I would like to thank everybody who has donated or made promises of donations to help build schools in Limi valley so the kids dont have to sit on sacks or cardboard on cold earth floor.
It is not too late to donate and you can join the list of generous people by clicking the donate tab above or send me an email with a pledge and we can sort something out. Will I take it personally if you don’t donate? Probably.
There have been some very generous donations and it is not necessary to match them as it is the thought which counts. So even a handful of dollars will be highly appreciated.
Throughout this trip I have had the pleasure of some exceptional Norwegian hospitality in addition to the wonderful and pristine nature which I have had the privilege to experience.
I would especially like to thank.
• Solbjørg Kvålshaugen of Fondsbu for the respite when I was feeling low.
• Lars-Erik Stover for the warm evening at Glomos.
• Elizabeth Green of Skalstugan for giving me shelter and food in a snowstorm.
• Steinar Gaundal of Gaundal for his exceptional hospitality and the scooter tracks and food.
• Bjorn and Regina Klauer for the stay at Innset.
• The unforgettable Ivar Olsen of Tromso for the stories and the hjemmebrent
• Peder Janssen of Bekkarfjord for the meal and evening with his family.
• Stein Are Ulvang and Kimek in Kirkenes for being exceptionally useful with the kayak
• James Roe at Grense Jakobselv for helping me out with kayak transport
• The Berlevag male choir for the hearty applause.
• Astor of Maasoy island for the seagulls eggs, the Lagavulin and the light-hearted evening in his home.
• The Bergly sisters at Hakkstabben for the great meal and warm bed.
• The very nice couple who ran the shop at Bergsfjord and gave me shelter for two nights.
• Frank and Ida Naess at Russelv for taking me into their home for two days at Russelv on Lyngen.
• Bjorn of Bjornskajakk in Tromso for fixing my rudder and helping me out throughout my time in the north.
• Arve and Dagmar Johansen of Lavangsnes for a great meal with the family.
• Evelynn Brattström and Klara Jansson, Sisters-in-Arms for solidarity.
• William Pedersen and Bent and Inge Skauen at Husvaer for hospitality and helping me repair the kayak
• Colin and Karen Bruce for the new equipment and some great food at Magnillen
• Frederik and Sissel Johansen for a great evening on Averoy
• Johanna Gulestø for letting me sleep in a great cabin on her farm at Gulestøa.
• Richard Lennox for a great meal and a balcony to crash on in Askvoll
• The entire Amundsen family for hospitality, food, great company and good humour and much more including my Brother-in-Arms Tom Amundsen
• Jan and Gunn Eide of Ystebo for giving me shelter from the storm and a great evening
• Simen Phil at Lindesnes for the use of the lighthouse facilities and good humour
• Rita at Ryvingen Fyr for the bed and the meal at her lighthouse
• Ingrid Bibow for spoiling her ex son in law on Aroy island by Kragero
• Jon Westgaard, a Brother-in-Arms, for his previous laidback company up north around Varangerfjord
• Reidun Berg and Roy Myrlund of Nevlunghavn for the company, great meal and eventual photographs.
I would also like to thank the Support Team of Hartmut Liste and Oyvind Jorfald for taking their role seriously, sorting out the customs duty, paying the phone bills, posting and receiving numerous packages and organizing a great welcome committee complete with bagpipes.
I would also like to thank Dave Felton at Tiderace for going out of his way to sort out any problems.
I would also like to thank Richard Cross and Paul Clough for all the advice and work they have put in to maintain and repair the website, and the hours they gave up to bail me out when things went wrong.
Finally before I leave this wonderful country as ‘Norgesvenn’ I would like to thank Norway in general.
It was easy to get up on this last day. The light was streaming into the small cabin and I could see it was a beautiful day outside as per the forecast. When I opened the door and looked across Sandspollen it was mirror calm. There were about 40-50 boats moored here on this Saturday night with most of them being yachts. All was very quiet and the boats were still and motionless on top of their reflections.
I had a small breakfast, swept out the lovely old cabin and then packed up the boat and launched it. Before I started paddling for the day I capsized a couple of times to practice my roll with the laden kayak. I had not had the need or desire to roll at anytime during the trip although was prepared on a few occasions. I just did a Pawlata roll as the kayak had about 70 kilos in it. One could roll an oil tanker with the Pawlata technique.
With the only ripples in Sandspollen being from my rolls I set of at 0800 for the short paddle up the fjord. It was a perfect day with a few clouds in the otherwise blue skies. Pretty soon I had paddled up Vestfjord on the west side of Haoya island and was level with the north of it. Occasionally where there was a stake in the water I could see there was a very slight tide against me as the large basin of Inner Oslofjord was falling about 50 cm to equalize with the level in the Outer Oslofjord.
I carried on up with the large peninsula of Nesodden on the east and the small rural towns in Royken and Asker on the west. Once I had paddled for a couple of hours I could pick out the dark green pine clad islands in the north of the Oslofjord, and soon after some of Oslo city started to unfold from behind Nesodden. It was now about 1100 and the fjord was coming to life with sailing boats emerging from many marinas around the coastline to take advantage of one of the last of the summer days to enjoy the weather.
There can be few cities in the world which have the same situation as Oslo. It is situated in a big arch around the north of the fjord. In front of it is this vast basin of inner Oslofjord with its peninsulas and islands many of which are still quite rural. It is an aquatic paradise for sailors and leisure boats. If this was not enough then beyond the arc of the city to the west, north and east are rolling hills and crags covered in pine and spruce. These forests extend for many tens of kilometers in each direction and are peppered with lakes. There are networks of paths through these forests with cabins for summer walking and winter skiing. It is a terrestrial paradise for ramblers, fisherman and berry pickers.
I paddled passed the cement towers at Slemmerstad and then the quaint town of Vollen. I passed a couple of boats fishing and chatted with them with them for a while before finally coming to Bjerkoya island. This island lies just to the south of Konglung peninsula and it remains very rural with a scattering of cabins through the pine clad island. I still had an hour and a half until 1400, with just 10 minutes to paddle.
I had some lunch in the kayak in the glourious sunshine on this still virtually wind still day. I then practiced a few more rolls. On the first my hand and paddle got caught in the control rope for the Smarttrack rudder. Yet another design flaw. The roll failed but the next succeeded. With about half an hour to go the phone went. It was Hartmut and Oyvind on the hunt for me.
I paddled up to the east end of Bjerkoya when a boat appeared with about 6 people on it. It was the advance party of the welcome committee and the support team of Oyvind and Hartmut. There was even Josie and husband Hjalti on the boat. There was a bit of banter and I showed off with a roll before the boat disappeared north to Konglungbrua.
I then waited for 10 minutes. I was a bit nervous as I knew there was a crowd at the bridge and a reporter and some photographers. I was used to a life of watching the winter snows accumulate and melt, a spring of observing the leaves unfold and a summer of watching the eider ducklings grow. I would be sad to leave it. I would soon pass to a totally different busy, fast moving, metropolitan life where I would probably not be as content. The welcome committee, where I would initially be the centre of attention, and the symbolic Konglungbrua bridge, would be the rite de passage.
At 1355 with half a km to go I braced myself and took the first paddle strokes towards the final paddle strokes. With about 250 metres to go I heard something familiar yet inexplicable. It was my favourite bagpipe tune which my friend on the Isle of Skye, Johnathan Macdonald, used to play on many a rowdy night when I lived there some 15-18 years ago. It was being played as expertly as Johnathan would play it so I thought it was a recording and then I saw a piper. I was sure it was Johnathan.
I could see about 30 people on the bridge and a large Scots flags and the piper standing nearby. I took a photo and paddled on. I did not feel emotional but a bit nervous. I paddled up to the bridge paused a bit and then went under. There was a kayaker waiting here, Knut Jorfald, who was Oyvinds’ brother. I chatted with him and then with the crowd on the bridge cheering I prepared to roll. I had to get it out of the way and it would have been embarrassing to fail. It went smoothly and soon the 70 kg ballast in the boat was settled back below the waterline.
I then chatted with a few people from below the bridge. There was an extraordinary coincidence when I was reunited with my hat I lost yesterday on the wave washed beach near Tofte yesterday. The guy I chatted with on the beach yesterday and gave my website address to dropped it from the parapet. It had washed up later in the afternoon yesterday and he had looked at my website and found I was finishing here. He then drove up to deliver it. Such is Norway.
I then went back under the bridge again and had more time and composure to recognize many of the faces. James and Karoline and family, Ole Bjorasen, Roy Myrlund from Nevlunghavn a week ago and about 25 people I did not recognize.
Suddenly there was a lady barking questions from the bank. They were the caricature questions a journalist would ask. What are you feeling right now? What was the most dangerous moment? I was quite short with her and paddled off at the first opportunity.
I went under the bridge, chatted with Knut again and then paddled off and beached the kayak 100 metres north of the bridge on Hartmuts’ very narrow strip of shore. I then went back up to chat to everyone on the bridge and put familiar names to the faces like Ragnvald Jacobsen whom I had heard so much about. There was champagne in flutes, more bagpipes and cameras galore. I felt a bit self conscious. Luckily nobody shouted ‘speech’. I had a go on the bagpipes and managed to get the right sound out of them but no tune on the chanter.
After a good 20 minutes everybody slowly started to drift up the lane to Hartmuts’ old and traditional wooden house where there was more champagne and food. Hartmut is an excellent cook and a charming host. As everybody mingled around he took the onus off me to be the introducing host by serving large bowls of couscous salads, curried meatballs and cocktail items. Soon everybody was eating and mingling while the 10 odd kids looked after themselves.
Everybody had cars parked as Konglung is not served well by buses and with Norway’s strong drink and drive regulations the champagne was soon replaced by mineral water. Most people stayed until 1700 when kids needed to go home and there was my son Kenneth, his girlfriend Annette, Hartmut and I left. Kenneth and Annette left around 2000 and there was just Hartmut and I left. I was exhausted by the occasion.
Hartmut and I go back some 30 odd years so in the evening I lay on the sofa while we chatted into the evening while the kayak lay fully laden in the dark garden waiting for another day to be unpacked.
It had been an extraordinary day with many mixed emotions. It was the end of a fantastic adventure which I will surely cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you for following it over the last 6213 km.
I woke early after a glourious sleep and already by 0700 I was up and starting to write up the blog. It was the prime reason to stay in this lovely cabin. It was windstill and sunny outside but I was not moving until the blog was done and a few other things written. I had everything done by 1100 and had the boat packed and on the water at 1200. By now however there was a force three blowing and it was directly against me.
The first task was to paddle to the bottom of Hurum where at the town of Tofte there was an enormous paper mill. Barges shuttled back and forth from other parts of the fjord with wood, and ships unloaded with more logs and wood chips. There was a boat from Scotland unloading logs as I paddled past. Like the refinery yesterday this place had an odious smell. It was one of the few industrial complexes really in the otherwise rural and natural Oslofjord.
It took a while to paddle past the mill with the wind against me which was occasionally a force four. My progress was slow again at about 3.5 km per hour. Slowly but surely however I advanced into the narrow Drobaksund which separated the outerfjord from the innerfjord. Across the water from me was the town of Hvitsen and further up the sound I could see Drobak itself.
A sailing ship soon came round the corner. It was the Christian Radich. It was the East Norway’s equivalent of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. A huge white swan from a bygone era now used as a training and education ship. I thought the Statsraad Lehmkuhl was slightly finer though, although both are magnificent sailing ships.
Once in Drobaksund I started looking for a place to eat without losing ground in this wind. I really needed a beach to land on. I passed a campsite and nearly stopped there but continued to a small beach where a man was in the water repairing his jetty in shorts and a tee shirt. He soon came over once he had finished and we chatted. He was a keen paddler and was amazed I had come from Kirkenes. I got some water of them for the camp this evening and continued.
I turned quickly as I had forgotten my hat. We searched but it was gone. Perhaps it had been washed into the water and sunk. I did not need it now, but it was more for sentimental purposes as it had been with me on the ski leg also.
It was a reasonably quick paddle now up the fjord past Drobak as the wind had diminished to a force three. The old fortification of Oscarsborg slowly got closer. This fort guards the entrance to inner Oslofjord and Oslo used to remain secure behind its defences. Even as Norway was dragged into the Second World War, Oscarsborg held the German navy up sufficiently for the king to escape and sank the Blucher battleship.
I passed Oscarsborg as a large ferry went past heading for Oslo. It went up the Ostfjord while I was going up the Vestfjord. These two fjords were formed by Haoya which is a steep island in the middle of Drobaksund.
I cruised along the coast with many deciduous trees and conifers lining the side of the fjord. I noticed that some of the birch were definitely changing colour. Autumn was on the way. I paddled for about 2 km up Vestfjord to the most remarkable natural harbour of Sandspollen.
Sandspollen was a large basin with a small entrance. It was a very popular place for the yachting fraternity to come and spend the night moored in its sheltered waters. There was also a cabin here managed by Oslofjordens Friluftsraad. It was small with only 4 beds but perfect for my needs. The cabin was 100 years old and was initially a fishing cabin. In earlier times this basin was filled with mackerel on a yearly basis and this cabin played a role in harvesting them. It was the first building in the area to get a telephone, so people could be alerted to come and help with the mackerel.
It was easy to find the cabin and I soon had the kayak safe and everything I needed in the cabin. It was only 1800. I set about the blog immediately to get it out of the way as I wanted a few hours peace and quiet to myself in the evening to reflect on the tour. I had all the office work done by 2030 when the sun had finally set. I was lucky the cabin was available.
Tomorrow I have 20 km to paddle up the reasonably sheltered inner Oslofjord to Konglungbrua. I will get there at 1400 and that will be it. The end of a truly magnificent trip. My chances of getting to Konglungbrua tomorrow are very high as the weather forecast is perhaps the best for a month.
I will probably not write up the final day until the 7th or even 8th.
It had been a relatively easy day despite the wind. The cabin in the morning to write in and then the cabin in the evening to reflect in were a godsend
It was still pelting down onto the tent when I woke. I wondered if it had been doing it all night. Everything felt clammy. From my sleeping bag to pots and pans everything had slowly become impregnated with salt crystals over the last three and a half months and any dampness in the air now attached itself to me and my equipment. I was not looking forward to get up in this rain but I had a big day ahead.
I eventually got up at 0730 and packed all the damp stuff away into the damp bags. Then I put half my drysuit on in the tent and got out to do the rest. It was still pouring as I packed up the glistening wet tent and loaded up the boat. The forecast promised southerly winds but it was a northerly breeze.
I paddled past more cabins, some quaint and others ridiculously opulent until I got to the bridge which connected Tjome to the adjacent island of Notteroy. It was still pouring as I went under here but it was now completely still. There was a basin just to the east of the bridge and this seemed to be a working place with boat yards and some offices. As I paddled further east I was back into the exclusive cabins and the occasional older farm. I then reached the end of the channel between Tjome and Notteroy islands and entered Oslofjord proper.
I turned north here and went up the quaint Aroysund channel. There were many nice cabins along the Notteroy island side of this sound but the islands to the east looked quite pristine still. The promised south wind was now making a strong appearance, and it was a force four already, but directly behind me, and it pushed me quickly up to Tonsberg.
Tonsberg is arguably the oldest town in Norway and 1000 years ago it was certainly the centre of a large population. There are many relics from the Viking period found around here including a couple of well preserved Viking boats and lots of ornaments showing this was a wealthy region. I did not go into Tonsberg but half paddled and was half blown past it. I was making good progress now but still had 35 km to go.
North of Tonsberg the islands petered out and I was soon paddling in the exposed fjord with a force five wind behind me. The waves were soon large at around 1.5 to 2 metres and quite steep. Things got quite choppy when this increased to a force six and I had to go round the headland of Slangentangen. The vegetation along the boulder shore here was mostly deciduous trees of birch and aspen with some pines. The aspen where swinging widely in the wind. This lush scene came to and abrupt halt soon at an oil refinery
I paddled past glancing occasionally at it monstrous forms and having to inhale its foul smell until I got well past it. I was now offshore from Asgardstrand which was a nice town of small streets and white houses but it was rather ruined by its evil smelling neighbour to the south. Asgardstrand was also the place where Edvard Munch, perhaps Norway’s most famous cultural figure grew up. However the town was in a bit of a bay so I cut across it to the island of Bastoya.
The wind was perhaps a constant force six now and I was getting quite worried about a crossing I had to do later. Even as I approached Bastoya island there was plenty of surf and streaks of froth all over the water in front of me. If I looked ahead the sea did not look too bad but when I turned round it looked much worse with white caps everywhere and some large sets of breakers charging towards me.
Bastoya initially seemed uninhabited and was a nature reserve. As I paddled on to the north west side of it there was a huge farm which appeared in the large deciduous trees. This farm looked semi aristocratic with its large clock towers on the barn and distinctive spires and towers on other buildings. The fields around d it looked lush and fertile.
From Bastoya I crossed over to Horten. I was still a solid force six and I was getting more worried about the crossing. This was highlighted by a ferry crossing Oslofjord. It was on the otherside of Bastoya in the main channel and each time it hit a wave there were plumes of spray flying high across the bow. There were obviously big steep waves out there.
I was blown past Horten and along the peninsula which extended north from it. It seemed the wind was abating slightly and it was now down to a force five. The waves were still significant and there were white caps everywhere but they were not as big anymore. I passed a stone church in a hamlet of grand old farm buildings and continued until I was near the island of Vealos. The rain of the morning had now largely vanished although there was the odd squall.
From Vealos I could see the island of Molen in the middle of the fjord. It was just 5km away. Another 5 km beyond that was the barely visible island of Ranvikholmen. I still had nearly 4 hours until nightfall and I wanted to get to Ranvikholmen. I decided not to wait until the wind eased further but to head straight over to Molen and if it turned nasty I could put my soaking tent up on is lee side, but if it eased I could continue across the fjord to Ranvikholmen where I hoped there was a cabin.
As it happened when I paddled over to Molen the wind eased yet again so I passed it and continued straight to Ranvikholmen, which was a small forested island of geological significance. There was the occasional worrying force 6 gust which very quickly turned the sea grey with larger white caps again but it soon returned to a force four. In the force six gusts the sea behind me looked quite wild when I turned round. I could hear the occasional tumbling large set catching me up with 50 cm of white crest on top of a steep 3 metre wave but luckily all passed without incident.
I soon reached Ranvikholmen and paddled round the small rocky island to the beach on the north side. I landed here and went to explore. There was a simple cabin here operated by Oslofjordens Friluftsraad. It was locked but there was a key in another locked box with a number code. I had previously phoned to get this number. I walked through the autumnal path into the centre of the island when I was the cabin. It was perfect. The key worked and I could have a comfortable evening with a table to write at.
I returned to the kayak to get my belongings and then soon made myself at home in the cabin. It was superbly comfortable after the tent last night. The island was also a temperate paradise. Tall pines and rowans red with berries made up the forest while the ground cover was blueberry and grass. As a sign of the oncoming autumn the forest floor was covered in mushrooms, especially the red Russallas.
I tried to write but was too tired after the long day with the wind both helping me and sapping my energy. By the time I was ensconced in the cabin and it was getting dark my eyes were getting heavy. I did some office work and then went to bed at 2200.
I am looking forward to the finish now but am also sad the tour is coming to an end. There will be a party when I reach Oslo on Sunday at 1400 and my friend Oyvind has made an amusing invite for it. If you are in the Oslo area and have been following the blog feel free to turn up at Konglungbrua just before 1400. The location is also on the route map page where there is a white flag, with drinks nearby afterwards.
It had been a wet miserable morning and then an exciting afternoon. My reward for enduring this was the wonderful cosy, dry cabin on Ranvikholmen.
I woke reasonably early after a good sleep. Some ravens outside the tent were making a tremendous racket. The forecast said the wind would pick up to be a force 4 or 5 from the east from about midday onwards. I wanted to be into the shelter of Tonsbergfjord before that happened.
After a coffee on Espen and Sunyas sailing boat I took down the tent was set off at 0900. As soon as I was out of the harbour I realized the easterly wind had already started and was a force three already. Today was going to be a fight.
I made it across Larvikfjord to Malmoya island quite quickly. The wind hampered me a little and the current I was warned about did not seem to be there. This is the current which comes out of the Baltic and flows up the Swedish west coast before being forced west down the Norwegian south coast. The massive swell from yesterday had virtually vanished in this east wind of today.
I continued east past the headland and round a couple of small peninsulas to the bay of Ula. I did not go in but continued to pull myself across the bay to the next headland. There was the odd island or islet to find shelter behind but by and large it was an exposed coast and I had to battle into the relentless wind and smaller waves. By now the wind was a good force five and my progress had slowed right down.
The spray was coming off each wave and back into my face. I was surprised how warm it was. It felt well over 20 degrees. Slowly but surely I made some hard fought progress and soon I was round a last headland and heading towards a larger island behind which there was some lee.
There was also a nice village here called Kjerringvik which was a good harbour due to these same islands. I found some lee here behind the islands while I mentally prepared to do the final two hurdles of the day which was the crossing of two quite narrow fjords to reach two headlands of Vesteroya and Osteroya respectively. Although there peninsulas were called islands they were not, and were thin fingers of land radiating from the large town of Sandefjord.
The crossing of the first was relatively easy after I had waited for the fast ferry from Sandefjord to Sweden to go past. It was very short and it took less than an hour to reach the other side. The wind by now was a solid force five with the occasional force six.
Once past the first I was looking forward to the second. However this was different. The wind was probably a force six here and it was coming directly from the north east. In addition I thought there was a stronger current here. It took a good hour of hard paddling to do these 3 km to reach the tip of the peninsula called Tonsbergtonne. The warm spray was splashing everywhere from each paddle stroke and from the bow. The bare smooth rocks at the end of this peninsula just did not seem to come closer.
Once I reached Tonsbergtonne I was pleased that all I had to do now was round the point and start heading north out of the wind. The east side if the peninsula was however the worst bit. There was a definite current against me and the force six wind was still there and against me. I went quite close to the shore and endured the clapotis from the rebounding waves to try and keep out of the current which was heading south. The buttresses and crevices went past very slowly. Sometimes I was pretty much stationary for 5 minutes until a burst of temper and some furious paddling saw me inch forwards for 200-300 km until I had to wait again. It probably took an hour to go a single km, but there was no avoiding it.
After this km there was a sheltered bay with a beach at the head of it. I paddled in here for a breather and to eat something and most importantly let my wrists, arms and shoulder relax a bit as they had been straining. It was a remarkable bay with beautiful sand and tall dry reeds rustling under the mixed forest around the edge of the bay. It looked almost tropical and with the water temperature of at least 20 degrees it felt tropical. There were a lot of the evil looking jelly fish here but they seemed to have completed their cycle and most were deteriorating and washing up on beaches now.
After a good hour stretching here I felt I had to continue. The wind was still from the north east and against me so I decided to paddle over to Tjome and try and get some lee from this island. After an hour I made it to the first of many islands in this Tonsbergfjord. Once among them the wind diminished. Not because of the islands but because it was expiring. Indeed these islands offered no protection. They were smooth bare low-lying outcrops which had probably just emerged from below sea level in the last few thousand years.
The eider duck now seemed to be found in large rafts again of perhaps 100 birds or so. I had seen this in Varangerfjord last just before the breeding season started. Perhaps they are gregarious animals and just split up into pairs form the breeding and rearing of young and then return to rafts when it is over. There were also quite a few merganser about again and as I paddled further into the islands swan and their fully grown, but still grey, cygnets.
Soon I was weaving through the islands to get to the town of Tjome. It is the main town on the island of the same name. There are some islands to the west of Tjome and many to the east. These islands and Tjome itself are the prime area to have a summer cabin in Norway along with some of the Kragero archipelago. As I paddled up the coast from Tjome town going north and looking for a campspot I passed some lovely quaint older cabins and some modern palaces. Many had very green lawns coming down to artificial beaches. It was difficult to find somewhere.
None of the cabins had lights on and as it was getting dark I would have to encroach. When I passed a detached lawn on a small beach surrounded by pine forest I thought it was too good to pass. The house was a good 100 metres away and it was modest and the lights were out. I landed and pulled the kayak across the small lawn into the pine woods were there was a sheltered camp spot among the large pines.
With the tent up and me sorted out I started to write but I was just too tired. At the same time the rain started. There was a biblical downpour and the tent was drumming with the sound of large raindrops. It was so noisy it was difficult to think. I abandoned it and made supper before crashing out. The rain kept up until I was asleep.
It had been a hard day and I had not gained that much for a lot of work. It was also a very wet day with lots of spray and then the heavy shower in the evening.