A walk above Osterbo Fjellstove in the Aurlandsdalen, Norway – August 2015

By bus from Flam to Osterbo, this cost about Nkr 75. The coach ran empty through amazing scenery to a place called Vassbyggdi, whereupon it filled nearly full of Norwegian hikers. Then the road ran through a series of mountain tunnels until we emerged into the upper part of the Aurland valley – Aurlandsdalen. It resembled North Wales or parts of the Lake District, but with more trees, better waterfalls, and the scale of the place was much greater. You could see at height there was still 2-3% snow coverage.

We dropped bags off at the Fjellstove (hostel) and walked up Langsdalen (the long dale – rather like “Langstrath” in the Lakes). The route was a winding path through rich woods with again, a wide variety of wild flowers and a much broader selection of flora than you would see in the UK. The route opened out above the woods, passing a hydroelectric dam. The stream was no mountain beck in the British sense but a completely unfordable torrent. We curved round to the right and higher into a biting wind, though it be mid-August, and crossed several snowfields before arriving at a falls by some huts. There was a footbridge. The falls were comparable with High Force on the Tees, though perhaps half the height. The river – for such it was by British mountain standards –  could not be forded safely at all, even in mid-August at low water. I doubt if there a half dozen such mountain rivers in all the UK, and this is just a side valley into a side valley in fjord Norway, and quite unremarkable as such.

We walked higher, towards a further series of falls, but Mrs H did not feel well and was not really that comfortable with the weather, the wildness and the biting wind, so we retreated about 1pm.

Our dinner that night – in a kind of upmarket youth hostel atmosphere – was cream of mushroom soup, followed by sliced reindeer with brussels sprouts and boiled potatoes with a very good gravy, and something rather like cranberry sauce. For dessert, “cloudberry” parfait or ice-cream. She had two glasses of a very sweet Reisling at the reasonable rate of NKr 59 (about £6.50) per glass, and I had a pint of one of the local Aegir brews. The waitress offered us seconds of the food. Though it was a pukka restaurant in a pukka hotel the place felt like a youth hostel more than anything else, complete with common rooms full of old books including R.D Blackmore novels in Norwegian, and board games, Dotted round the walls were diverse stuffed animals including several foxes, a brown bear in the common room and an enormous polar bear in the dining room.