Hjelmen, Svadalsfossen to Hellandabygdvegen

Last night just as we were settling down a car pulled into the picnic spot and it was our German stalkers, I will explain. On our very first night in Norway they pulled in next to us and ask whether we knew if they were allowed to camp there. They didn’t stop but moved on to a campsite. We then bumped into them again in the carpark for Preikestolen and then they pulled into our picnic spot last night. They are a fairly young couple and are either camping or sleeping in the car. They stopped in the car that night and washed in the steam, rather them than me. We had a chat with them and they are driving round for about 10 days and are from near Berlin. So far tonight there is no sign of them!

Day eight started bright and sunny so we said goodbye to our German friends and decided to do a walk before getting on the ferry. We walked up a hill called Hjelmen which has given the name to the area as apparently it looks like a helmet from the sea. Today we decided the Norwegians are very good at viewpoints, tunnels and bridges. We have seen lots of all three today. Firstly the viewpoints, when we got to the top of Hjelmen this morning there was an amazing viewpoint which you can see in the picture below together with a sculpture. In the UK you are often lucky if you get a bench. This walk wasn’t a famous one but was still so well set up and a much nicer experience than yesterday at Preikestolen as we didn’t see a soul.

Next we caught the ferry from Hjelmeland to Nesvik. The ferries all to seem to be about 15 minute hops and a standard price for us of 103K (£9.50). We then had a spectacular drive north towards Sand. Every turn brought a view with everything on a very large scale, we keep saying it is like Scotland on steroids. We did a few viewpoint and photo stops and the then got to Sand. Today was the day we needed to do our first big shop at the supermarket for some fresh fruit, veg and cider. Andy is still reeling from the price of the cider, 12 cans cost £42 and they were the cheapest we could find. He came to the conclusion that if he lived in Norway he would be a non-smoking, tee total vegetarian as everything bad for you is really expensive and the healthy food is not too bad. That said, we are travelling around free camping most nights and using free service points so actually we can’t really complain.

All of the route today has been following one of the Norweigian National Tourist Routes called Ryfylke. There are 18 set up around the country and they usually follow places of interest. Today we went to one of the bridges that has been built along the route called Hose Bru which apparently won bridge of the year in 2014, who knew there was such an award. Apparently it looks better at night when it is lit up. I didn’t manage to walk over the bridge as it had a grid floor open to the white water rapids quite a distance below. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like it, neither did Finn. We then intended on getting a ferry for a short hop across the water to Ropeid but unfortunately as we pulled up at where the ferry should leave from it had a sign saying the ferry had been replaced by Sandsfjord Dam Bridge. Unplanned detour required to get across the other side via the bridge.

After a stop at Svadalsfossen (waterfall) and a run up the 540 steps so we could get close to the top and we then had our eyes peeled for a overnight spot. We thought we had found one in the carpark of an old zinc mine and then some dodgy guys pulled in and did a circuit of the carpark, we decided to move on. As we were going through Hellandsbygdvegen, a narrow gorge with cliffs on one side and the river on the other it was some time before we found another pull over. We are parked in the middle of nowhere near a few houses in an area where the gorge has opened up. There is absolute silence around us and not a 3G or phone signal around. So although I am writing this tonight it will not be posted until we get a signal sometime tomorrow.

Overnight – N 59.72224 E 6.55964 near Breiborg

Miles Driven – 86

Miles Walked – 5.2

Weather – sunny with cloud afternoon.

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