Norway’s “Allemansratten” or the right to roam has been one of the many joys of being in this country. It has allowed me to camp freely in forests, by the sea, by rushing rivers and by lakes. And when a piece of grass in a campsite can cost up to £25 it feels even sweeter. But there is an art to finding the perfect place. It has to be off the beaten track, on flat ground, preferably near water, sheltered from wind, and easy access for a bicycle. About an hour before I feel like stopping I have a quick look at the map to see where I think might be a good place and then the scouting begins. It is a mixture of guesswork, estimation, sometimes a recommendation from a local if there happens to be someone I can ask and of course.. luck. When I find it, I put up my tent and call that little piece of grass my home for the night. My dad (a farmer) always maintained that he was just a guardian of the land and welcomed people to enjoy it as much as he did. How wonderful that an entire country has the same attitude.
From Trondheim I headed inland, away from the tourist cavalcade by the coast with the armchair cruising mobile homes, the roaring motor bikes and the speeding lorries. These smaller roads have sometimes ended up being little more than a gravel forest track but on the whole I have enjoyed the road less travelled. It has also flattened out… that is “Norwegian flat” which can still proffer some challenging hills.
Both on and off the road I have met some wonderful people – Thorlief in Roros who gave me the keys to his cottage in the heart of the row of old copper miners houses street so I stayed in the best seat in the Unesco World Heritage House. Then Roar, the 80 year old cyclist who wore jeans and a hoodie and wellies and was cycling and wild camping round Southern Norway and bought me lunch 2 days in a row. And then Roar and Ellen Marie who gave me a home from home with a bed, shower, home cooked food, a guided tour and sandwiches to see me on my way. So even on the days when I wake up and it’s raining and I’m tired and I don’t feel like getting back in my bike, I remind myself that round the next bend or over the next brow of a hill there are always unexpected surprises.