Day 240. Arendal to Aroy in Kragero

Posted by: James on August 28, 2009

Distance 70km | Time 14hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 240.1 Leaving Arendal at 0500 in the morning before dawnThe alarm went at 0330. Without even pausing for a moment to think I got up. I knew any delay would be fatal as I would rationalize a reason to go back to sleep. Breakfast was a packet of biscuits and a bar of chocolate. I then slid the kayak down the bank to the water packed it and set off at 0500 all in the dark. I paddled about 2 km to the bridge before the first hint of dawn started to appear.

I was still in a bit of a daze as I paddled up Tromoysund. I felt very tired and yawned profusely. Tromoysund seemed really to go by in a blur. It was completely wind still which did not help wake me up. The south shore here seemed to be a sparse string of houses sometimes bunched into the odd hamlet but by and large it had a rural feel.

Day 240.2 The swell and surf on the skerries outside Sandoya in the sun with the wind picking upIt was only when I got to the semi open sea around 0700 did I start to wake up a bit. There was a small amount of wind now and there was the area with some swell coming through the shoals and skerries to make me more alert. It was just a force three at the most but it was directly behind me thankfully.

Day 240.3 A typical islet with a population of gulls resting on the ice scoured smooth slabsI started to get into my pace more and headed up the east side of Sandoya where a line of skerries protected me from the swell. Not that this swell was difficult but it would have slowed me considerably and as the crow flies today was 66 km. At the north of Sandoya I noticed the wind was swinging more southerly as I crossed Sandfjord to reach Askeroy. At the east end of Askeroy was a town called Lyngor.

Lyngor was the Sorlandsidyl. It was built around a basin hemmed in by a few islands at the east of Askeroy. It was renowned as possibly the best preserved and most beautiful town on the south coast. When I reached it I could see why.

Day 240.4 A view of Lyngor from the shop across the basin to the north side of the stunning coastal villageThere were a few channels radiating out from this central basin. Both the basin itself and the channels were lined with gorgeous wooden houses and small businesses. Now doubt the sail maker who had a building here did not make sails any longer here and the boat yards no longer contained welders and but the buildings were intact and used for more gentle businesses still associated with boats like varnishing. The houses were rectangular and white and many were quite grand and very well kept.

Day 240.5 Another view of Lyngor in the channel leading north from the central basinThere was a shop so I went in to see if they had a coffee just to have a nosey round. The shop was characteristically quaint for the town with goods neatly stacked on wooden shelves. They did not have coffee and suggested the café. I did not really have time though and set off slowly for a tour around the basin. It was raining heavily so I could not take as many or as good photos as I wanted but some were OK. It was indeed a very beautiful town from a bygone age. There were still some cabin cruisers polluting the scene but there were also many working boats and older modest wooden sailing yachts.

With regret I left before I was ready and paddled out of a small channel lined with old houses and was into the east end of Lyngorfjord. Soon the islands to the south were running out and I was into the open sea. By now however the wind had shifted to the south east and it was a force four. I was worried about this as it was would be from the side. However it was too bad yet but it was forecast to increase.

There was one small peninsula which was getting the full swell of about 2 metres and this was rebounding for quite a way out with a confused sea. It was a short section though and I was soon back into the shelter of the skerries as I paddled up to the end of this peninsula to Fie. There was then a windy crossing with a fair bit of shelter across the fjord of Stanfsholmsgapet to the town of Risor. As I approached the town I thought the wind was up to a force five but it was swinging back to the south west again and was behind me.

I ate lunch as the wind blew me past Risor. In half an hour I was blown nearly 2 km up the side of Risoya with the town drifting past across the sound. It also seemed a nice town but not in the same league as Lyngor or larger Arendal but more like Lillesand. I saw it from a distance though the drizzle and not that closely.

After Risor I again had the shelter of some islands for about 5 km and I was beginning to get quite optimistic about getting to Aroy tonight as there was only some 27-28 km left to go and it was just 1400. It was the advantage about getting up early that I had already done some 45 km. As I reached Gjernestangen the weather started to deteriorate to another stage again. I had to detour to go out around this point and this forced me into the open sea.

From Gjernestangen north there were many shoals and skerries along the shore and it did not look like there was an inside passage. It was now a solid force five and I was forced to paddle in the ocean if I wanted to continue. I could not really look at the GPS as I need both hands on the paddle. If it continued like this I could just make it to Portor where I would be some respite and be able to plan the route further. Between me and the shore all the way up the coast to Portor some 5-6 km to the north was surf as the breaking swell crashed onto the skerries and toppled on the shoals. Occasionally I had to detour out further to avoid shoals. I was nearly a km from land.

There was some very heavy rain showers but it did nothing to dampen the sea state. Then the wind increased a notch again to a force 6. It did not take long before the waves responded. The white caps were now everywhere and most were about 30 cm high on top on the 2 metre high waves. I was getting to my limit and when I felt the wind was not decreasing and might have even been a force seven now with spray flying everywhere I decided to get the hell out of there.

As I paddled in to what I hoped was an opening a fishing boat drew abreast obviously heading for shelter also. The boat was heaving and surging all over the place and he had obviously called it a day. He was looking out of the wheelhouse at me disappearing in the troughs and leaping up on the white crests thinking madman. Soon the boat made it to calmer waters and I followed this local knowledge. Soon I was in sheltered enough water to take a hand off the paddle.

Just then the wind did increase to a force seven and there was the heaviest rain shower I have experience this year. I was amongst the skerries again and the splash of the rain was flowing over the skerries in the wind and across the water like spindrift. I managed then to have a look at the GPS now and lo and behold there was a route along the inside of skerries and shoals for some 3 km all the way to Portor. It looked like I might make it after all.

As I sneaked through the skerries the rain ceased and I made good progress in the strong wind. Occasionally I had to go round a headland but it was not exposed as the main violence between the sea and the land was taking place off the coast with the shoals and it was the remnants of the weather which got through.

I got to Portor and then had an easy crossing across the bay to Rapentangen with the wind pushing me fast. From Rapentangen I continued north east across Kragerofjord. To the south I could see the whole sea was white where the swell which has grown suddenly was toppling on the reefs and exploding onto the skerries. The wind which was still a force seven would then disperse the spray over the whole area. By the time I neared Vestre Rauane, an island in the middle of Kragerofjord the waves were already up to a metre just in the short one km fetch from Rapentangen and everyone was breaking. The sea in front was streaked with surf.

From Vestre Rauane it was a short surf across the rest of the fjord with smaller waves again until I reached Korset on the Skatoy. I just had 6 km to go now and all of it in a reasonably sheltered archipelago so I made a phone call to tell my ex mother in law to put the kettle on.

Day 240.6 Being blown through the archipeligo to the east of KragerofjordThe last 6 km were very easy. The wind diminished to a force 6 as I wove deeper into the network of islands. To the south east was Jomfruland, a low lying crescent shaped island formed some 10,000 years ago as the terminal mound to the Ra moraine which is found as a band throughout the Oslofjord region.

The islands around Kragero have become very fashionable in the last 25 years for the wealthy of Oslo to build their summer cabins. In some places there are ridiculously opulent palaces from the new rich and in other places desperate social climbers have bought a small bare skerry and built a white palace on top of it complete with Corinthian pillars. The is little of the charm of Ny Hellesund here. Where there are the original communities on the inner islands there are some more charming places as there are on Jomfruland’s inner side.

Day 240.7 Approaching Ingrids cabin with the boatshed above the bow and the main cabin to the rightAroy is one such older community and there are also many older cabins here around its shore line. In one of these my ex mother in law, Ingrid, spends most of the summer. My ex brother in law, Peter, was also staying. I pulled into their jetty at 1900 after 14 hours paddling and soon had the boat on the jetty and emptied into the boat house.

It was good to see them and they made me feel very at home. I had a shower and had to borrow cloths as everything else was filthy or wet, much of it both. Clean and shaved I had a great meal of king crab and wine and then chatted in front of the television as the sun went down outside the window. Despite the early start I did not feel tired now and we chatted until 0100 before I went out to the annex cabin and cotton sheets.

It had been a very long day with all sorts of weather from the calm morning to the dramatic weather and seas between Risor and Kragero. It was nice to be back at this cabin which I have visited every two or three years for the last 30 years. I still get on with all my ex relations except the main one, who I luckily always manage to avoid.


Day 239. Ramsoya in Lillesand to Arendal

Posted by: James on August 27, 2009

Distance 57km | Time 10hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 239.1 The sound of Blindleia south west of Lillesand was home to many rural seascapesI managed to get up reasonably early and set off at 0830. Taking the tent down I snapped another end of a tent pole section. There was a good west wind blowing and frequent drizzle showers. My cloths which were hung to dry were still wet so I donned the drysuit and my dry set of cloths. At breakfast I noticed I had virtually no food left

In the open sea this wind would have created larger waves which the kayak would have wallowed in, surging down a face and then sliding back into the trough. It would not have been that fast. However there was a slightly longer way down the inside of a series of islands all the way to Lillesand. This inside way was called the Blindleia. The wind here would push me along but the fetch would never allow larger waves. It was the obvious route.

This route took me past the coastal hamlet of Gamle Hellesund. It was a beautiful start to the morning and the drizzle was soon ignorable. It was not quite as quaint as Ny Hellesund from yesterday but it was none the less a Sorlandsidyl of the best class.

Day 239.2 There was tranqail cabins and small holdings down eachh side of the Blindleia soundAfter this I was blown down a 10km long channel which was quite enchanting. To the north was the mainland with many small inlets while to the south was the sting of islands separated by small sounds. There was a scattering of hamlets and holiday cabins all the way down here to Lillesand. It continued to drizzle and was misty, but this did little to dampen the beauty of the 10 km. There were frequent duck and also many swan and heron.

Day 239.3 The small town of Lillesand with its Lutheran church and some wooden waterfront buildingsThis delightful channel ended after 2 hours with a bridge over to the island of Justoy and I soon crossed a basin to reach Lillesand. I thought there must be a shop here and cruised along the sea front in the drizzle until I reached a bay. Here was the centre of Lillesand with its large Lutheran church and grander wooden buildings along the waterfront.

I stopped here in a marina in the heart of the town and pulled the kayak ashore and walked a few blocks to a shop. There I bought food for 5 days and then had a small explore around the centre. People did not seem so friendly here or maybe I just scared them off with my ragged look and drysuit. After a good hours shopping delay I was back in the kayak again heading through the narrow Grunnesundet towards the sea as the series of islands forming the idyllic Blindleia had finished.

I passed the substantial Homborsund Fyr lighthouse and was now into the semi open sea. There seemed to be a series of skerries and shoals further out which broke up the swell and it was just the residual waves which got through. Occasionally there was a gap in these and the Skagerrak swell came charging in powered by the force four wind. The wind direction and strength was almost exactly what I wanted.

Day 239.4 The sea around Bjoroy had some swell breaking on the skerriesI went to the outside of Bjoroy and then the inside of the next larger island of Haoy. The wind helped me tremendously and my average speed here was about 7 km per hour. I was going so easily and quickly I barely noticed the town of Grimstad tucked away in a bay. Then I was shooting along the inside of Hesnesoy and passing the town of Fevik which was more visible than Grimstad from the sea.

Day 239.5 Approaching Arendal the weather improved and brightened up the pine forests on HesnesoyThe whole coast here was typical Sorlandet with low lying mainland with numerous inlets. This whole landscape was then covered in pine trees and juniper bushes. There was also a lot of heather now which was purple in its autumn. I thought I noticed some birch and rowan trees just showing the first hints of autumn colours also. Certainly the rowans were heavy with berry now.

On the islets the juvenile gulls were adult size but retained their childhood plumage still. They continued to follow their parents and whine constantly for food. There were also many ducks along the coast here on the smooth ice polished rocks of the skerries. They did not seem so shy as the other eider ducks I had passed in the summer.

Before long I was crossing a bay north of Hasseltangen and was making the final approach past a couple of islands to the southern entrance of Arendal. Arendal seemed much bigger than all the other towns on the south except Kristiansand. I crossed over and paddled up the east side of the entrance along the side of Tromoya.

Day 239.6 Going up the west side of Tromoya where there was a suburb of Arendal along the steeper shorelineFor 3-4 km I paddled past waterfront homes on the steep hillside. Many of these homes were quite bohemian and quaint. Interspersed among them were some older boat yards and wharfs. Just at the top of this sound did it get more industrial for a section. While across the sound was the main centre of Arendal. It looked an interesting and very nice town and seemed a bit more relaxed than the formal Lillesand.

It was soon sunset and getting dark and I needed somewhere to camp. After the industrial buildings I turned east into Tromoysund and past a grand stately home set in a large parkland with huge sweeping lawns. It was the nearest thing I had seen to aristocracy in this egalitarian country and it must have belonged to a shipping magnate. I found out later it was Smith Sorensen. I thought about camping here on the lawn along the shore as the house was empty but it might have been too confrontational. Soon afterwards I found a spot in the field.

I had to put the tent up with the headtorch on. First I had to saw the broken bit off the pole section and then I had to remove a toad which somehow got into the erected tent while I was unpacking and securing the boat. I had a cold supper from a tin and set the alarm for 0330.

It was a chocolate box day in the morning followed by some good paddling in the semi open sea in the afternoon with a good following wind.


Day 238. Ryvingen Fyr to Ramsoya in Lillesand

Posted by: James on August 26, 2009

Distance 52km | Time 9.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m

Day 238.1 The view from the top of Ryvingen Fyr lighthouse towards  the skerry of Pysen which is barely visible to the far right of the island with the cairn on itMy two roommates were well the worse for wear after the celebration dinner and evening last night but they were quiet in the room and did not disturb me much. I was up at 0800 and had a quick breakfast. However I got chatting to the group of the social workers and had a coffee with them. By then Rita and her relations were up and I had another coffee and chat with them.

I was about to leave at 1000 and Rita kindly offered to give me a guided tour of the lighthouse tower. It was quite a structure with 5 levels with the light on the fifth. The whole tower was made out of cast plates. Each plate was a bit less than a metre by two metres and must have weighed 200 kilos. Each plate was bolted to its neighbours with up to 20 bolts.

Day 238.2 The view from the top of Ryvingen Fyr lighthouse towards Lindesnes peninsula in the west above the keepers cottageThe plates were cast at Baerums verk foundry, which seemed to have done a lot of the lighthouses. The advantage with the plates is them could be transported and assembled quite easily. Apparently the tower was assembled in a couple of months at the end of the 19th century. From here there was a great view over the island and also the other islands in this archipelago. It was even possible to see the tiny skerry of Pysen, Norway’s most southerly point, some 5 km away.

After the tour Rita came down to the jetty to see me off. It was a 500 metre walk across the island to the east side where there was a sheltered bay. It was a beautiful day and it was hot in the sun down by the jetty. I said goodbye to the generous Rita and headed off at 1130.

Day 238.3 The southern tip of Norway is the skerry of Pysen here with the lighthouse at Ryvingen 5 km to the west in the backgroundThere was a good force three westerly wind which blew me along nicely across the open sea for 4 km to the small Pysen. I could not see it but had to head to Odd island which had an obvious cairn on it. Once there it was easy to see Pysen. It was tiny but significant. It was a wet smooth dome of rock measuring no more than 15 metres across and only about 2 metres high. None the less it was the most southerly part of Norway.

Day 238.4 The typical coast along the southern coast of Norway with pine forests here seen to the west of Ny HellesundFrom Pysen I headed north east passing Odd and entered a fantastic coast with masses of islands and skerries. The wind was pushing me along nicely and the islands stopped the waves from building up which would have slowed me down. It continued like this for a good 15 km. Some of the islands were just about bare rock while others had some sparse pine and juniper trees on them. There were goats on one island put out for summer grazing.

It really was nice paddling through these islands, especially the cluster of Uvar. The rock was pink and I assumed it was granite. There were plenty of seagulls here, mostly blackbacks. The juveniles were still whining at their parents to regurgitate some food, although most were probably able to obtain it themselves It had been a while now since I had seen a sea eagle. I think the last was north of Bergen.

Day 238.5 The delightful hamlet of Ny Hellesund was perhaps the most beautiful I had seen along the entire coast so farAfter this island hopping I reached the islands of Monsoya and Helgoya. Between them was a small sound called Ny Hellsund which was a waterway through a hamlet. I think this hamlet was perhaps the most idyllic sight I have seen on the entire coast. Lots of little white cottages were arranged along the shore in colourful gardens. He roof tiles were all old and a rusty red with black specks where lichen was growing. Each cottage had an equally quaint boat house and jetty where there were old boats moored. It looked very old and original but I suspect it was kept that way by the people who either lived here or had cabins here. There were perhaps 30 houses in all.

The only thing out of place here was a massive cabin cruiser. This was an unsophisticated display of opulent new money amongst the more confident and modest old money who had a more cultured aesthetic awareness.

It was a joy to paddle through Ny Hellsund and every house had something of interest. However it was soon over and I left the old fishing hamlet and was once more back into the more open waters with the scattering of islands to keep the interest up and the waves down. This continued for another 6-7 km until I got to Flekkeroy island. This was really a suburb of Kristiansand and was connected by a tunnel.

After Flekkeroy there was a fjord which was main entrance to Kristiansand. It was called Ostergapet and is entrance was guarded by two lighthouses on islets out to sea on each side of this waterway. When I arrived there were at least 40 sailing boats in this wide expanse of water enjoying the force four winds and sunshine.

I crossed over Ostergapet from Flekkeroy island to Kongshavn on the east side. As I crossed Kristiansand unfolded and then hid again as the sides of this fjord revealed and then obscured it. The south west wind which had been there all day was still helping me along.

Kongshavn seemed a mix of old fishing hamlet and modern suburb. There were about 50 new houses and 30 old ones. In tribute to the architect the new ones did fit in with the older ones both here and especially at Kvarenes a bit further on. The wind was against me slightly as I weaved through the waterways to the east of Kongshavn for a couple of km until I reached Kvasefjord. This waterway was also quite delightful but not in the same category as Ny Hellsund

There was quite a swell coming in as I crossed Kvasefjord. It was open to the south west. With the larger swell I started to wallow more and my speed dropped off as I headed to Indre Ulvoya island. The sun was starting to set now and the wind which had been a godsend all day started to drop off. I paddled through the Indresund sound and passed under a small bridge to emerge into another small archipelago of small rocky islets and larger pine clad islands with cabins on.

Day 238.6 The sunset as I approached the island of RamsoyaThere was still a good half hours daylight left but I thought I had better start looking from a place to camp. It would not be easy as there were many private cabins along the shore. Suddenly I saw three older houses sharing a beach and none had a light on. It was a great place to camp and as the beach was shared there would be no question of intruding. It was on the island of Ramsoya.

Day 238.7 Approaching the beach at Ramsoya in the very late evening where I spent the nightI paddled over, pulled up the kayak and pitched the tent as it was getting dark. All three houses were unoccupied. It was 2200 before I started supper and 2300 before I started writing. I did not finish until 0100 when there was some drizzle on the tent.

I still had some 120 km to go to relations on Aroy island in the Kragero archipelago but have decided to try and go for it in the next two days and arrive there on Friday evening for a day off to write, wash cloths and prepare for the very final section. If the weather is similar to today, Kragero should be feasible.

It had been a very good day with excellent paddling and scenery.


Day 237. Lindesnes Fyr to Ryvingen Fyr

Posted by: James on August 25, 2009

Distance 34km | Time 9.5hrs | Ascent 0m | Descent 0m 

Day 237.1 The rough seascape after leaving the sheltered inlet at Lindesnes Fyr lighthouseDespite the fact I had an early night I did not sleep that well as the wind got up a lot in the night to a good force 6. I had nostalgically camped where I did when I started this trip on 1st January and without regard to shelter of which there was virtually none. So for about 3 hours the tent rattled a lot and kept me awake. When I woke at 0800 I was not well rested. 

I got up at 0800 and looked down the inlet to the incoming waves and sea. It seemed to be a good force 5 if not force 6 and there was a lot of surf at the mouth of the inlet where the south easterly swell was crashing through. The forecast said it would ease with time. 

By 0900 it already had decreased enough for me to pack up and put my drysuit on. I then went and said good bye to the very nice staff at the lighthouse and prepared to leave. Simen who managed the visitor attractions came down to see me off and take some photos. 

It was not as bad as it looked initially and I was soon out of the inlet and into the North Sea. It was a force five and the waves were just about a metre and a half with many small breaking crests. However just after the inlet entrance the wind was forced past the headland and it was a good six for a km. I was barely moving and the waves were constantly breaking. There was not quite green water on the tops but it felt uncomfortable. The sea was also quite chaotic with clapotis everywhere. In addition to all this there were also a few submerged shoals with exploding surf erupting from them. 

This intense section only lasted for about 2 km. However this 2 km took nearly an hour until I was approaching the lee of some small islets around Vage. By now the force six at the tip of the peninsula had diminished to a force five. After a pause here I continued up the side of the peninsula for another 3 km which almost took another hour until I reached the hamlet of Gauksum, and now the wind was just a force 4. Progress was horribly slow though. 

I started heading straight into the wind over to the island of Vare. It was a slow exercise. I knew the wind was dropping and it was just a question of making a slow gain until I could penetrate it. Slowly but surely Vare approached and when I reached it I had lunch in its lee. In three hours I had gone less than 10 km. 

Day 237.2 Typical Sorlandet scenery with more gentle hills and small fjords covered in pine forestAfter lunch however the wind dropped again. I was going to go round the south of the rocky island of Hille but decided to go round the north to get more protection. I paddled across an open bay with a few islets largely of rock. To the north was the typical Sorlandet landscape of rocky outcrops covered in pine forests. There was the occasional smaller fjord cutting into these lower hills. 

It was about 6-7 km across this bay and it was a slow slog against the wind. I was hoping for the predicted change in direction but it did not come so I had to paddle head on into the force three now. When I got to Hille I had now been paddling for nearly 6 hours and only had 18 km to show for it. Still I had not been paddling hard and was not tired.

Day 237.3 The small hamlet of Hillesund stradled the sound of water witht e same nameThe north east side of Hille was lovely especially the delightful hamlet of Hillesund between Hille and the smaller island of Nakkoya. There were about 10 old white wooden cottages with old clay roof tiles and small gardens down to jetties at the water’s edge. 

I continued down the north east side and the flags beside the cabins which were snapping in the wind this morning were beginning to hang limply. I decided to go to Pysen and see if I could camp the night there. It was the most southerly part of Norway and seemed to be a small islet south of Sandoy island. However as I headed down towards it I passed through a cluster of islands and noticed how rocky they were, with little vegetation. 

It was at last nice paddling and the wind as forecast had diminished and swung to the west. Perfect for me now. I made good time through these grey barren rocky islands and soon Ryvingen Fyr lighthouse came into view. It is Norway’s most southerly lighthouse. Beyond it I could make out Sandoy island. 

As I approached Ryvingen Fyr there was some mist descending. I was also getting skeptical that there was anywhere to camp on Pysen or Sandoy as everything seemed rock. I also remember Simen at Lindesnes saying the lady who managed the keepers houses at Ryvingen Fyr would be there and would be pleased if I dropped in. 

Day 237.4 Approaching Ryving Fyr lighthouse which is one of the oldest and most important on this coastI considered everything and opted for the lighthouse to avoid the potential scenario of looking for a campsite among rock slabs as darkness fell. I changed course slightly and paddled to the west side of the island it was sited on. 

There was nothing here but huge bare rock slabs. Continuing along the south side was the same. I eventually found the harbour in a deep bay on the east side of the island of 40 hectares. There was a jetty I could pull the boat onto. Just then a lady appeared. It was Rita and she had seen me coming. 

She worked for the council of Mandal who ran and maintained all but the light tower. She knew the place intimately as her father had been the last keeper here and she spent much of her childhood here. She kindly carried some stuff up for 500 metres to the keeper’s cottages. 

Mandal council hired the place out when it could and now there was a group of about 20 special needs teachers here and they were having a celebratory meal and evening at the lighthouse complex. There was a spare bunk in one of the rooms they were using. Rita also had two relations here. The teachers looked after themselves and I went up to the keeper’s cottage with Rita and here relations. We had a great evening. She knew Solvi who ran the lighthouse at Ulvesund where I stayed 4 weeks ago. 

I eventually left at 2300 and managed to write the blog before sleeping at 0100. The phone reception was too poor to bother trying to publish it. The winds tomorrow are forecast to be westerly which should help me gain some km. 

It had been a mixed day with hard paddling and little gain most of the day. In fact the paddling was almost tedious. However from Hille onwards things got better with great island landscapes. The decision to come to Ryvingen Fyr was a good one as I got a mattress and enjoyed a good evening with Rita and her relations. Norwegian hospitality is really second to none.


Day 236. Lindesnes Fyr weather and restday

Posted by: James on August 24, 2009

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

I woke early but the wind was rattling the tent. It was a force six and the sea was surging around the mouth of the inlet. Beyond that the sea was peppered with masses of white horses. It was as the forecast said and the forecast also said it would continue at this strength all day.

If I managed to get out of the inlet it would be hard work paddling into this wind. At the best I could hope to make 2 km per hour into this wind and it would be a hell of a slog for little gain. Indeed all I might gain would be a hernia or pulled tendon. I would not really get any shelter until I got to near Mandal some 20 km away.

Day 336.1 With Kristin Krohn Devold previously Norways defence minister and now Secretary General  of the DNTAs I was pondering the men from Lindesnes Fyr arrived. There were Simen and Ole-Jorgen who ran the museum and tourist attractions and Helge who was the lighthouse keeper and who welcomed me last night. All were very welcoming and wanted to know more about my trip. There was plenty of time to tell them in this weather.

They was also a film crew here with a group of Norwegian celebrities. One of them was Kristin Krohn Devold previously Norway’s’ defence minister and now Secretary General of the DNT. Simen introduced her and took a few photos while we chatted briefly about the outdoors.

The men from the lighthouse invited me in for a coffee and said I could use the office to write the blog. It was a perfect opportunity to catch up. I pretty much spent the rest of the morning and the entire afternoon writing and chatting with Simen and Ole-Jorgen. They were very generous and welcoming. I did indeed get everything I set out to do done.

 Lindesnes is the only lighthouse in Norway with a keeper still. The other 200 odd are all automatic now as are the 5000 beacons up and down this coast. Lindesnes was also the oldest lighthouse in Norway and dated from 1656.

Norway has an enormous amount of lighthouses considering its small population which just goes to show how significant coastal routes are here. It was much easier to go by the coast until quite recently than it was to go by road.

The wind did not really abate all day and it was sometimes quite reassuring to look out of the window onto the waves and surf knowing I had made the best choice to stay put. On the other hand I am a wee bit concerned I still have 450 km to go and only 13 days to do it in. It should be quite manageable but the blog might suffer.

Day 336.2 In the evening the wind and waves calmed down but it was to late to goJust in the evening the wind eased to a good force four and the sea state calmed down so it would have been possible to paddle for some two hours before darkness came. It was not worth getting soaked for 10 km though.

 It had been an interesting day at the lighthouse but I cannot afford many more like this if I am to reach Oslo on the 6th September.