Mr Raggett’s blog from our Norway Expedition 2018
A quick pack up and off on our journey home.
A short delay at Oslo airport had us sitting around for a while but we are now on the way home. As I write this we are descending into London.
A big thank you must go to Mike and Debra Rigby who have organised the trip and for all the planning that has gone into this. The students and myself have really appreciated it. “Tusse Takk”
Here’s to the next adventure.
We said goodbye to the mountains yesterday, always a sad moment for me but what a fantastic trip it has been!
The views, scenery and situation are stunning and it has been a pleasure to lead this group in the demanding terrain, but most of all the students have shown a resilience and perseverance to be proud of. We travelled back to Oslo which took most of the day where we returned to the hostel for a clean-up and then straight into the city for dinner.
The team had a chance to buy a few gifts for friends and family before we ate at the Hard Rock Café. Lots of conversations about favourite bands and concerts and performers we would like to see.
We left and had a walk up to see the Royal Palace , the Cathedral and the Parliament building. We listened to some amazing buskers in the park and then back to the hostel. It is easy to loose time here! As it doesn’t get dark it seems that the Norwegians enjoy the long days and at 11:30pm there was as much hustle and bustle as at 7:00pm. It was a lovely end to a fantastic trip.
The students have taken plenty away from this experience. The culture in the city, the beauty and grandeur of the mountains, the physical and mental challenge to cross the mountains, the knowledge of the environment or even the ability to work together as a team and help each other through.
Today we woke to another cloudless sky and promise of another hot day. Our reports had warned of a lot of snow on the footpaths to Galdhopiggen and with the heat and 15 very tired students, this would make the journey to the summit very long and hard. It was therefore agreed to change the plan and make the climb to the Svellnosbrean glacier which flows off the summit of Galdhopiggen and was a similar distance to walk but with only about 600m of climbing. The students were able to see all the processes of glaciation and get to the snout of the glacier itself. What a classroom, what a lunch spot!
We spent about an hour at the glacier and again had stunning views of the surrounding mountains. This is a classic for glacial tours and the students were able to witness climbers departing onto the ice. All the features of glaciation can be seen here and the students were able to witness first-hand how the processes had formed the landscape around them
We depart for our return to Oslo tomorrow and the achievements of the students have been fantastic. The effort by all has been outstanding in extremely difficult conditions.
Click on an image to see more photographs
The students are now in a routine and once woken are getting themselves prepared for the day ahead. (Yes parents they can do it😀). We had our easiest day today with a 14km walk from the Glitterheim hut to the Spiterstulen hut at the base of Galdhopiggen, which is our objective for tomorrow. Herds of reindeer, snow crossings and more climbing in more glorious sunshine. Only 500m of climbing today but again tremendous heat. We have found a TV and are now able to watch the football. A relief for some to be in reach of technology again having been devoid of a signal for 48 hours.
Last night the students shared some of their thoughts for you.
“At first, the walk was bearable and easy because we were only descending and walking up little mounds. Towards the end, I started to feel a little ill but I carried on. I really enjoyed walking up and down the ice hills because it was good to see snow again.” Sam
“At first, the walk started with us walking up a big hill, but once we got to the top of the hill the walk started to get easier. Once we got down the hill it was flat for a while, but then it was hill after hill for miles but I was very proud that I did it.” Louis
“I was very glad I brought all the water as it got very hot at midday and through the afternoon. The best bit I’ve enjoyed so far was the views from the top of the mountains.” Dan
“We dropped down into a really pretty valley with a pretty fjord that we walked along before starting a gentle assent before dropping down to the hut.” Rosie
“Great views on the walk today, the fjords were stunning, the last scramble was pretty cool and the descent into Glitterheim was stunning.” Mila
“This trip has been good so far. The mountains were nice but the views were better.” Leilani
Click on an image below to see some photographs.
Following the climb along the Bessenggen Ridge, we had descended back to the Gjende Fjord some distance down its shore to spend the evening at the Memurubu Hut where we had spend the night. The day started with a 400m climb back out of the valley over the col and a descent into the valley of the beautiful Russvatnet Fjord. The scenery was stunning which made for a wonderful backdrop during a very long day in the hills.
We walked a total of 20 kilometres and had a total height gain of 1000 metres. As we ascended the final col of the day we were treated to the most stunning views of Glittertinden which is Norway’s 2nd highest mountain. The temperature still hasn’t dropped and the students have made amazing progress to carry all their equipment and cover the distances in very hard conditions.
Throughout each day the mood has been high and lots of laughter through the day.
The geography staff can be safe in the knowledge that in such a glaciated environment Mr Rigby and myself are making the most of every teaching opportunity to show practically where it all happened especially as 4/5 of the group are doing the subject.
The day ended at the Glitterheim hut where we were treated to another brilliant meal and a chance to recuperate in the most beautiful of surroundings.
Click on an image below to see a few photos .
Day 2 and 3
We arrived in the Jotunheimen and settled into the hut at Gjendesheim to find celebrations going on for the 150th anniversary of the DNT. The DNT, Den Norsk Turistforening, is the organisation who run all the mountain huts and maintain the footpaths. They are a massive organisation and we arrived in time to be a part of the celebrations. Lots of people in traditional dress, traditional music and speeches.
The evening had a celebratory dinner for visitors and guests and we were treated to fish soup made from trout from the Gjende Fjord, the lake on which the hut is situated, reindeer steak and traditional vegetables followed by rhubarb compote. What a treat for our first night in the mountains!
We settled into our beds ready for an early start and following a hearty breakfast we set of up the mountain to complete the famous Besseggen Ridge. After a climb of 700m, we reached the ridge and were met by a herd of reindeer who were not phased by our presence and almost stopped and posed for us to take some photographs.
The temperatures were baking hot and this proved extremely difficult conditions to be walking in. At the summit, we then descended down onto the ridge and made our way to the Bess-vatnet Fjord. If you look at the pictures you will see it looks like the Gjende and Bess-vatnet Fjords are side by side, but are actually separated by 390 metres in vertical height. We then had a long walk in the heat to reach the Memurubu hut where we are this evening. The heat has zapped the energy from the students and they are currently all in bed getting some sleep to recover for tomorrows walk north to the Glitterheim hut.
Click on an image below to see some photographs.
What a trip it has been so far.
21:45 and we are on the sleeper to London for an early transfer to Gatwick. It’s called the sleeper but I’m not certain who Great Western are trying to convinced that you can sleep on those seats! It did, however, provide a great opportunity for the Mounts Bay students and the Five Island students to spend time getting to know each otherand friendship were soon made.
Following the train journey and a skip around London to the Airport, we were soon sat on the runway awaiting our departure to Oslo.
Oslo, what a fantastic city. Full of art, culture and history. You could plan a week’s trip to the city alone and still not visit all the venues, we had an afternoon! Walking to the top of the Opera House with its stunning architecture and view, the artwork on the waterfront, the Nobel museum just a couple of spots we visited and saw. In addition to the 30-degree heat, it has proved an amazing start to the expedition.
We are currently travelling north via coach to the mountains. Wifi on the coach is better than mine at home! A transfer of 4-5 hours will see us in the mountains at our first hut this evening. The landscape and scenery are stunning and the excitement is building, I hope you are enjoying the clear skies still as we are.
We have come across a new word, ‘Friluftsliv’, it is the Nordic concept of getting outdoors. It seems that here everyone embraces it and companies even have it written into their business and development plans. As we are passing through pine-filled valleys it is a timely reminder as we focus on the Global Goals in our Academy.
The views from the Besseggen Ridge tomorrow should be spectacular. It is said that the mountain ridge was formed by Thor on the anvil of the earth. It is one of the most spectacular hikes in the country, ‘The Home of the Giants’.