Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Journey to Valhalla - UK to Norway (and Back)

  1. #1

    Default Journey to Valhalla - UK to Norway (and Back)

    Journey to Valhalla - UK to Norway (and Back)




    You can view our route on a map here.


    We bought a new van! A bit of an upgrade you might say. Well at least now the canoe doesn’t look so ridiculous on top of the VW.





    We built a very quick frame bed and ratcheted it down. A bit of old carpet from a carpet fitters skip and a coat of paint made it quite livable. Oh yes and add some fairy lights for that feminine touch.



    Leaving the UK

    We headed down to Dover to take the ferry, rather than the Eurotunnel. We wanted to cross early in the morning and did a search to to find a great free camping spot by the sea front.





    Marine Parade is free after 5pm and before 9am between 1st May to September. IA perfect springboard to a holiday in Europe.
    That evening, while cooking tea on the beach, we booked, with P&O Ferries. £115 for the two of us, Inca (our dog) and the van. TopCashBack also did a deal for cash back on the price.





    Check-in was an hour before however, we got put on an earlier ferry which was lucky. Customs was quick with a few usual questions about sharps and a quick chat about fishing from canoes with the customs official.
    Inca was left in the van for the ferry journey and a ticket put in the window to indicate to staff a dog was present. The ferry staff did tell us we could go check on her during the journey if we wanted.
    Driving through Europe

    After docking in Calais it was an hour and a half drive to Bruges.
    In Bruges we couldn’t get into the underground car parks due to our van and canoe height. Centre parking was 2 hours max for €4.20. Either paying at the machine, via an app or through an SMS.
    Finding our first place to stay

    www.campercontact.com lists campsite and free sites where you can park and stay for a night.



    On the Bruges-Gent canal a lovely free parking on the waterside, (here on our map). It was big enough for about 8 vans on each side of the canal. The canal is used by some massive live on/work boats, the evenings were extremely quiet. There was a bar on the side we parked, which was great for a chilled beer and discussed Brexit with the locals – Obviously a hot topic.
    Belgium to Denmark

    This section of the journey took a couple of days. We tried to get into Gent for a canoe, but the parking seemed even more impossible to figure out than Bruges. Therefore, in the end we gave up and decided to put some miles on the road, continuing towards Bremen.
    We went through Gent onto Antwerpen, to Eindhoven then Venlo. We passed through the Kennedy Tunnel (which isn't the toll tunnel). In Velho we hit during rush hour, literally stand still traffic. We came off towards Moers and Wesel to Munster then Osnabrack and finally onto Bremen.
    It was getting late and we were both tired. On the website we found a free spot in Thedinghausen. We struggled to find it and after driving around the village for a long time we ended up pulling into a quiet side street to stealth camp. We weren’t that stealthy as Inca set the alarm off 5 times and we eventually figured out you need to lock from the inside not using the key fob. It ended up being the worst night ever. In the morning we moved quickly round the corner early and found a beautiful river, to sit and gather our plans for the drive ahead.
    Inca needed to have some worming treatment to be able to get into Norway; the same treatment they need to re-enter the UK from an Europe trip. Please click here for more information about taking your dog abroad. In Hamburg we found a really helpful vet that charged €15.50 for a full worming treatment. Google translate helped get the full mean across.
    Onto Denmark

    Back on the road we headed up the country to Denmark. The roads were very busy with lots of roadworks. On the way we booked the Hirtshals to Larvic ferry. Our UK phone company had madeUK phone companies had made UK data inclusive in Europe zone (including Norway) which helped a lot when planning on the go. It cost €194.60 for both of us, with dog (in vehicle) and the van (6m length and 2.6m height) with Colorline. The price had gone up from when I first booked so if you are planning it might be best to book early or on first viewing.
    Denmark looked lovely, especially driving past Vejie Fjord. We stopped at a campsite for the evening before crossing. Løkken Stand camping was 100KR for a stop over between 8pm-10am. Even turning up a little earlier they were happy to only charge us that price. It was an extra 2KR for showers and they had drinking water and a kitchen area. The site was right by the coast and just over the edge was a beautiful white sand beach. We would definitely recommend it before the crossing to Norway.
    The beach at Lokken is like wandering round the set of a Starwars film and littered with German bunkers from the second world war. The 150mm artillery bunkers look like the entrance to a cinema.












    Inca found an admirer too.





    One last thing to do is stock up on wine and beer before entering Norway and you guessed it – there an app for that. https://www.toll.no/en/services/norwegian-customs-app/
    Norway

    It took 3 hours 45 minutes to cross to Norway.
    IMPORTANT- one thing to remember is to TURN OFF your phone while on the ferry. As soon as the phones lost land signal we got a SMS from our network saying: "You have now switched to the ships data and will be charged £6per MB, £1.50ppm to make a call and £1.25ppm to receive a call." The ferry had switched us onto their data service called 'Telenor Maritime', costing us just £90 between us.
    Leaving the ferry we had to go into the 'items to declare' due to having the dog. It was straight forward process of checking passports and asking us about our wine quota. When entering Norway you are only allowed a certain amount of alcohol and tobacco. Please see click here for some more information.
    We passed through Hønefoss, a lovely little village.



    Valmunden Fjord

    We drove north towards Velmunden fjord for about 4 hours. The landscape, waters and houses we passed was incredible. As Norway has a right to roam act and we found a parking space next to the fjord and camped up in the van there for the night.
    The following day we took the canoe out with all the camping gear around the fjord. There’s almost a circuit you can complete of this fjord, the van was about 1km up the road. It barely gets dark during the summer, your body clock could get really out-of-sync. Make sure you have your midge repellent and a swim suit (optional) as the water is beautiful.
    We tried out our new DD hammocks. One tip is to get in it before your dog does otherwise they hog it and you’ll not be in for a great nights sleep. The underside is still a little cold so we are going to make some mods to the set up for next time.


    We survived off foraging and fishing. There’s an app for that too (getting a day ticket that is.)



    The campsite was littered with Pines Boletes (Boletus Pinophilus) – Class edibles. These made a lovely tea accompanied with wild trout.



    We sun dried some of the others to take home.



    After a couple of nights camping we took to the road again to Næroyfjord. Driving through this beautiful city you just can't describe how amazing it is. With hills surrounding roads so high snow was still on the tops, in June! There are lots of tunnels through the mountains. The Lærdal Tunnel is the longest road tunnel road tunnel at 24.51km, taking about 20minutes to pass through.





    At 3 intervals along the tunnel there are caves where blue light is shone to help with claustrophobia and drivers falling asleep.
    Næroyfjord




    It was getting late by the time we reached a small village called Bakka, which gave access to Næroyfjord, so we pulled in for the night. The van got surrounded by a highland cow, a horse, 2 ponies and a herd of goats. Definitely in the middle of nowhere.
    Back in the centre of this small village with only 30 people living there, we unpacked all the canoe and camping gear and headed out into what can only be describe as Valhalla. The surrounding mountains reach heights of 1,660 metres, with the depth varying between 12 and 500 metres. The 18-kilometre (11 mi) long fjord is only 500 metres (1,600 ft) wide in some parts is now classed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.







    We spent a couple of days paddling and one night on the shores next to a stunning waterfall.




    Having the stove in the tent was really worth and it was great for baking a fresh loaf of bannock bread on top, which set us up for the next couple of days.








    We also enjoyed a tin of Jaka, a Danish and Norwegian camping delight ( Burgers in gravy) and I say we as Inca loved them too.
    Road trip over the Norwegian mountains

    Back at the van we looked at the route back towards Sweden and picked the scenic route road 55. Leaving Bakka we stopped at Lærdalsøyri village. A lovely wooden built village, of 161 wooden houses dating from 1700-1800, which is on the "heritage village" list. It wasn't too busy when we arrived but from pictures it looks like it can be quite touristy.


    There is a short ferry to catch to get to route 55. Fodnes to Mannheller ferry was 114KR, about £10, and took about 15minutes to cross. We passed loads of small villages, including Solvon, and the mountain views where breath taking. One of the highest waterfalls, Feigumlossen, was across the water at 218m high.





    In Skiolden, again a site from Campercontact, we camped right on the waters edges. Skiolden itself has a shop and tourist information centre. What a view from the harbours edge. One of the best spots for an overnight.














    Continuing on route 55, traveling further up the mountains and reaching 1400ft at the highest. The road has some extremely sharp twist and turns, but really worth the journey.


    The higher you ascended more snow appeared, be careful during the winter as the whole road can close.


    The road finishes it's journey at Lom. Pulling into the car park there's a beautiful old wooden church, waterfalls and shops.
    Towards Oslo

    We continued towards Vågåmo and back along the other side of the water we parked up for the night. A wooden shack held a toilet. The parking lot was the start of the wolf trail, so we adventured on an evening walk. Across the road there was a box with maps and like a guest book to sign. The trail has 3 routes; a 3km, 5km and 8km. After crossing 3 streams you arrive at an old wolf trap, if you don't get lost on the process. All three routes circle back round to the car park.
    A friend from Oslo contacted us on our trip asking if we'd like a tour and bed for the night. We jumped at the chance for a shower and a catch up. Stopping at Brumundal for a quick coffee before arriving in Oslo.
    The following day they took us into the centre and gave us a tour of the Opera House, Palace, Old Castle and Town Hall. Our hosts looked after us extremely well. But back onto the road we go.


    Through to Sweden

    We had to stop for a quick break and a nap, pulling in just before Skjønhaug. A small green pull in with an information board about how the village collapsed under a mine in 1967.
    Lake Vanderydsvattnet we aimed for wasn't as good as we thought, with no way of putting the canoe in. The free camper parking was a basic grassed field. Heavy rain throughout the night and morning meant we wanted to get off a potentially muddy spot.
    Arriving back on the main road we could plan for the day ahead. Varberg was the first destination for the sea and beach. The tide was in, but Inca found a small patch of sand to play with. Varberg has a castle, which was used as a prison at some points in the past. While we were there a triathlon was taking place, therefore we watched the start of the swimming.



    Lake Immeln

    In the centre we found the tourist information centre and brought a blue parking wheel for 20KON. These can be used throughout Europe and would have been helpful at the start of out journey, when parking within the cities. Road signs show you how long you can park for, you set the time you arrived and are back at your car by the allocated time allowed. Mignon cafe, behind the church, serve some lovely coffee and cake before carrying on the journey.
    Our next stop was Lake Immeln for a final paddle and camp before the journey home. Within Immeln village there's a free car park, next to the canoe hire center, and a place to put the canoe in.





    We spent 2 nights paddling and camping on the lake. Foraging for food, finding bilberries, for a bilberry pie, mushrooms and fishing for fish on the lake. You do need a fishing license to fish which you can easily get online for how ever long you need it for.





    The lake is huge and you could spend a week or two paddling around the different areas and islands.
    Back into Europe

    Leaving Immeln, I searched for the combined ticket offered for the Øresund bridge and ferry to Germany. However they only accepted credit cards, which meant we could do this but there wasn't a huge amount of difference. The Øresund bridge is from Malmo over to Copenhagen, it's 8km long and is the longest combined road and railway bridge in Europe. The crossing is completed by a 4km tunnel which leads you to Denmark. This road is a toll road and cost us €52, but is quite a spectacular crossing.





    We stopped an hour or two in Copenhagen walking around Christiana which is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood. An experience not to be missed.


    Crossing through Demark we reached the ferry crossing at Rodby to take us to Puttgarden in Germany. This cost us £84.60 and takes about 1 hour 20 minutes for the crossing. We stopped in a nice little motorhome site next to Lake Lensahn, €10 plus €2.50 for electric. It was next to a public swimming pool and you could use the toilets and showers there when it was open.





    Time for the vet again for another working treatment. Straight forward again but we had to give the tablet this time round. Although don't leave your phone with the receptionist
    after translating what we needed!
    After hours of trying to get through Bremen, AGAIN, due to road works and road closures we found a free campervan spot at Dümmer Lake. It was a nice quiet spot next to a couple of cafe/restaurants. There were public toilets a short walk away that you could use also.
    Our final section before the UK

    Our final stretch of the journey took us back towards Burges and to a little village of Damme. It had a double canal running through, which was tree-lined, absolutely beautiful. Even though a lot of place were close when we got there we found a lovely outside cafe called De S...Misse.
    At Calais the ferry was over 2 hours late, which wasn't good when you're tired and you just want to go home. The customs through Calais checked our van and passports twice. They wanted to see into the van and under the bed area, as well as scanning Inca's microchip. However once in Dover we parked back up at the Marine Parade and got a couple of hours sleep before heading back up the country to home.
    After 3385 miles round trip we gain some amazing memories we will treasure forever. We will follow up with blogs going into more detail on each place soon, but in the meantime checkout our other adventures in Loch Lomond in Scotland, Bala Lake in Wales and on the Norfolk Broads.



    You can view our route on a map here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Posts
    4,068

    Default

    looks good!

    although... are you sure it was a good idea to eat those mushrooms before driving through the tunnel
    and that tinned burger... reminds me of: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...-survival-food

    from immeln in sweden you can spend several days exploring a whole lake system: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...aslangen-halen
    (sorry, images dropped out of that old blog - i'll have to re-insert them from my new hosting)

  3. #3

    Default

    Brilliant. Haha tinned Cheese burger OMG. Thanks for that - made me giggle. .
    The mushrooms were very tasty - a very close relative of the porcini - and surprisingly the burgers were alright too.
    We intend to return and explore more of Sweden so any tips for exciting trips like that are appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Posts
    4,068

    Default

    there are a lot of nice trip reports, just do a search in the blog section on "sweden". anything by scoutmaster or mal grey can be highly recommended.
    that immeln area is probably the easiest to get to as it's so far down south.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks - We use the site quite a lot and it often comes up in google search too. Excellent resource.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Kettering Northamptonshire
    Posts
    1,260

    Default

    Looks a cracking trip - I spend a fair bit of time motorbiking & wild camping in Norway & Sweden; truly gorgeous places.

    I used to hop on a ferry from Immingham to Brevik (near Larvik) disguised as cargo but this year DFDS were told by the Border Agency that such practices were a terrorist threat so I'm now faced with the long shlep up through Denmark - my application to tack a week extra on is currently being processed by Mrs Patterdale.

    Enjoyed your tale immensely so thanks for posting.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  7. #7
    Crow's Avatar
    Crow is offline こんにちは。私はカラスと私はスコットラ ンドの出身で す。
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Third stone from the sun
    Posts
    16,117

    Default

    Good blog!

    What I liked about it was you've included tons of factual information and tips throughout, which will be really helpful to anyone planning to go to any of these places in future. (Like me - you never know!)

    Nice one.


    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
    If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it


    Crow Trip Log

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    146

    Default

    Looks like you and the dog had a great time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southport, really in Lancashire, UK
    Posts
    2,020

    Default

    A great idea for a trip. The van accommodation has got me thinking but will the significant other half agree?

    We have done a trip similar to yours but minus canoe (other half doesn't canoe). We went Harwich to Hook of Holland, a bit dearer??

    I love the foraging bit but my fishing skills are such that vegetarian may be the only option.

    Great blog thanks for sharing.

    Doug

    ps I can't get through to your wordpress link, I get error 404?
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  10. #10

    Default

    Hi Thanks for commenting - I hope you get to go again. Sounds an interesting way to travel.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dougoutcanoe View Post
    A great idea for a trip. The van accommodation has got me thinking but will the significant other half agree?

    We have done a trip similar to yours but minus canoe (other half doesn't canoe). We went Harwich to Hook of Holland, a bit dearer??

    I love the foraging bit but my fishing skills are such that vegetarian may be the only option.

    Great blog thanks for sharing.

    Doug

    ps I can't get through to your wordpress link, I get error 404?
    Hi Thanks and thanks for letting me know about the link it should be working now.

  12. #12

    Default

    Haha - Yes - She loves being able to go wild.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southport, really in Lancashire, UK
    Posts
    2,020

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ant_Gregroy View Post
    Hi Thanks and thanks for letting me know about the link it should be working now.
    It works now and I will study your dehydration and recipes along with the other bits.

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    22,362

    Default

    Great stuff, would love to paddle in the fjord lands.

    I see you returned over the Bridge of Doom as MarkL calls it. Presumably it wasn't windy or you'd have commented....

    Having done a similar distance getting to Rogen last month, I might wait awhile before doing it again!

    Thanks for the useful info.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  15. #15
    Crow's Avatar
    Crow is offline こんにちは。私はカラスと私はスコットラ ンドの出身で す。
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Third stone from the sun
    Posts
    16,117

    Default

    Fight the horde, sing and cry, 'Valhalla, I am coming!'"


    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
    If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it


    Crow Trip Log

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dougoutcanoe View Post
    It works now and I will study your dehydration and recipes along with the other bits.

    Doug
    Hey Doug Thanks for taking the time to have a look.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Great stuff, would love to paddle in the fjord lands.

    I see you returned over the Bridge of Doom as MarkL calls it. Presumably it wasn't windy or you'd have commented....

    Having done a similar distance getting to Rogen last month, I might wait awhile before doing it again!

    Thanks for the useful info.
    Hi Mal, No it wasn't windy over the bridge of doom . We had quite a bit at Immeln though it was tough work getting back.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    SW France
    Posts
    2,848

    Default

    Its a great place to wander with a van and paddle, that's for sure. It's a shame there isn't a ferry direct over there any more as the road trip is a real drag at times but it's worth it if you take enough time once there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ant_Gregroy View Post
    Hi Mal, No it wasn't windy over the bridge of doom . We had quite a bit at Immeln though it was tough work getting back.
    I have it on good authority that it is an engineering marvel you know.
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Cromford, Derbyshire
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkL View Post
    Its a great place to wander with a van and paddle, that's for sure. It's a shame there isn't a ferry direct over there any more as the road trip is a real drag at times but it's worth it if you take enough time once there.

    I have it on good authority that it is an engineering marvel you know.
    Hi MarkL, I so wish they had the direct ferry over - it would have made the journey quicker! But completely different experience. AND we'd have missed the bridge!!

    Ant_Gregory will tell you I got a little 'obsessed' with the bridge on our trip, so this one we definitely had to do!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    North Angus
    Posts
    404

    Default

    Sounds like a fantastic trip.
    We had a day paddle one Naeroyfjord some years ago when there was still a ferry service to Bergen. It's a magical place, but rather intimidating once you get out onto the wider part of the fjord.
    I'd love to go back with a canoe, but the road trip from Scotland is a bit daunting.

  21. #21

    Default

    Yes that would be some drive. We drove from the midland but You would have a few extra. The further north you go it seems to get more impressive. We found the bottom of Norway looks very similar to the NW Scotland. Hope you get to go again and its a shame they don't run that ferry anymore.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Dordrecht, The Netherlands
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Great blog! And I will put Immeln on the list for next year...
    --
    Martin
    Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris (If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar).

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •