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Sølvgarden Hotel - Rysstad

Even the bus stops have turfed roofs

Above the snowline

Lunch in Røldal

Snowmelt causes high water

Cross country skiers make the most of the end of season snow

Descending towards Odda

Whitewater at Låtefoss

Hardanger hotel Odda

Fruit trees in blossom

Display of bodice insets

Hardanger Fiddles


Another stunning waterfall

Lunch at Alvik

View from the Stalheimskleiva

Part of the tunnel spirals

Kjosfossen, 305ft free fall

View of the valley from the train
Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Arctic Adventure  -  10 to 31 May 2018
Story by Margaret Campbell

During a casual conversation last winter a plan was hatched that would see three cars and six CCHMSC members take on a memorable trip beyond the Arctic Circle.

Dave and Maureen Spence, Donald and Margaret Campbell and Ranald Bruce and Louise Wall made their way to Tananger, near Stavanger, Norway to start their journey on Thursday 10th May 2018.

Dave had excelled himself as usual by producing an excellent route book and maps which were loosely based on a road trip he had done in the ‘70s and two scout trips some years before.

We were not to be disappointed as you will see in the following report.

Having already spent a week in Tananger with our daughter and family we met up with Dave and Maureen Spence in their BMW 325Ci Sport, and Ranald Bruce and Louise Wall in their Skoda Octavia Scout on Thursday morning in the pouring rain.

The first day was one of two days that we had to change our route because of snow. The road from the end of the Lysefjord was still closed and we had to miss out the hairpins above Lysebotn and find an alternative route to Rysstad. This turned out to be a good alternative as we would not have seen anything on the original road due to mist but the alternative had fantastic scenery once the rain cleared at lunchtime.

The route and overnight stops had been planned so that we would have plenty of time for stops to take photographs and admire the views.

The snow was melting fast and as there had been heavy rain all morning the rivers were in full spate and the waterfalls were very impressive. After a lovely day we arrived in Rysstad for a well earned meal and sleep. Next morning we awoke to bright sunshine but it was very cold and looked as if there could have been a touch of frost earlier.

After a lovely breakfast we set off almost due north and were immediately back into the stunning scenery.

We were running alongside mostly frozen lakes, lively rivers and on higher ground the snow was still very deep and being used by the locals for the last of the seasons cross country ski-ing. We stopped for a picnic lunch in Røldal and visited a very old traditional Stave church built between 1200 and 1250.

Travelling on we rounded a corner and were met with the fantastic roar and sight of the Låtefoss which , of course, we had to stop and photograph.

We arrived in Odda in mid afternoon, our overnight stop was at the Hardanger hotel where we had magnificent views over the fjord.

We did contemplate travelling up to see the Folgefonn Glacier but were advised against it by the hotel manager as it would have taken us well into the evening to get to the carpark and back and unless we walked a great distance we would not see very much of the glacier.

After breakfast the next day we headed north again on the west side of the Sorfjorden and were amazed to find a large industrial plant. After consulting Google we discovered that this was a major zinc and zinc alloy producer and there is also a large bedrock repository there for the disposal of jarosite, stable mercury and sulphur.

Travelling on we discovered large areas of fruit trees which were in full blossom and looked stunning in the morning sunshine. We eventually came to the village of Utne where we stopped to visit the folk museum and learn all about the Hardanger fiddle and the bodices of the national dress, the Bunad.

After a leisurely wander all round the museum, inside and out, we caught the ferry, first of many, and crossed the Samlafjorden to Kvanndal and headed to Bergen for the first of our stays in the modern Magic Hotel.

The hotel was next door to a small supermarket so juices, fruit, biscuits and crisps were topped up.

Ranald and Louise went off to explore and found the tram system and a very nice fish restaurant and the rest of us ate in the hotel and had a reasonably early night.

Next morning as we headed out of Bergen we were pulled into a large layby by the local constabularly. Documents and licences were checked and the drivers all breathalysed. Apparently it is quite common in Norway especially on a Sunday morning or after a big event.

All clear we headed off north east and followed a lovely little road to Voss, back on the main road for a
few miles then another little detour to drive on the Stalheimskleiva. This is a 1.5km long road that winds its way from Stalheim at the top through 13 hairpin bends to the end of the Næroydalen valley. It is said to be one of the steepest roads in Europe (1:5 or 20% at its steepest) and has magnificent views of two cascading waterfalls that can both be seen from the road.

Continuing on our journey a short while later we arrived at Flåm. We were hoping to be able to travel on the famous Flåm railway and as luck would have it we were able to get a ticket and board the next train.

The railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is one of Norway’s leading tourist attractions. It runs from the end of the Aurlandsfjord up to the high mountains at Myrdal Station where you can join the
Bergen/Oslo railway.

The 20Km line has a height difference of 866 metres making an average gradient of 1 in 18, the horseshoe tunnel spirals in and out of the mountain and it is the steepest standard-gauge railway in the world.

Again the scenery is spectacular with rivers slicing their way through deep gorges and waterfalls tumbling down the steep mountainsides.

We even saw a Huldra, one of the ladies of the mountain who’s song will draw you deep into the mountain. Look closely at this picture.

Published 21 June 2018
Updated 4 July 2018