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      November 2015 > Worth every penny
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Worth every penny

As I followed the cobbled trail up and over the low ridge, I was met with a glorious and truly breathtaking sight – ocean waves rolling in and crashing onto a wide beach of golden sand, hemmed in on both sides by precipitous glacially-carved cliffs where sea eagles soared.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

I had reached what is undoubtedly one of the most scenic and isolated beaches in the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, made all the more spectacular by the fact that you cannot drive to it. To get there, I had risen early and wandered down to the pier in the colourful fishing village of Reine – all the wooden houses are painted predominantly red but with the occasional ochre yellow and bottle green, too – while an Arctic gull warned me not to stray too near her fledgling chick.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

As the captain and crew of the small post boat readied themselves for the morning trip out to deliver mail to the isolated communities that line the Kjerkfjord, a straggle of other walkers made their way down to join me, chatting excitedly in the early morning sun. We boarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis but there was plenty of room and, after paying a nominal fee (50 Norwegian Krone = £3.70; 2015), we were soon chugging round the small islands that make up the communities of Reine, and Hamnøy, before the captain pushed down the throttle and we roared out into the deep blue waters of Kjerkfjord.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

The boat makes this round trip every morning to deliver mail, people and other items to Kjerkforden, Vinstad and Rostad, returning in late afternoon to collect those who want to come back. Timing the walk to and from Bunes Bay, therefore, is critical, as there are no overnight facilities within reach – apart from a small Spartan waiting room at the end of the pier in Vinstad.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

I say ‘no facilities’, but that’s not completely true. As I descended the rocky path down to the expansive wind-swept sands – the beach is over 750 metres wide – I passed a small wooden hut whose function was immediately recognizable – it was a loo!

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

With no bushes to nip behind in this wide sweeping bay it seems that the authorities had seen fit to erect a loo for those spending the day here and not wanting to get caught short – and no doubt for the benefit of those wild campers who often come here to see the Midnight Sun or to enjoy the fabulous sunsets that grace this west-facing beach. I did notice that there wasn’t a door – probably put to good use on a camper’s fire – but with a view like this who wants one? This surely has to be the ultimate “loo with a view” – and worth every penny.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

Bunes Bay is a great place to potter about and explore – after all, there’s no sense of urgency as the boat doesn’t return for several hours. I made my way along the southern edge of the beach, as screeching oystercatchers warned of my approach, and soon reached the one small red house that sits quietly on the foreshore, dwarfed by the mighty cliffs behind. Until relatively recently it was the summer home of an eighty-year-old woman who lived a frugal life in this seemingly desolate spot, but today only ghosts remain as the wind whistles through cracks in the decaying walls.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

Just beyond the house I came across something that stood out in stark contrast to the natural, irregular lines of the craggy rocks, swirling sea and waving grass – a perfectly smooth stone sphere perching on the rocky headland overlooking the bay. What on Earth was it doing here? It turned out
I'd inadvertently stumbled upon one of the planets in artist Jan Wanggaard’s model of the solar system, an art installation known as ‘Planet Lofoten’. The planets, all built to scale, are dotted across the islands radiating out from a 7-metre sun in Reine. The wild, atmospheric landscapes of the rugged Lofoten Islands do have an ‘other-worldly’ feel to them at times, but I never thought I’d find myself on Saturn.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

All too soon it was time to leave, the sheer scale of the bay revealed when ants scurrying along the far shore turned out to be other walkers making their way back to the jetty, too.

Self guided walking holidays in Norway

Postscript:
We’ve just closed our 2015 Moments photo competition – the overall winner is yet to be announced – but one entry that caught my eye was that taken by Michael Coupar in Italy. Yes, he spotted “a loo with a view”, too, – on a recent walking holiday in the Dolomites, which he described as “the littlest room with the grandest view”. Can you beat that?

Self guided walking holidays in Norway
Posted: 27/11/2015 17:11:59 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: islands, landscapes, Norway


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