26 May 2015 Preikestolen
Climbed all the UK 3000ft mountains – where next? Answer: Norway!
It had been a long-held ambition of mine to sail up the coast of Norway on a Hurtigruten voyage, perhaps to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. But 2005 came and went, and life got a bit busy with work and family (and climbing a few Munros!). However, we decided to go for it in 2015. As usual, plans developed and grew legs. Why not add a few days in Stavanger at the start of our trip, and hike to the iconic Preikestolen?
We had booked ahead with Tide, which included the ferry to Tau and the bus to the start of the walk. And so, on a blowy but bright morning, we boarded the 09.20 ferry from Stavanger Fiskepiren (the pier was only 5 minutes walk from our hotel).
The ferry took 40 minute cross to cross to Tau, where a coach was waiting to take us through Jorpeland, then up a winding road through forest to a car park in the hills at Preikestolen Fjellestue, the starting point for the walk. On the way, we were befriended by a French girl, Solange, travelling alone, who was glad to have companions who could speak a little French!
It was around 10.30 when we started on the walk, following a good trail leading uphill form the carpark.
It was a lovely 2 hour walk up through woodland, up stone staircases, across boggy bits on duckboards, past some mountain lakes.
Now we were nearly there, with the 600m drop to Lysefjord right at the side of the path. No barriers – this is Norway!
And, finally we arrive – what an amazing place!
We spent a full hour up there, daring to dangle our feet (just) over the edge, watching braver (or more foolhardy) individuals sitting or standing right on the edge. Must be one of the mpst amzing places I have eaten a picnic lunch! The whole top is almost level, and it was swarming with people. We stepped across the great crack, hoping that today wasn;t the day when the whole rock would plunge down to the fjord below!
Finally, we managed to tear ourselves away, and climbed up the crag behind for dramatic views down on to the top of the rock.
With a final glance at this dramatic place, we headed on over the hill behind to descend by a slightly different route, away from the crowds.
We donned our cagoules for a few minutes as we scrambled over rocks while a shower swept over us, but the air soon cleared again as we descended on the other side. Son we rejoined the main path, and continued down to the mountain lake, where we were entertained by a group of young people leaping into the cold water.
The path down gave us great views as we descended back to Preikestolen Fjellestue. We had time to explore the hostel and souvenir shop before boarding the coach at 4pm to take us back to Tau. Lovely evening for a sail back to Stavanger.