1968: Norway – Day 10 – Kinsarvik – Rysstad

Woke to the ominous sound of rain pattering on the tent. Our weather has changed with a vengeance, but it did stop for us to pack the tent up, etc. (only just). Things went much better this time, and the car less stuffed in every corner. Nipped down to the shops and bought seals for S and G, some pewter buttons and links and some red braid – also fruit compotes and baby food. Set off in reasonable weather, which improved as far as Odda. David bought some super looking fish – halibut – here, also some mile and we set off for the snows. Through the long tunnels this time no tolls which is strange – perhaps it’s only up to June 1st. Then down a rather gravelly road to Roldall, where we went into the 13th century stone church. Very nice, all wood with painted interior and gallery. children fascinated by it all, and we had a good poke around and bought a guide book.

This valley was nearly cut off all the year up to the end of the 19th century, it must have been very lonely. Even now communications leave something to be desired. The road from Sanda snowy. Road directly south, snow ploughs all year – road to Odda much better with the tunnels and then road east appalling. We climbed up gravelly and pebbly surfaces into the clouds and snow. Prevailing colours grey, dark brown and white. Screes, frozen lakes, bare outcrops. Road in a tunnel or two and skirted one under construction – toll road, ok. Utter desolation and tundra-lie, with few cabins in or on the edge of frozen waters, occasional glacial looking stream frothing along. Raining hard, snow high on either side with patches of dirty snow where rocks had tumbled.

Children didn’t like it much – neither did we. Gave G his lunch and had our lunch in a bleak spot, then road dropped a bit, hight pastures, more trees. Steady fall to juncture with road to Setesdal, with camping huts here and there. Cafes and guest houses, presumably mainly for winter sports. Washing hanging out hopefully despite the rain. Road quite good, lots of Dutch cars. Road then climbed out of the valley, quite steeply in the woods up to high plateau. Bare granite outcrops, no trees, mosses and snows and jolly unfriendly. Then scrubby silver birch, still not in leaf, very stunted. I bet the winter rages here. Out onto mixed woods. Plenty of cabins about but very few settlements and those very small, largely ugly hotel at Horden. Logging activities evident, masses of timber brought down to road for transport. Road improvement evident too, with old loops cut off. River very wide, flowing over granite masses and conifers on either side, rather Canadian. Then abrupt changes to gorges, wooded and fast flowing streams. Houses have turf growing on the roofs, cattle are horned and everything a bit Alpine. Spectacular valley with massive granite on either side, water slithering down over it to the churning stream. Trees wherever they can gain foothold. Widens out now and again, river turns into lakes. String of settlements where valley widens again, Alpine looking with broad overhangs, balconies (with washing on) reindeer horns, etc. A dog pulled cart outside one shop. Found this camp site – right by river, craggy slopes around and pine trees and thankfully took a hut for the night. Had the halibut for tea – wonderful (we were starving of course) and children went off quite well in their bunks and I did some ironing with rather antique model. Sat in comfort listening to rain.

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