Snakes and Cycling. 10th July.

I’m sitting on the edge of a wooded glade three metres above the Blikengfjorden, 25km north of Namsos. It is 9pm and the sun is still high in the sky. A breeze keeps the flying nasties away and the only sound is the lapping of the water, the bees and the leaves been gently blown. There is one large solitary mosquito trying to take my blood, but sadly for it, he has a distinct sound, so he will die before he drinks, or even as he drinks. The other sight and sound I have never seen before, jumping fish. Some of them quite large, they clear the water and splash back down. Very much like miniature whales breaching. Strangely enough there is no bird song, none at all, very weird.

My pitch tonight.

I packed up my gear this morning at the same time as a guy in his late twenties on the pitch beside me. Since I had arrived last night he had hibernated. I asked which direction he was going. He was heading south to Trondheim. On hearing I was heading north, the route he had used, he advised me that I was in for an awful lot of climbing on the 715 road before meeting the 17 going up to to Namsos. I similarly advised him that there were a few 9% hills for him to enjoy on his way to the ferry across to Trondheim.

Using the bus shelter at the junction of the 715 and 17 for shade as I ate the remains of last night’s gargantuan pizza (and so it should have been at over £20). I reflected on those 715 hills. The late twenty something year old on his electric bike may well by the end of his day have a different definition of ‘ hard hills’. However he was carrying more gear than a fully loaded Pickfords removal lorry.

The 715 was a beautiful road to cycle and eventful.

If you cycle please tell me whether you regularly come across these creatures? I’m starting to loss count of my encounters with them.

First there was Hungary with Andy and Luke, then The Badlands in America with Andy. Australia whilst cycling in WA, to be expected as Australia plays host to an extraordinary number of very venomous snakes and other critters. Then there was North Vietnam earlier this year and now today.

The route today was of rolling hills. More ups than downs as elevation was gained. Some impressive waterfalls running over smooth red granite rock. Then came the deep blue lakes, numerous and like mirrors reflecting their surroundings.

The hill’s did require constant gear changes. So numerous were they and so nearly uniform, a pattern of gear changing evolved using every gear, a little like Valentino Lisitsa’s performance of Ballade, that used all the piano keys.

The ride along the 17 was a pleasant one and I arrived in Namsos sooner than expected, even though I had stopped for a rare drink of Coke for 330 Krona, just over £3!

After a coffee, prolonged so as I could charge up my devices and making good use of the iced water provided to fill my bottles, oh and the paper towels in the loo to dry myself after a quick strip (partial) wash, (this was to be a wild camp night), I headed into Rema 1000 to buy my evening meal. Having mounted up and was heading out of town I nearly bumped into Norway’s rock idle, or to be precise a bronze ( yes, another one!) of him. Age Aleksanderson born 1949 is the Norwegian compatriot to Paul McCartney. So influenced was he by Paul’s music he formed a band called Prudence after that Beatles song.

To date apart from the many road warning signs, this is the only Elk I’ve seen.

Other wildlife have included this:-

… and that:-

He seemed friendly enough, but at three metres high, I didn’t hang around.

Immediately after leaving the town I turned up the hill and was presented with a 600m tunnel. My first of any length. With lights on, I entered. They were right, every vehicle sounds ten times as loud and the direction of that sound is also unclear. The whole tunnel was on an incline, which made for a baptism of fire.

The ride to where I am now was stunning. Two bridges constructed not to cross a void on the level, these are ramped, arched and curved and the third, not 100 metres from here is a classic steel girder bridge.

Having taken a quick dip, I can also confirm that fjord water is extremely cold. By dip I don’t mean a swim, just the requisite wetting for washing.

Foot note:- The snake was deceased, dead, had slithered off to the other snake world. Although this snake hadn’t fallen off it’s perch as a parrot would, it does draw that Monty Python (incidentally also a species of snake) sketch to mind. It was a viper, Norway’s only venomous snake. And of that mosquito, it joined the snake.

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