Monday, 3 June 2019

Lysebotn Preview

I really must get around to recording the tail end of the Norway trip including down the side of Lysebotn Fjord.


Underground hairpin




More to come.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Heroes of Telemark - Mael and Vemork

The Heroes of Telemark, a great movie based on a true story, Richard Harris, Kirk Douglas - whats not to like. A real adventure with the later scenes based around sabotaging the Ferry which carried heavy water from Mael station to Tinnoset.

A visit to Norway was always going to include Mael and seeing where the Heavy water plant was, this was my must visit location. Of course there's nothing there now from the real events or the movies but perhaps echos of the past somehow recorded in the place.

From Gaustatopen the weather opened up for the drive down the valley, fast straights and hairpins now with the road virtually to myself.

Nothing in the boulder catch nets above us.


At the valley floor a right turn with the railway line, the line that had originally transported materials from Vemork to Mael to be loaded on the ferrys.

Mael Station

There is a train which still runs, but I'm more interested in the train ferrys.
The place apparently is also the first location that had a standard gauge railway - if I remember correctly.


This is the location. In the movie I seem to recall the local school is loaded onto the ferry just after Richard Harris booby trapped it with the intention of sinking the shipment of heavy water, It's a long time since I've seen it though - I recall there is some ruse about practicing evacuation on deck so the kids can be rescued...   

I've also no idea how close the film is to real events.



Signal box... life size train sets, perfect!

Vemork - Heavy water plant location

Headed west along the valley, short stop in Rjukan for supplies - the typical ham/cheese and rolls to make a picnic, and we move off again, blue skies now and much warmer than the top of the mountain!


The road climbs up the north side of the valley, a couple of hairpins, I'm concentrating on the drive but just before a tunnel to my left theres something I immediately recognise.

The back of my neck tingles when I see these places in real life, the pipes down the mountain carrying the water and generating the electricity which was needed for heavy water production. I believe it's a different building now - but... best part of 80 years ago local resistance were on a mission to sabotage this place and disrupt the German production of an atomic bomb.

The sign describing the route the saboteurs took.


More top heavy barns...  but why? Anne thought she saw one with wheels too.

Gaustatopen inside the mountain

Just up the road from Heddersvatn, on the left heading north along the Fv651 is Gaustabanen.

Inside Gaustatopen mountain the 'secret' railway, built in the 50s as a military listening post of some sort takes you right to the top. We knew there wasn't going to be a view today - but its still worth the trip up.

Wrapped up the motor, tonneau on so we've a chance of dry seats.

The view north towards Rjukan and looks like some blue sky for later on.

ex. military on the right with gift shop and tickets on the left...

The diagram at the entrance indicating 1,151m in, 1,800m out, then a short climb outside to the cabin at 1830m.

350m of narrow gauge train - two carriages perhaps 20 of us crammed in,

...then 1050m of inclined railway, two trains counterbalanced and pass in a wider chamber mid rise,

...perhaps 50m walk inside,

...short clamber outside,


...and this is the view from the top (smile)... nope - couldn't see a thing!

I couldn't tell you what this plaque read, the small brass plates had names of Norwegian towns (I think). We didn't go right to the top - combination of inappropriate footware (driving shoes), snow covered path and lack of view.


The cabin at 1830m high showing a warm glow from the windows. 
Also plenty of people arriving who have hiked up.

That waffle was awesome - freshly cooked and full of jam + hot chocolate.
We stayed in here a while, somehow this sort of place feels even warmer when its so cold outside.

Excellent trip,  what's not to like - cars, trains and mountains. 

Ditto procedure to get down, in reverse.

Fv651 Tuddal road & Ice at Heddersvatn

Fv651 ~56 miles

The idea was to head towards Tuddal. My chat at the evening meal last night recommended north on this road for better driving - certainly the relatively low road speeds were plenty, these roads now winding in 3 dimensions with a few hairpins thrown in for good measure.

The rainy start giving way now to freezing clouds as we ascend, Fv roads are the ones to look for. The other thing that crosses my mind is - no traffic to speak of and its a long walk back if we have a problem!

Past lakes surrounded with cabins, presumably holiday homes rather than permanent houses.


Concentration - I love the focus required to drive this car in this terrain.


The green rocks are back, unlike Switzerland, these appear to just support green lichen, similar effect though makes the landscape look strange and other worldly. I thought I was near the top so paused for some photos.


Heddersvatn lake

Then over the top and ICE! Now its really cold.

Me taking..

..this pic of my wife in the car taking the previous one. 
I think this is Heddersvatn lake in the background half covered in ice.

Keep smiling!

Hats with ears are must have equipment, it's a fair few degrees above freezing stationary but windchill when moving must take us near 0Âșc. Driving the zero I find tops of my legs and face get coldest - feet normally ok under cover and body/backside on the seat are well insulated -  face/nose/ears though no protection at all!

 ~1200 metres high perhaps if the phone is to be trusted.

This is what the Zero is all about - you'd never get this experience with a roof all snuggled inside, or even wrapped up on a motorbike with a helmet on.

Love it.


Next stop Gaustabanan and even higher by rail inside the mountain.