Travels

Rampestreken, Trollstigen, and squeaky bum time.

Tuesday 2 October. I started the day walking to this.

That platform is Rampstreken and the photo was taken about 500m into the 580m climb to it.

I’m not a fan of things like this, but this wasn’t the squeaky bum time. It was a hard climb,

but the views were fantastic.

I continued to the top, signed the book in the hut,

and headed back. I had another climb to do.

Trollstigen, or Troll’s Ladder, is an infamous climb around eleven serious hairpin bends.

At the end of the valley there is a big waterfall.

See the bridge? The road climbs up what the water falls down.

Having negotiated Big Al up to the visitor centre, which was closed and having all the equipment taken out, I went to take pictures.

Looking towards the valley I’d driven up;

Back towards the visitor centre and my onward journey;

The second sky platform of the day;

Giving a great view back down the valley;

Yet, the Troll’s Ladder and sky platform were not the cause of the squeakiness. The journey to Trollstigen had been through autumn, but winter began in the car park. I drove out onto a dry road but one with snow piled up on each side. At the top of the climb I took these; the road behind and the road ahead.

Squeaky? Not really. As the road descended it dropped below the snow line into autumn and I had a pleasant drive to the ferry. After a short crossing, the cars were let off and then I followed the other motorhome off. I was going to be behind it for a while.

All was going well, though there were quite a few sections of hairpin bends, until we went over the brow of a hill and the world seemed to drop into a pit. Sheer cliffs dropped away beyond what I could see, but when I took a corner I realised I’d only seen half of it, and way down there was a lake and a town. The drop was more than a kilometre, and the van in front and I descended it one narrow, steep hairpin after another, with vehicles coming up all the time. It was like descending into the ninth level of hell. It seemed endless and then I could smell my brakes, and then I was approaching a corner while a truck was coming up. I decided to stop but the brakes weren’t binding, they were spongy. Thankfully, I did ease to a stop as the truck took the full road to turn, but there was now squeaking aplenty going on.

Near the bottom, the other motorhome turned off to a campsite. I continued to the first lay-by and pulled in, the acrid smell of the brakes filling the cab. All four wheels were smoking, I’ve the video to prove it.

And that’s not the end of it. I was hoping for a flat road out but, yes, you guessed, hairpins out all the way. I passed a sign saying 1000m and I still wasn’t at the top. There was a viewpoint so I stopped to take a picture of the descent.

You can see the road crisscrossing the mountain above the town.

Having gone up, I was back above the snow line, as was the site I was heading for, the road to it completely invisible when the SatNav told me to turn. There followed more hairy roads, and I was being really cautious, but they started to descend again, albeit through some long, narrow, dimly lit tunnels and eventually things got a little easier.

I’m now parked by a beautiful lake feeling very tired. It’s been hell of a day. For a while I thought Norway was out to get me but, as I’ve done all the time I’ve been here, I showed a healthy level of caution and, though it’s been edgy, and apart from almost becoming a chariot of fire, it’s been safe.

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