Trip to the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia during the Covid-19 Pandemic – Part 9 – The UNESECO world heritage mining town of Roros, the Rondane National Park and the journey out of Norway

The previous blog covers Narvik, Tranoy, Rognan and the blood road, concluding when Duncan and Liz left the Arctic Circle, with very heavy hearts.

Day 60: 4 September 2020 –  From the walkers carpark Duncan walked the dogs to the potholes of Jettegrytene. Although very wet, the forest walk to Jettegrytene was very attractive with the rustic autumn colour change starting to appear.

After the walk, headed south from the carpark for Jettegrytene on the Villmarksveien, which is an alternative route in Norland county to the E6 and winds 133km through mountain and forest villages between Korgen and Majavatn, using roads Fv806, Fv7340, Fv7334, Fv7336 and Rv73. The photographs below capture aspects of this leg of the trip

The overnight parking for day 60 was on the eastern side of Nedre Fiplingvatnet. The map below shows the route taken on day 60 and illustrates where the photographs have been taken:

Day 60 Route

Day 61: 5 September 2020 – As per the weather forecast it rained all morning through until mid-afternoon making visibility poor for sightseeing.

Heading south on the Fv7336 we joined the European Route E6 just south of Ovre Fiplingvatnet, where it was signed that the next main town, Steinkjer was 198km south.

Steinkjer is a well serviced town with supermarkets, fuel stations and facilities to replenish drinking water / empty the campervan waste.

Duncan and Liz also tried to obtain a contract less data SIM card for the smartphone, without having a contract, but this proved difficult. Back in the UK, they purchase on a flexible basis the call minutes / data each month without a contract using Giffgaff. In 2020 Giffgaff allowed over 2 months usage as if in the UK, but this was about to expire with an automatic transfer onto a EU roaming tariff, until the phone was used again back in the UK. Hence, they tried to obtain a prepaid SIM with international roaming for the remainder of the trip. The staff in various stores were extremely helpful even escorting Duncan and Liz through the shopping precinct to other stores in order to try and meet our needs. Eventually they found what we were after; however, the store didn’t have the required form to fax to permit it to be registered and being Saturday afternoon, the Phone Service Providers offices were closed until Monday. So it was with some frustration that they had to abort the idea after a couple of hours trying. As it happened the roaming tariff was not as bad as one had anticipated.

Overnight parking was found on Trondheim fjord shoreline, near Mule, Levanger.

The map below shows the route taken on day 61 and illustrates where the photographs have been taken:

Day 61 Route

Day 62: 6 September 2020 –  After a late start the first stop was at Steinvikholm Castle on the Skatval peninsula.

Steinvikholm, Trondelag County, Norway

In 1525, Olav Engelbrektsson, the last Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Norway, started building his fortress and magnificent residence, the grandest building in Norwegian medieval history. The Steinvikholm Castle was completed in 1532. Engelbrektsson ruled Norway from the castle for several years, as both a noble and clerical leader. In 1537, Steinvikholm Castle was the centre of one of the most important events in Nordic history – the Danish takeover of power and reformation from Catholic to Protestant. Afterwards an overlord used the castle as his residence to rule the North of Norway for almost 40 years; however, with modern weapons it was not a defensible structure. From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site.

Steinvikholm, Trondelag County, Norway
Steinvikholm, Trondelag County, Norway

From Steinvikholm Castle progressed 12km south east to the village of Hell, where we picked up county road Fv705. Apart from Hell’s interesting name it is the sign at the railway station’ ‘Hell Gods – Expedition’ and is known to be extremely cold dropping to -25 degrees Celsius in winter (mean average for January is -5 degrees Celsius).

Welcome to Hell

Unlike the UK where mail is delivered to each premises door, in Norway mail is delivered to central delivery points, from which residents then collect their delivery.

Centralised mail delivery point

Fv705 is 143km long and runs from Hell near Trondheim to Brekken in Roros, where it meets county road 31. The route is attractive passing large lakes, fishing rivers, rough mountains, deep forests and a number of old settlements.

Day 62 Overnight Parking

The map below shows the route taken on day 62 and illustrates where the photographs have been taken:

Day 62 Route

Day 63: 7 September 2020 –  Travelled southwards along the meandering Fv705 which gradually climbed up to 880m altitude, before dropping slightly to 700m where it plateaus with lakes and reindeer wandering freely.

Overlooking the lake at Stuggusjoen from Fv705 at 880m altitude
Reindeer, Stuggsjoen, Trondelag County, Norway
Reindeer, Stuggsjoen, Trondelag County, Norway

Just south of Selbu, adjacent to the Nedre Nea hydroelectric power station there is parking with toilet facilities. The hydro-electric plant was built between 1987 and 1990 and has information signs in Norwegian, Duncan and Liz used the Web Translator App which deciphers and translates texts and photos.

Powerstation Information Board

This app was extensively used during the visit. Very near the parking there is a gated bridge across the river Nea, which allows foot passenger crossing, taking you into gravelled track within the forest that runs alongside the river. Duncan and Liz took the dogs for a lengthy walk here. There was quite a strong breeze and when the sun was obscured by cloud, the temperature dropped quite significantly; partly because of the 700m altitude.

Reindeer wandering freely

Day 63 Route

Day 64: 8 September 2020 –  Duncan and Liz travelled a short distance down Fv31 to the UNESCO world heritage site mountain village of Røros, which is at an altitude of 650m and one of the oldest settlements of wooden buildings in Europe, with some houses dating back to the 1700’s.  Copper was discovered in the area in 1644 and as a result the settlement was established, which became one of the most important mining communities in Norway, where the copper was taken to Trondheim for shipping. Smelting in Røros continued until 1977.

Roros is extremely impressive and well worth a visit.

At Roros there is a motorhome service point to the south of the village in an industrial area.

Motorhome service point

From Roros travelled southwards on Fv30 through Os, where Duncan and Liz parked near the river Glomma which is the longest and largest river in Norway. The 598-kilometre (372 mi) long river has a drainage basin that covers a full 13% of Norway’s area, all in the southern part of Norway. At its fullest length, the river runs from the lake Aursund near Røros in Sør-Trøndelag and runs into the Oslofjord at Fredrikstad. Major tributaries include the Vorma River, which drains Lake Mjøsa, joining the Glomma River at Nes. The Lågen drains into Lake Mjøsa, collecting drainage from the large Gudbrandsdal valley and significantly increasing the Glomma’s flow.

River Glomma, Innlandet County, Norway

Duncan and Liz walked the dogs alongside the river, where they found an array of different fungii.

Double rainbow alongside River Glomma
Day 64 Route

Day 65: 9 September 2020

After a leisurely forest walk alongside the river Glomma, Duncan and Liz continued southwards towards the Rondane National Park, enroute passing through Tolga with its 2 ski jump slopes and then Tynset via county road FV30, then southwards on National Road RV3 for approximately 20km before heading westwards on county road FV29.

Tolga

F V 29 slowly climbs and the landscape changes from dense forested mountains to less dense forest covered in a white carpet of lichen, which from a distance resembled a covering of snow. The lichen grows up to 8 cm high, covers immense areas, and serves as pasture for both reindeer and elk (moose).

FV29 passes through Grimsbu which was an attractive village, with roadside milk churns that we have occasionally seen outside farms whilst touring Norway.

Overnight parking was at an altitude of 770m alongside the river Grimsa, just off county road FV27, which is considered one of the most scenic drives in Norway. There was significant evidence of elk, but unfortunately none were seen.

Grimsa
Say 65 Route

Day 66: 10 September 2020

The morning dog walk was alongside the river Grimsa. Although we did not see elk, there was evidence that they were numerous, given the abundance of elk scat littering the floor.

After breakfast progressed southwards along FV27 alongside the Atnelva river. At Strombu there is a large free parking area with toilet facilities which is a popular starting place for hiking in the Rondane National Park. Rondane is the oldest national park in Norway, established in 1962 and contains ten peaks above 2,000m.

Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway

The walk Duncan and Liz did, was through lichen covered forest and involved the crossing of several streams whilst gradually climbing from the valley bottom. There were predominantly three types of lichen: Cladia, Cladonia Stellaris and Cladonia rangiferna also known as Reindeer Lichen or Reindeer Moss.

Lichen Carpet, Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Lichen Carpet, Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Cladia (lichen), Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Cladia (lichen), Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Cladonia-Stellaris-lichen-rondane-national-park-innlandet-county-norway - ...behind every picture, there is a story...
Cladonia-Stellaris-lichen-rondane-national-park-innlandet-county-norway
Cladonia Rangiferna (Reindeer Lichen/Moss), Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Cladonia Rangiferna (Reindeer Lichen/Moss), Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
3 differrent Lichens, Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
3 differrent Lichens, Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway

Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Fauna in the Rondane National Park

During the walk a tree was found to have been damaged by elk and at the base of it was the velvet from elk antlers. One can only presume that the tree bark was stripped from an elk rubbing its antlers against the tree trunk.

From Rondane Duncan and Liz decided to head towards Elgland.

Lake Atnsjoen and Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway
Lake Atnsjoen and Rondane National Park, Innlandet County, Norway

This route passes south alongside Lake Atnsjoen before climbing to an altitude of over 1000m, after which it drops down to the Hamlet of Venabygd  which is at 700m and has a quaint church, a hotel and a few widely dispersed wooden huts. It was somewhat of a surprise to find a settlement built on top of the mountains!

The Fv27 then descends down to an altitude of 200m meters into a Gudbrandsdalen valley where it joins European route E6. Elgland is on County road  FV255, which can be picked up at Vistra, (circa 20km on the E6 northwards from the Fv27) .

Overnight parking was found in Elgland which is where the famous Elk migration takes place. That evening Duncan and Liz walked in the forest to a Radio Mast which gave a good view of Lake Olstappen.

Elk Hoof Print at Elgland.
Day 66 Route

Today the UK government published that travellers from Sweden no longer need to quarantine when entering Norway, hence Duncan and Liz decided to change the route they had planned and instead of taking a ferry to Denmark, would travel into Sweden a little south of Oslo and then take the Øresund Bridge across into Denmark. Duncan and Liz just love the freedom of campervan travelling where you can drift and change plans as and when you like!

Day 67: 11 September 2020

In the early hours of the morning Duncan took the dogs out for a walk in the forest in an attempt to see what wild life was about using a head torch for illumination; however, all was exceptionally quite. It’s quite a nice experience wandering in forest in the pitch black.

Later that morning both Duncan and Liz took the dogs and redid the same walk that they did the previous evening. No wildlife was seen, but there was evidence of elk and the also fresh scat from unknown animals of considerable size. Researching images of scat from animals found in the region it was most likely that one was from a Brown Bear. A claw from an unidentified animal was also found.

Animal claw from unidentified animal, Elgland
Lake Breisjoen, Elgland, Innlandet County, Norway
Huts nestled in the forest at high altitudes with no significant roadways servicing to them, Elgland

Later that afternoon Duncan and Liz moved further south along County Road Fv255, stopping at Espedalen

Overnight parking was found off the Fv250 above Vingrom which involved a sharp climb of 640m to an altitude of 760m.

Day 67 Route

Day 68: 12 September 2020

From the overnight parking Duncan and Liz steadily descended on county road Fv250 down to Dokka, seeing red deer along the way. From Dokka they drove alongside Randsfjorden which is 77km long and is Norway’s fourth largest lake. Unfortunately, there were no parking places for the first half of the lake which meant when a very late lunch at Bjoneroa.

Bjoneroa on Randsfjorden, Innlandet County, Norway
Bjoneroa on Randsfjorden, Innlandet County, Norway

At the bottom of lake Randsfjorden, is Jevnaker where the motorhome drinking water can be replenished / waste emptied.

There were numerous bus stops around but official parking places were few and far between thus resulting in Duncan and LIZ stopping less than they would have liked. It seems that some municipalities (sub-division of a county) provide plenty of parking places, whilst others provide non. This can result in long distances between parking places especially municipalities can be extremely large, with most of the roads being clearways, irrespective on the width of the road.

Duncan and Liz eventually moved from Innlandet County go Viken County where they found an overnight stop using the Caramaps apps at a village of Solumsmoen which is on county road Fv287, which as the crow flies us 50km from Oslo.

Day 68 Route

Day 69: 13 September 2020

Today Duncan and Liz left Norway. From the overnight parking at Solumsmoen, they returned back to Amot taking a couple of photographs on the way.

Linderudveien, between Solumsmoen and Amot, Viken County, Norway
Linderudveien, between Solumsmoen and Amot, Viken County, Norway

At Amot down onto the Rv350 to Hokksund, before picking up the E134 which skirts  South Westerly around Oslo, crossing the Oslofjorden via the Oslofjord Tunnel (Oslofjordtunnelen), which is a subsea road tunnel connecting Hurum and Frogn in Norway. It is 7306-meters long reaching a depth of 134 meters below mean sea level, is three laned with a maximum gradient of seven percent.

Circa 10km after the tunnel, the E134 joins the E6 circa which is the main North South Road through Norway and indeed also down the west coast of Sweden.

On the southerly journey through Norway, Duncan and Liz have taken many loops off and back onto the E6, thus allowing them to explore Norway at a more leisurely pace, since the E6 is mostly a clearway, thus limiting the opportunities for photography. It should be noted that parts of the E6 below Trondheim also attract tolls in Norway (but not in Sweden); however, it by far the fastest route.

Around Oslo, the volume of traffic increased significantly as it became more built up, with apartment buildings mixing in with traditional Norwegian style houses (not huts) along the hillsides. Although it was still mountainous and wooded, the hills were not as high as other parts of Norway.

Once on the E6, Duncan and Liz travelled southwards until they approached the Swedish border where they decided to cross the border using the Fv118, since they thought it may miss congestion at the border control. In fact, using the old Svinesund Bridge there was no border control crossing into Sweden. This was not the case for those crossing from Sweden to Norway, where there was border control which appeared to also have Covid19 testing stations.

Day 69 Route in Norway

The next blog will pick up on the journey in Sweden on Day 69 and will continue with the journey back to the UK, via Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Norway exceeded Duncan and Liz’s expectations and other than the last couple of days held them in awe each and every day.

The approxinate route covered in this blog shown by the red line

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