Summer vacation day 11 & 12
Continued from day 10Index
|29.07.2020||[DRONNINGRUTA] Kjølen||456m||72m||Øksnes, Norway|
|29.07.2020||[DRONNINGRUTA] Kjølen, sør for||446m||53m||Øksnes, Norway|
|29.07.2020||[DRONNINGRUTA] Sørkulen||518m||305m||Øksnes, Norway|
|29.07.2020||[DRONNINGRUTA] Fingamheia||448m||155m||Øksnes, Norway|
|29.07.2020||[DRONNINGRUTA] Mælen||314m||141m||Øksnes, Norway|
Dronningruta (Queen’s route)
This is a route that runs between the fishing villages Stø and Nyksund in Øksnes, Vesterålen. H.M. Queen Sonja took this trip in 1994 and the route was then named after her.
It is a fantastic walk either which way you walk. We decided to start at Stø. The village was quite crowded, but most of the tourists were waiting to get on a whale safari.
The route passes Kvalaksla where there is a military installation on top and access is prohibited. It’s a good thing that this top does not have a prominence of 100m or more. That could tempt some of us eager beavers to violate the law…
We continued up to Nonstinden, a stepping stone to the higher Gjuraheia.
From the ridge, we were overlooking Skipssanden bay.
From Gjuraheia, we got a good look at what’s ahead, and the thought struck me – that this is a very different kind of terrain than what I am used to. Even if the terrain is comparable in many ways – back home on Ytre Søre Sunnmøre. Here – gentle and wild at the same time, green slopes and steep cliffs towards the Norwegian Sea.
When I got Mælen in view, I was quite determined to also visit this top on our way back to Stø. It is not part of the normal route, but the detour is fairly short.
From point 446m, we had a Sørkulen (518m) – the highest point on the route – in full view. There were indeed other hikers, but not *many*. We talked briefly with a couple coming in the opposite direction and parted with “see you later”
On our way to Sørkulen, we noticed that the main trail continued below the top, at approx. 400m. That was not an option for us, and some minutes later, we could celebrate our first top on this hike with a prominence of 100m (or more).
That was of course nice, but the main attraction were of course Klotindane. They looked very fascinating, but far enough outside the trail to not become part of our trip.
The density of rugged peaks reminded me of the very heart of the Sunnmørsalpane mountain range back home.
Next followed a somewhat steep descent along Sørkulen’s southwest ridge. Some will probably find this ridge a little bit cumbersome, but there are no real difficulties here.
Next, we ascended up to Fingamheia. The main trail passed below this top also, so Karma and I took a quick detour up to the top while Anne enjoyed a break.
Then we continued across the Fingamheia plateau and headed for the pass between Fingamheia and Mælen.
We had originally planned to hike all the way to Nyksund, but plans are meant to be changed and the new plan was to skip Nyksund and drive there after the hike. Anne was not so interested in Mælen so Karma and I increased the pace to visit the top and catch up with Anne.
The ridge down to the pass below Mælen was also somewhat rugged and there were places where you don’t want to stumble. We learned that some prefer to go up this way, as they have heard that the descent is spooky. People are different. Karma and I were running down this trail while some we met were clearly uncomfortable here.
Just after the pass, we reached the Stø – Nyksund trail fork. Left for Nyksund, right for Stø and straight ahead for Mælen.
We hurried up the path and enjoyed the nice views before trying to catch up with Anne.
It would have been nice to hike all the way to Nyksund, but we all felt that our plan B was more practical.
We caught up with Anne down by the sea, where she decided to take a refreshing bath…
On our way back to Stø, we enjoyed long sections of a wooden walkway.
A bit later, we passed Skipssanden bay. The water was way too cold for my taste.
Finally, we returned to Stø – 5h:45m after leaving. It was a long hike (OK, everything is relative – we’ve done hikes of 40km+ in a day) but it’s a hike I’m very happy we did.
Trip statistics: 15,3km, 1000 vertical meters, 3h:50m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone):
According to plan B, we drove to Nyksund. The parking was full (this is a popular place for tourists), so we had to park further out and took our bikes to the fishing village. to enjoy dinner at the Ekspedisjonen restaurant.
Nyksund was indeed a picturesque place!
Getting the dinner ordered and served took its time and before we had finished the meal, a bunch of people gathered to sing. I got the impression that several choirs from the region joined forces. Anne was overjoyed while I wasn’t able to share her enthusiasm. I’m not sure if she was more happy about the the singing or because it was her first cultural happening since Norway shut down in March. Probably a combination…
I enjoyed more taking a bike trip around the village and see the cultural happening from a distance.
Nyksund’s version of “town car“:
Indeed a nice place and well worth a visit!
Eventually, we had to find a place to crash for the night and we found a nice spot alongside the road, 5 minutes outside Nyksund. We had a mighty fine sunset!
The next day was resting day. We had made the decision to hike Møysalen (1263m) the day after. Møysalen is the highest top in the Lofoten – Vesterålen region and a top we both really wanted to visit. When we passed through here 4 years ago, Møysalen was on our agenda but the weather wasn’t good enough.
Møysalen is a strenuous hike – 23km and LOTS of vertical gain. A day for resting and transport was called for. And shopping too. We had neither ice-axes nor crampons and it could be that some or all of that could be needed on Møysalen. But as the weather was quite warm, we decided to settle for anti slip ice cleats.
We stopped in Sortland to shop. We got our ice cleats at Felleskjøpet and Sport 1 had ice-axes. We settled for one axe, as Anne had hiking poles. I also decided to upgrade my old GPS to a new Garmin 66S. Then we stopped for some Thai take-away and had a nice lunch down by the fjord.
Afterwards we stopped by Prestegårdens Sommerkafé for cakes and coffee – AND – charging my dead flat camera battery. Very nice service!
From Sortland, we drove LOFAST to Raftsundet. We took the road towards Digermulen, hoping to find a nice place to park for the night.
I am not sure if we would find more astonishing scenery than we found at Tennstrand. And we didn’t mind that Coastal Express just went through the sound.
Of course, Anne had to go into the sea again. Karma took a very short swim too. Very unlike her, but it was a HOT day…
I was mostly busy with the camera.
It was the perfect warm-up to Møysalen!
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone):
2 thoughts on “Dronningruta (Vesterålen) & Raftsundet, July 29-30 2020”
Agreed! Stay tuned for Møysalen 😀