Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2008-->Norway.-->Day 18

Day 18-1. Midsund to Ona.

Distance D 38 km Max 43 km/h Time 2.27:54 Average 15.5 km/h
Distance S 38.14 km Max 51.0 km/h Time 2.14:50 Average 17 km/h

Somewhere between the end of Damae's diary entry and the start of today we managed to decide what we were going to do. The new plan didn't involve getting up excruciatingly early and trying to get past Ona and back onto the mainland in one day. On one map we had found a campsite marked on the island of Harøya. Looking at the ferry timetables it was obvious that if we stopped there we could get back to the mainland easily the following day. Great!

We breakfasted in a relaxed manner and started packing away. Then Karin called over to us saying that there were two deer, a doe and foal across the mudflat. I tried a few times to get a nice shot of them and this was the best of the attempts. After the ritual swapping of email addresses we hopped on our bikes and by ten thirty were on our way. We were to start by retracing our steps, first cycling back to Dyrna and from there taking the ferry back to Brattvåg. The bad weather seemed to have gone and the sun was shining as we headed West and it looked like it was set for the day.

On the ferry to Brattvåg we fell into conversation with a native of Midsund who now made his money living in Oslo. He too had been up for a wedding. He told us of some of the challenges that the Town Councils of both Midsund and Brattvåg faced particularly, the problem of dwindling populations. In the case of Brattvåg a lot of foreigners mostly single men had moved there to do the work that needed to be done there in the fishing and oil industry. Brattvåg had changed as a result and according to him, there was now a notable increase in public order offences.

We had suspected that Project Kommunes faced challenges in maintaining population for good reason. After all if Norwegians preferred Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen why would anyone else want to live in a small place a day's drive from a big city. In the last couple of days we had heard just why such communitites were having these problems and the subtle or not so subtle reasons why migration was occurring. The question we kept (and keep) asking ourselves is would we want to take a chance on a place like Midsund or Lom ? Any kids we might have would have to move away to study and work and in twenty years time maybe there might not be enough people in the kommune for there to be local services such as health care. A conundrum.

This conversation occupied us for most of the first ferry trip of the day. I remember looking out of the window whilst chatting to see the sunny hilly coastline passing us by and before we knew it we were in Brattvåg again. Then shortly afterwards we boarded the ferry out to Harøya and watched the remainder of the passengers arrive. It was pretty empty and we pondered the economics of running these ferries and if it was sustainable.

We arrived at a quarter past one on Harøya at the small hamlet of Myklebust and were a little surprised to find a flat low lying island. All around us was green grass and farmland. It was quite different to the rugged and much bigger landscape of Midsund. Our first task was to find the alleged campsite. We'd expected to see a sign near to the dock but the local information board did not show a campsite and neither were there any other signs. After cycling for a couple of kilometres, way past where the turning would be to the campsite, we realised that there wasn't a campsite here.

We paused and discussed what we were going to do. As it was quite early in the day we decided to push on across Harøya and take the ferry across to Ona. Maybe there we'd find a campsite or a nice wild camping spot and failing that take the next ferry out of Ona. It seemed the best option as it was too early really to be making camp. As Damae headed on I took a picture of the view across to the mainland. There was a slight misty haze in the distance contrasting with the brilliant sun and otherwise clear views all around. The minor stress of how we were going to take in Ona and the Islands left us. Wherever we were going to end up today wouldn't matter as in the summer sun everywhere was just beautiful.

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