Wednesday, 25 January 2017

When is a campsite not a campsite?

The North Sea south of Kvernavik
The campsite in Stavanger was in a public park, so dog-walkers strolled among the tents and motorhomes. It rained all night, leaving the motorhomes stuck deep in the mud and my tent surrounded by water. Luckily everything was dry inside, and the sun came out so the tent was dry outside too, by the time I set off.

I followed cycle paths to Kvernavik, where I rejoined the official route, and then turned south into a very cold breeze. The route hugged the coast, and there were some interesting surprises, which I leave you to discover. Today was the day I decided that, sometimes, the road was preferable to following the route where it used gravel tracks. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the section through Hå, but further south there was a very bumpy bit that involved a lot of opening and closing of gates. After a couple of kilometres of that I took to the road.
 
Romantic, but bumpy
I get the feeling that the official NSCR seeks out entirely traffic-free routes wherever possible, even when on-road alternatives have little to no traffic. As I rode further, I used on-road alternatives fairly frequently. If I was out for a day-ride I’d take every diversion possible, but when I’m travelling a long way, especially with a fully-loaded bike, I find smooth tarmac very seductive.

Just south of Vigrestad there are two campsites, one at each end of a fine, long beach. I decided to camp at Ogna, at the southern end of the beach.  I was greeted by a teenaged boy with stylish hair who was unhelpful to the point of rudeness. He told me the owner had ordained that there would be no tents until 20th June. No exceptions.  He refused to call the owner, so I left and headed to the other campsite at Brusand.  The owners here had decided there would be no tents ever again.  The problem was, apparently, that the campsite had become too popular, so now they accepted no tourers of any kind. Just static caravans and cabins. I listened to the owner's explanation, but afterwards I thought that it wouldn’t really have been that hard to keep a small patch for hikers and cyclists.


The end result of all this was that I spent the night in a small holiday apartment, for which I paid 400NKR. Cabins and places like this are available on most campsites in Norway, and if there are several people travelling together they’re a reasonable option, but it works out expensive if you’re on your own. A few days later I met a farmer who had a farm just north of here.  When I told him this story he said I could have knocked on the door of almost any farmer and they would have been happy to give me a place to camp.  I never put this to the test, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

The map is here.

Tips:
  • In this part of Norway cycling on the roads is no problem.
  • At this time of year it might be worth phoning campsites to check if they're open.
  • I like the idea of knocking on farmers' doors and I wish I'd tried it.

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