71° 10’ 21” to 57° 58’ 95”, Norway north to south. And the swords in the stone.

Saturday 6 October. I am parked up at Lidesnes Fyr, the lighthouse at Norway’s most southerly point.

Two weeks ago I was driven off Nordkapp by high winds. I have been travelling south ever since. Tomorrow I swing north towards Oslo.

The drive today has been lovely. Big Al purred along good roads in good weather through countryside reminiscent of Cumbria, albeit a Cumbria that’s beefed itself up at the gym and maybe popped a few steroids.

Turning off the E39 towards Lidesnes Fyr, roads got a bit more interesting, following the coast through lovely villages.

Lindesnes Fyr is rugged and striking. It was a strategic point for the Germans during the war and the remains of their buildings, gun positions and bunkers are still there,

although one has been adapted.

I walked out onto an adjacent rocky promontory called Nesvarden which is 45″ further south,

but what’s that between friends? Knivskjelodden is a tad further north than Nordkapp, but Norway can define its own extremes. Either way, I’ve been there. Nesvarden gave a good view of the lighthouse and surrounding area.

Also on this promontory was a memorial to the sinking of MS Palatia just off Lindesnes on 21 October 1942 by a Royal New Zealand torpedo bomber.

The Palatia was carrying Russian prisoners of war intended for slave labour in German occupied Norway. According to the plaque, 956 died, 885 prisoners, 70 German soldiers and crew and the Norwegian pilot. It’s unsettling to be so close, both geographically and temporally, to such tragedy and conflict, though conflict is timeless, as shown by the first place I visited today.

After leaving the ferry this morning, I headed to Sverd i fjell, Swords in stone,

This was where Harald Fairhair gathered Norway into one kingdom in 872. The monument consists of three swords that symbolise peace, unity and freedom. The designs of the hilts of the swords are taken from Viking swords found in different parts of the country.

It is a very atmospheric site and worth the visit. It’s been another stimulating and rewarding day in this marvellous country.

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