The objective of the next leg of our journey was to explore the Lysefjord, the most southerly major fjord in Norway. Lysefjord is steep sided with cliffs rising to 900m and is sometimes only 200m wide. Preikestolen (Pulipt Rock) is a popular 600m ledge just inside Lysefjord and is accessible by a 4 hour hike from a quay in the fjord or a 2 hour hike from the road which is accessible by bus. Our plan was to get the bus from Tau and do the shorter hike. At the head of Lysefjord is Lyseboten, the tiny village that hosts the annual BASE jumping boogie. You can see one crazy chap BASE jumping from Smelveggen, a cliff that overlooks Lyseboten –
Tau is 20 miles south of Haugesund and we had the wind on the nose for the first 6 miles so we motored. Whilst some of us were in t-shirt and shorts, some of us were wrapped up a little more.
But eventually the wind allowed us to sail the last couple of hours in the closing hours of sunlight. During our journey on Hal we have seen very few sunrises or sunsets so it was almost novel to see the sun slowly disappearing and watching the shadows and colours change as we approached Tau.
Tau is a ferry port on the mainland, just opposite Stavanger. It has an east and west harbour and after running out of depth trying to moor in the west harbour we tied up alongside “On Top” a Danish yacht in the eastern harbour. Our concern was that Tau would be a little characterless, however it was a pleasant harbour with showers and directions to get the bus to Pulpit Rock.
After a short bus ride we started the ‘2 hour’ hike, but as Dr F was setting the pace we were aiming for a sub 60 minute hike!
The hike was hot and sweaty and a bit of a precession with an almost continuous line of hikers. It was amusing to watch the different people, some were in full hiking gear with rucksacks, tents and walking poles, some were in trainers and some were in sandals. Luckily this time Dr F wasn’t wearing her Birkenstocks! The trail etiquette was pretty poor with lots of people walking slowing two abreast taking up the entire path or stopping in the middle of a single file section to check their phone. There were some truly epic efforts from men carrying babies on their backs and there were lots of dogs.
Having made it to the top in a little over an hour…
We were rewarded with a gale and some spectacular views…
Some idiot looking over the edge!
Then after a quick sandwich stop, it was time for a couple of silly photos; the first one is specifically for Dr D…
The hike back down had the added pleasure of passing those who hadn’t yet made it to the top, and some who liked like they certainly wouldn’t make it to the top. It wasn’t much quicker than the ascent as there were more photo opportunities and less ‘overtaking’ opportunities.
And finally back at the bottom, glad we didn’t do the longer hike!
I slept almost the entire bus journey back to the boat. Once onboard we showered and then quickly slipped our lines to head for Forsand, a tiny harbour at the entrance to Lysefjord.
We had planned the morning hike to give us plenty of time to sail to Forsand later that day and as we had been super fast on the ascent and descent we had even more time than expected. This gave us the luxury of being able to take our time and enjoy the sailing in light airs whilst tacking towards Forsand.
After saying “two more tacks” for the umpteenth time, we finally decided to motor the last two miles and tied up alongside a dock outside a little supermarket with a beautiful view of the bridge across the entrance to Lysefjord.
It was becoming apparent that all the bridges we were seeing were built in the 70’s which must have been due the large investment made using the revenues from the North Sea oil and gas. We hadn’t seen any bridges older than this, and the engineering was pretty impressive. This road on this particular bridge ended with a corner whilst still suspended and then disappeared immediately into the side of the mountain.