Day 8. Hauge to Svinesland.
Distance 54km. Average 12.2km/h.
What we hadn't thought about the evening before was that the spot we camped in would not get any sun in the morning. So we got up and ate on the dank cold sunless dewy river bank. There was no chance that the tent was going to dry out. So in the end Damae took the tent up into the sun for a few minutes.
If we had found the previous days taxing then what lay ahead of us would test us to the limit. We could see on the map that there were several climbs on the way to Svinesland and not very many campsites afterwards. We made a decision to try to get to Svinesland that evening rather than trying to get further, which given the severity of some of the climbs (humour us we live in the Netherlands where getting to the top of a dike is considered by many to be a severe climb) was a good decision.
We had a hearty breakfast and said goodbyes to the Brit and Aussie, they left before we did. We first had to climb, after an innocent looking flat section just after Hauge it started. It went on and on and on....you get the idea. We have bikes with mountain bike type gearing, so we were able to plug along at 6-7km/h with our 24-34 stump pulling first gear (which I understand is a very low gear for a touring bike). Which we did for at least an hour.
Then along to Jøssingfjord. We'd started a quick descent, and came round a harpin bend to see a viewing point with a small kiosk. My lack of head for heights came into play again so it was only Damae that was able to enjoy the view.
Whilst Damae was looking at lots of rock, I read the historical information board. I learned that Jøssingfjord was the site of a naval incident in WW II that was apparently used by the Nazi regime as a pretext to invade Norway. It is a little bizarre that such a relatively remote place of such natural beauty played so important a role in in Europe's recent history.
It was time for a quick drink and a 'Jaap' (a Norwegian Mars bar clone bought from the kiosk) and we were off. Descending Jøssingfjord was rather interesting, we walked the first section from the viewing point to the tunnel on the inside edge. All that separates you from the sheer drop is a 20cm high concrete wall and a flimsy looking set of railings.
In the official guide some joker is actually sitting on the railings whilst posing for a group photo. This is one reason to do the route as described and not the wrong way round, you end up on the 'outside edge' of the road going in and out of fjords which can be very exposed.
In the old tunnel next to the new one, we came across a group of people laying out tables for lunch. A wedding dinner perhaps? Logical to want to eat there in the sun with that view (just like walking up to the water is logical in the Netherlands). On the way out of the tunnel I took this picture perhaps explaining why the new tunnel was made, and giving you a bit of an idea of the terrain.
We'd already realised that this section of the NSCR which includes Jøssingfjord and Åna-sira has compensations for the climbing. The scenery is spectacular and despite having already seen more rock in the previous week than we'd see in a year at home, Jøssingfjord was still amazing to see.