The Locks of The Telemark Canal 2 Comments

Morning view & shuddering bridge

Morning view & shuddering bridge

What are you doing?
I am washing Vin with some ice cold glacier water.
Jeez Craig it is blinking freezing, you are nuts.

With half a smile and a serious face he cracked on washing the road grime off Vin. I on the other hand, grabbed Mac (aka problem child as he is so disobedient) and went for a little jog around the area. Needless to say, my arm got more of a workout than my legs, as Mac constantly ran in any direction other than the path I wanted to go. He is a little sod pot at the moment and going through a naughty stage, so any suggestions for keeping him in tow, gratefully received.

When I returned Vin was nice and clean and ready to splash a few more puddles! Only joking, it is quite nice this morning although the forecast is rain, rain and more rain. We decided to make the most of the nice weather and hit the road with the sun playing peekaboo behind the white fluffy clouds. Two minutes down the road and the satnav had us turning right up a tiny dirt track. I think not! We ignored until we hit a half sensible road and swung a right, up a hill dotted with colourful wooden houses only to reach the top and find a height restricted bridge. The sign says 2.8, Vin say 3.2, I say no, Craig says go. By god, this lad will give me heart attach one day. He slowly nudged Vin forward whilst I stood on a big rock (because I am a shorty) and waved him on…holding my breath for fear of suddenly becoming an open top camper. Once through, I sighed and Craig grinned like a cheshire cat, told you we would be fine. Onwards and over the single lane suspension bridge, which gave a little shudder when we reached the half way point. A sign Vin is a wee to heavy! As we arrived on the other side of the river banks we took a right and proceeded to follow the river upstream. The views instantly got more spectacular. We were high above the river to our right, and to our left the steep rock hills covered in pine and fir trees. All of a sudden the world felt tilted and my toes scrunched as if to prevent us from tippling over. My bearings came back to normal and somehow everything is looked upright albeit still tilted, weird and wonderful at the same time.

We slowly meandered along the country road and then all of sudden thud. The whole of Vin and its contents shot a foot or so in to the air, and just as it landed, another thud. Closely followed by Craig yelling “them friggin speed bumps”. One thing for sure, Norway certainly likes its speed bumps whether clearly visible with yellow strips or sneakily tucked away under the tarmac so as to provide maximum heart failure. In fact, all Norwegian speed bumps should come with a defibrillator because by god they don’t half surprise you.

Cracking campsite

Cracking campsite

A few wiggles around a corner and we spotted something. Brakes on and a quick right. We had travelled all of 8 kilometres only to grind to a complete stop. We found a little campsite parked right on the edge of the Telemark canal but not only that, it was right in front of one of the locks. Blinking brilliant, we will have some of that!

We parked Vin up alongside another motorhome and went to explore the site. A long strip of gravel to park the motorhome, a simple but immaculate wooden shed at the end with toilets, showers and camper services. All for NOK200 but what is even more surprising is the fact payment is made via an honesty box. I just love this country, so honest and trusting. We quickly put on a clothes wash and then went to explore the canal.

We had the most amazing walk following the canal down the murane track (original stone walls). Chatting about the weather with sunshine warming our heads and little fluffy white clouds making great shapes in the sky. Occasionally stopping to watch nostalgic canal boats drift by only to eventually disappear in to a green gorge. Gosh this is so beautiful and nothing like we envisaged. The Telemark canal is Norway’s answer to the Panama, deep and dramatic. Built in 1892 the canal carries boats from its gateway in the eastern city of Skien and tootles all the way over to Dalen in the west. It took 500 men 5 years to blast through mountains and creat the impressive waterway.

You can glide along admiring the views as the boats penetrate deep into the panoramic countryside, passing lakes, rivers, and dark forests. You can also see some of the marvellous feats of engineering that made such a boat ride possible. Boats trips are relatively inexpensive (approx £55) and you can take a ride for the full length (65 miles) for 10 hours or hop from point to point. The canal comprises of 28 locks which supports the elevation difference of 236 ft. The friendly captains and lock hands make the journey even more enjoyable. We were fortunate to watch a couple of boats pass through one of the many locks as seen below in the video.

(click here to see our other videos).

Rolling Hills

Rolling Hills

After the washing dried it started to rain and so we headed off driving along the cloud covered canal. The single track road hugs the canal and it is a comfortable, easy drive to see the canal and some of the lakes and rivers of inland Norway. As you drive along, you’ll pass farmland so neat it appears like a painting and a countryside dotted with pastel summer homes and churches. No matter where you turn you see panoramic vistas with deep, dark forests. Swift flowing streams run down the rock face, adding to the landscape drama. The road went up and down like a mini roller coaster and we felt like we where high in the mountains. We checked copilot and to our surprise we where only 90m above sea level! Then two minutes later we entered a dot of a tunnel, the rock face was at least 300 meters straight down, a proper whoa. Not long after and we found a little patch of gravel to pull in, plonk the feet on the dash,  admire our view and search for a troll.

2016-05-22 at 10-05-33-TelemarkOur sleep spot tonight, amazing canal side location just outside the village of Fjagasund. Peaceful and free, which is just how we like it.

GPS position N059.302807 E008.716898

Route: Linde to Fjagasund

Weather, low 5 high 21. Lovely spring day until late afternoon when the rain clouds arrived and hugged us.

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