Weather-wise it wasn’t really the start that we wanted as we left Stavanger – dull with some pretty big downpours. It was a public holiday, so the roads were really clear and we were up and out by just past 8am. It’s nice in a schadenfreude kind of way to see that other countries have crap weather when it’s a bank holiday like we do!
The first 13km out of town was basically retracing our steps from when we got off the ferry and then we were breaking new ground as we headed south, once again on the North Sea cycle route which we have used in Holland, Germany and Denmark already. Though using the route makes navigation easy it doesn’t always take the most direct route. Martina will testify that some of our days in the saddle have been longer than they really should have been because the route wanders all over the place!
Most of the time the route hugged the coast and went through undulating farmland, all very pleasant but a bit wet as the rain continued. For once I agree with Martina in that we could have been in Donegal, the scenery (and weather) was so similar.
The cycle route also took us off road along some difficult paths and across a rather springy bridge over the river Haelva. I did the manly thing and suggested I push the bikes across – my bike wasn’t a problem.
It was on the way back to collect Martina’s that I slipped over backwards on the very slippery wooden flooring and rather stupidly put my hands to hold the wire railing to stop my fall. I don’t think that there is any proper damage, but both my shoulders hurt, so I think I’ve strained a few muscles in there.
The off-roading continued for a while, but we did rejoin the roads which wound around craggy rocks with fantastic views round nearly every corner.
The further south we went the craggier the rocks got and crinklier the coast became. The hills steadily got a bit harder too!
Along one part of the route there were quite a few people standing at the side of the road, obviously there to welcome us to Norway ….well no, they were there to welcome the hundreds of motor bike riders that came in the other direction. Martina and I spent the next 10 minutes waving at them, beeping the very loud horn on Martina’s bike and basically causing a massive tailback behind us, because we were going uphill and none of the cars could over take us! It was fantastic and loads of the hairy bikers waved back and beepd their horns. We even got a cheer from some spectators when we got to the top of the hill!! And we did pull in and let the tailback pass after it was all over.
We stopped at about 75km to discuss where we should stay – normally this sort of distance would have us wanting to stop soon, but it was only 2pm and the few days rest had obviously done the trick as we both still felt reasonably fresh. So, onwards and south to just outside Egersund where we found a campsite (99km in total over some fairly tough hills towards the end) and some lovely packet noodles for dinner…yum!