Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

A day of big climbs

By Stuart Lowe on

Standard start to the morning. The rain stopped and I packed. I had my now standard porridge with banana and Nutella (substitute, because it is a third of the price). I paid for my camping and the guy at the reception gave me advice on how many big hills to expect, and where to expect them, between Osen and Brekstad. As I was about to go, he rushed back inside his reception hut and produced a sticker for my bike! With it stuck on next to the Nordkapp one, I was off.

Looking back down the fjord whilst climbing up one of today's hills

Around the northern side of the fjord and over the bridge back to the south. Around the coast a bit more and then the first uphill started right where the campsite man had warned. Eventually I got to around 250m to a small wind farm he'd mentioned. The weather was overcast and threatening rain but yet to seriously deliver on that. I had the final big uphill for a while, taking me up to 360m or so. Then it was sort-of down to Åfjord. That is, it was down on average.

I stopped to have lunch at a sheltered picnic table outside a Coop. My luxury item today was a bag of own-brand, "xtra" value, tortilla chips. They were the cheapest crisps at 25 krones (£2.50). A tube of Pringles will set you back between £3 and £4.50 depending on the shop. Given my cash budget is down to 17 krones daily, for the rest of my time in Norway, I won't be wasting it on those. I have to somehow afford essential food, ferry fares, and occasional campsite fees.

With the hardest hills out of the way, I set off again. I had one more a few kilometres down the road that took me up to a junction. I had a choice. I could now follow the Dutch couple's route or the advice of the man from the campsite. I went with his suggestion which kept me truer to the coast but missed Trondheim out. I had been hoping to find somewhere there to take my empty gas canisters but that was weighed against the prices for places to stay. The Youth Hostel was apparently 770 krones! I turned right.

I had more hills to climb. Given that these were of the 150m variety, they probably don't count to Norwegians. After a spell of rain, things cheered up and I could remove my waterproofs. I reached the coast again at Botngård and cycled up around some headland to a flat farmland which seemed very out of place after the last few weeks. The fields felt like parts of the English coast but the farm buildings and flatness reminded me of parts of the Great Plains in Nebraska and eastern Iowa. That is, if you ignored the mountains in the backdrop.

Fjord view near Botngård this evening.

A field of wheat near Brekstad.

No, I haven't strayed into the US. This is near Austråt.

The road dropped down to the water, past an old Norwegian manor, to a little harbour and a campsite that had been recommended to me by the man at Osen. It was just after 7pm and I'd cycled 120 kilometres with 2.1 km of ascent (according to Google). I was tired. The man at the campsite reception was so surprised at how far I'd gone, and was going, that he decided he would let me stay for free. That was so kind of him. It also meant I stayed precisely on budget today. I was able to put my tent up in the evening sun so it dried out in time for the rain that started before I went to sleep.