up Froysjoen past Hennoystranda hamletIt was too early to stop here so I decided to continue to south west down Froysjoen and at least cross the side fjord called Gulen. It did not take long with a slight back wind but I could now see the tide was slightly against me as it was flooding up Froysjoen. As I crossed Gulen the wind went from force two from the north east to force four from the south west and the last two km were slow.

All the way down Froysjoen I had seen very few places to camp so when I reach Gulestøa I was reluctant to continue for fear of not finding anything for many kilometers. The trouble was Gulestøa was perfect but any campspot would encroach onto the farms privacy. I decided to go and ask.

Day 214.6 The lovely old cabin Johanna Gulesto let me use at GulestoaJohanna Gulestø opened the door before I reached the house. I asked her if I could camp and she said I could use a cabin. She took me down and showed it to me. It was better than perfect. She put the heating on and made it warm and comfortable. She said a couple of other kayakers had used it a week before – two very wet Swedish girls. It turned out it was Evelyn and Klara. It’s a small world. They said Johanna was an Angel without wings and I would have to agree.

Johanna Gulestø had three grown up sons and they used the cabin occasionally. She had just lost her 70 year old husband a year ago. The cabin was old and traditional. Inside were pictures of the Gulestø family and farm going back at least 100 years. It is not surprising Norwegians are so patriotic when they have such a sense of belonging to a place.

I wrote the blog in comfort while the rain poured outside, had supper and a shower and then used the comfortable bed and cotton bedding the girls used a week before.

It had been a very good day. The kayaking got more impressive as I left Ulvsund and Maloy. The weather was mostly OK and the cabin at the end was just the icing on the cake, if not the cake itself. God bless Johanna Gulestø.

2 Responses to “Day 214. Ulvsund Fyr lighthouse to Gulestøa in Bremanger”

  1. Sølvi Hopland Aemmer Says:

    Hello, James,
    today I had time to check your blog and see how far you got yesterday. It was nice to read that you enjoyed your stay by us so much. Sounds like you were really lucky with the stay in Gulastø! And the weather seems like it is more on your side than it was the day you arrived Ulvesund Fyr.
    As I said to you as you checked out, it was very nice to have you here. It made everybody talk to everybody, and was one of the nicest evenings together with guests this summer. Thank you for your open and extravert attitude.

    One thing: I saw you have written the name of the lighthouse wrong. If you correct “Ulvsund Fyr” to “Ulvesund Fyr”, your blog can be found when people google for Ulvesund Fyr. Also, it is nice for us if people who follow your blog, find us. 🙂

    Interesting also to read you impression of Måløy. 🙂 I agree with you; it is much industry that takes away some beaty.

    I will follow your blog in between, and show it to my husband when he comes home from Switzerland!

    I and the rest of the lighthouse team wish you a good summer, a good trip further and welcome back to Ulvesund Fyr!

    Best regards,
    Sølvi Hopland Aemmer

  2. Terje Gulestø Says:

    Hello James – the great eventure!

    My mom wish to thank you – for your visite her in Gulestøa.
    Nice of you to present our sweet home. I wish you a pleasant journey down to the Sørlandet:-)
    Best regards from Terje – one of the three brothers:-)