Tag Archives: vanlife

Glaciers, Treebeards and Sheep!

Monday 14 October 2019

The first thing I wanted to do today was take some photographs of the Bøyabreen Glacier that I was parked next to. I wanted to get closer to the glacier itself, but due to the size of these things I realised it was much further away than I thought. Access was also difficult because of the steep walls of rock on the approach to it. Finally, I couldn’t see a way around the melt water lake beneath the glacier, so I abandoned any hope of getting closer and reverted, once again, to the 100-400mm lens to get close ups of the summit of the ice.

Bøyabreen Glacier from the glacier lake
Bøyabreen Glacier close up

About an hour’s drive up the road there was another glacier called Supphellebreen. This one came from the same enormous glacier that was out of sight in the mountains behind called Flatbreen glacier . There is a hiking trail up to the edge of Supphellebreen that takes about three hours (each way). There’s more information about this area at the FjordNorway website here. If you are planning a serious roadtrip to Norway, I recommend that you include this are in it. It is stunning.

The glacier is surrounded by rough scrub land dotted with old, twisted birch trees covered in tree beards, that I find really interesting.

woodland surrounding the Supphellebreen glacier

I continued on the E5 heading for Sogndal and whilst stopped for a brew in a rest area, I was closely inspected by sheep no. 66204, who I suspect was expecting some food!

Baa!

I arrived in Sogndal, quite a large town, and continued to a little village called Kjornes and booked into Kjornes Camping for a one night stay. I parked up next to the fjord and settled down for the evening.

Kjornes Camping with Sogndal in the distance.

Right Time, Right Place.

Sunday 13 October 2019

It had crossed my mind this morning to return to a place near Geiranger called Dalsnibba Mountain Plateau but it meant a 5 hour round trip from where I was and though it was somewhere I wanted to photograph, I decided against it and instead headed towards Sogndalsfjøra through the mountains on route 55.

I joined route 615 and came to Lake Lykkjebøvatnet the morning mist was rising from the lake and I knew it was one of those moments when everything is right and you know you’re in the right place at the right time. I spent over an hour photographing this scene from every angle I could think of and the small details of reeds and plants in the lake.

Lake Lykkjebøvatnet

I then came to a village called Byrkjelo in Nordfjord, where artist Stig Eikaas displays his creative collection of large sculptures. Some of the pieces are humourous, some are poignant and others memorialise characters from the area. They are certainly worth some of anyone’s time to observe carefully for a while.

From the sculpture park I could see the mountains that form part of the Jostedalsbreen National Park. The mist was rolling around the peaks and it looked fantastic.

Jostedalsbreen National Park

I put the 100-400mm lens on to get as close as I could to those snowy peaks.

It was now around lunchtime and in a village further on called Byrkjelo I found a superb local bakeri, BakearJon, selling huge cinnamon buns. Unfortunately they were only sold in twos and again, unfortuantely, they were baked the day before, so were being sold for 30NOK (c£2.60) for two! Well it would have been rude not to buy two wouldn’t it 🙂

I thought the day couldn’t get any better until I joined the E39 and drove into a very deep valley called Stardelselva and spotted a small tree, picked out by the sun, with gorgeous autumn coloured leaves between two green trees. Out came the camera again.

Stardelselva

My wildcamp site for the night was the parking area for Bøyabreen glacier. It might be the 13th of the month but this was certainly my lucky day!

Bøyabreen Glacier

Mountain Clouds and Sailing Ships

Saturday 12 October 2019

A cold grey rainy day when I woke up today in the rest area. I must comment on the facilities provided at this rest area, they are superb. Running hot water, very modern clean toilets and a large area to park in. Well done Norway and the Stryn Kommune. (These things are important when you’re living out of a van!)

…they were very clean and warm inside!

I started driving along route 60 then joined the 692 heading west towards Sandane. I’d decided to go to the western tip of this particular group of fjords and eventually to Fløra to look at the landscape that accompanied the fjords I would travel. 

Morning clouds on the mountains

As usual I was not disappointed. The mountains were high and covered in cloud that covered and uncovered the peaks. I stopped on a number of occasions get some images and a time lapse at one point. 

I love these mountains surrounding the fjord

I eventually reached Fløra and found it to be quite a large port town with a couple of old sailing ships moored up in the harbour. 

I had a look around and did a bit of food shopping and then began going back along the peninsula the way I had come on the route 5 and to a rest area called Eikefjord not far out of town to stay for the night. 

Nysætervatnet Nature Reserve and Trollstigen Pass

  Wednesday 9 October 2019

Got up at 6.0am this morning. It was freezing last night but I was snug as a bug in rug with my quilt and blanket and didn’t need the heater on at all. It was still dark but there was a feint glimmer of dim light in the east. I had breakfast and got the camera gear together for a short hike. 

The rest area was completely empty when I arrived last night but another camper van had arrived and parked right next to me. Why do people do that?!

I was in the Nysætervatnet  Nature Reserve so I took the path at the back of the rest area and began walking, watching the light all the time to see which of the mountains were going to light up in the morning sun first.

After a bout a mile the sun rose and I saw some potential images beginning to appear. The light wasn’t great but certainly worth a go. There are lots of small birch trees or perhaps they’re aspen, I don’t know how to tell the difference, anyway they’d make good subjects if I could find a good composition. 

Nysætervatnet  Nature Reserve

I took a few images and made my way back to the van.

Nysætervatnet  Nature Reserve

I intended to go and see the Trollstigen pass today so off I went .

Trollstigen pass is a unique piece of highway. I am amazed that, what was obviously just a pony track, has been made into a perfectly good vehicle roadway. You can see in the pictures what I mean. A very robust and extensive viewing platform has been built, together with a centre that explains the history of the road and, of course, a souvenir shop. You won’t be surprise when I tell you that the centre was closed and only opens in the summer months.

Trollstigen Pass

I then made my way back to the same rest area for a good night’s kip!

Autumn leaves, Arctic Circle Centre and Antony Gormley

Wednesday 2 October 2019

From the campsite at Straumen, after a good night’s sleep, I once again joined the E6 and headed south towards Mo I Rana. I’d read that Antony Gormley had a sculpture there that stood out in the fjord.

2.30pm Autumn leaves and a wreck

Where the E6 crosses the River Luonosjåhkå I parked up to look for a place to photograph the woods there but walked down to the river to photograph the beautiful colour of the trees in their autumn foliage.

The colour of the trees” foliage was amazing

However, right next to this spot was this old wreck that’s just been abandoned there. seems a bit strange that it’s never been moved, its obviously been there for many years.

Why?

3.30pm The Arctic Circle Centre

I couldn’t really drive past the Arctic Circle Centre when I saw it coming up in front of me now could I?? After all this was a momentous moment in the road trip. After two months north of the Arctic Circle I was now leaving the Arctic and really moving southward. I called in and found a huge souvenir shop! I was told by the guy behind the counter that they also had a 150 seat cinema in the building too, but like many things this far north, it was closed as from 1 September for the winter. So I had a look around and took the obligatory ‘selfie’ and went on my way.

Crossing the line at 66° 33′ N. And to think I was clean shaven when I started this trip!
“Silver Fox” outside the Arctic Circle Centre

5.0pm Mo I Rana

On arrival in the town of Mo I Rana, I had no trouble locating the sculpture and parked up to have a closer look. Mo I Rana is quite a big town and I didn’t want to stay overnight in the town. I wanted to get a photograph of Havmann and park up somewhere out of town for the night away from the traffic.

Havmann “The Man from the Sea” is a granite stone sculpture by the English artist Antony Gormley located in the city of Mo i Rana in Northern Norway. The sculpture stands proud in the “Ranfjord” in the city of Mo i Rana, which is often referred to in Norway as “Polarsirkelbyen” (in English: the “Arctic Circle City”). The sculpture is 11 metres (36 ft) tall, weighs 60 tonnes (59 long tons; 66 short tons), and according to Lonely Planet is “forever up to his knees in water, turns his back on the town and gazes resolutely out over the fjord“.[1]

Havmann by Antony Gormley located in the town of Mo I Ran

It was getting dark already and I thought a long exposure image of the sculpture showing its position in the fjord was the best approach.

It’s been an interesting day!

Reflections

Tuesday 1 October 2019

0900 Tømmerneset

Woke up to a fine morning and sorted the van out ready for travel. I’m now about two and a half hours drive from Bodø, so a gentle amble in that direction and see what I come across on the way. 

1130

A change of plan! Before setting off I decided to take a little wander in the area of the rest area and found a gem of a place made up of small pools containing water plants with really good reflections. I ended up spending 2 hours photographing small details. 

And so I made my way south on the E6 passing through Moan (I’m sure it doesn’t mean the same in Norwegian!), Sildhopen, Vesterbotn and Straumen where I stopped and checked into the Strømhaug Camping campsite, having decided it was time I had a shower!!

I spent the rest of the day tidying the van up and giving it a clean inside (it has to be done sometime) and tidying myself up with a shower and washing some clothes.

The evening was spent processing photographs and writing this blog.

Goodbye Flakstad and more Aurora

Friday 27 September 2019

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Left Flakstad beach with some sadness. It’s been a good place to spend time there. Fiona and I had a great time here and on my last visit I met some great, interesting people with whom I exchanged contact details.

Stopped at Kilan and walked along the banks of the fjord but though it looked like an ideal setting I just couldn’t find a composition I was happy with. 

However a few kilometres further on I found a small lake where the reflections of the trees on the bank was just perfect. 

Beautiful autumn relections in a still lake

I also photographed a house by a lake because occasionally I see a house that to me is in the perfect location and this was one of those houses. It was by a lake, in the mountains, surrounded by trees and in what can only be described as a beautiful part of the world. 

The perfectly located house….I wonder what it’s like to live there??

Making my way now to the campsite at Sandsletta but changed my mind and booked into the site at Brustranda Sjøcamping. I stayed there with Fiona about a week ago. Lovely setting and good facilities. 

As the sun began to set, the reflection of the cabins on site, built in the style of the traditional rorbu fishing huts, just had to be photographed.

Brustranda, the perfect place to spend the night

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I got the van all sorted out, had a shower and a meal and now I’m parked in a lay-by up the road because there was too much light pollution at the site to watch  and photograph the aurora that’s happening right now. 

The two images above were taken just over a minute apart and you can see the Aurora changes shape very slowly. Twenty minutes later and it looks like the mountain is engulfed in green flame.

By 9.30pm the show was over and it was time to return to the campsite and turn in for the night. Another great day supplied by the landscape of northern Norway.