Missions and Transitions: The End is Near 2


It seems like a fair old while since my last Norwegian update; and it probably had been. There are many things to talk about and a fair few photos including this rather heroic shot from a bit of a hucking session on the upper Raundalselvi…

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Max Bilbow Freewheeling on the Raundalselvi

Skjerva Mission
The Lower Skjerva, unlike so many great Norwegian rivers, is extremely inaccessible. The day after a trip down the river, my friend (let’s call him Jim) and hiked in to retrieve his kayak.

Upon roughly locating the area where we had left the boat, we proceeded to rappel down trough the trees, maneuvering over the moist mossy uneven slopes by picking our route from tree to tree. Once our descent acquired a consistent rhythm both Jim and I agreed that the ordeal became less terrifying and more fun.

Once we reached the last run of our descent we were able to see a bright abandoned kayak, shining like a beacon on the riverbank. Spurred on by this sight, we proceeded down the most sketchy (and sometimes vertical) part of our descent.

We were quite surprised to find out that the kayak we’d been stalking did in fact belong to someone else. It had been accidentally discarded by a group of kayakers who were paddling that day. Fortunately for us, Jim’s kayak remained tied to a tree less than 100 metres upstream, within eye shot of the second kayak.

The hike out proved more friendly than the hike in: a 45 degree nettle-covered slope with minimal vertical ledges and clear routes for hauling a boat up…. Climb. Stop. Haul. Climb. Stop. Haul. Again, once again we settled into a rhythm and much fun was had by all… tho I don’t think I’d recommend it as a regular pastime.

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And it was all worth it because Jim got a whole day and a half’s boating in before his kayak soloed over Ulla 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 (above).

The Journey back to Voss
Last week we left for Voss; traveling via the Rauma, Valdola and Sogndalselva; and I had the privilege of christening my brand new bright green Jefe on little Hooker, on the Upper Rauma before heading over to the Valdola.

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Max Bilbow on the Cave Drop, Valdola.

The cave drop (above) is a spectacular start to the Valdola. The river itself is an amazing feast for all levels of creek-boater with pool-drop rapids and waterfalls that are all easy to scout and portage if necessary. Deceptively easy at first, the river then picks up a bit of difficulty when it reaches a fairly continuous gorge. The gorge itself is OK accept for a fairly shonky looking double drop at the exit which Nick and I did not fancy running on our own. This did however mean that we were committed to a must make boof into an eddy above. Fun stuff.

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We then proceeded towards Voss via the famous cyber-tunnel (above). We decided not to stay in Sogndal since the proceeding week of rain had put the famous Triple Waterfall Combo up to a biblical level!

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Tom Parker on the upper Rauma

As it was Tom Parker’s last week in Norway, we decided to go all out and paddle a few of Voss’s classics. From the 10 metre fall on the Jordalselvi to freewheeling off a 5 metre ‘pleasure waterfall’, good times were had by all. A small portion of these good times have been compiled into this short video.

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Before Tom left he told me he would be watching my blog. So this is for you, Tom!

It’s been a fun 8 weeks or so in Norway and the best is yet to come. However I can’t help but notice the exciting goings on of my fellow British kayakers: The Four Borders expedition team seem to be having a smashing time and are sending back some spectacular photos.

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Tom Parker on the Brandseth

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Tim Trew and I will be making the most of our last week in Norway; the full round-up will be here as usual.

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