The Southamptonites

Last week five friends from Southampton came to visit us. We had a lot of fun, even though we weren’t very lucky with the weather and they didn’t even get to see the northern lights. Here are some photos of our adventures in the snow…

On the first day we picked up skis that we had rented and tried them out on Kvaløya. The Southamptonites had never been cross country skiing so we started somewhere easy. Below is a photo of Paul and Gilly, and one of the whole lot: Doz, Gilly, Ian, Jez, (Paul) and Annika.

We were skiing in snow showers, but we also saw the sun a couple of times – it was quite pretty! The snow conditions were good, and the descent was fun.

After a short break at Aunegården (I won’t let anyone visit without eating a cake there!), we drove to Ramfjorden for some ice fishing. We drilled 4 holes, which was hard work as the ice is really thick this year and the drill is only just about long enough. We had 4 lines out for 2 hours but the only thing we caught was the tiniest baby-cod I’ve ever seen – the lure was actually bigger than the fish, ambitious little blighter!

Luckily we had bought some frozen cod just in case, so we still had dinner 🙂 The next day, everyone (except Hanneke who was working) went up the cable car for some more skiing…

These photos are all taken by Jez, I especially like the two below – click on the thumbs to see the full size version! It was quite windy up there and this had created amazing sastrugi (little dunes) in the snow.

Lunch break with a view 🙂

On Sunday we left for a 2 day skiing trip. The weather forecast was horrible, with strong winds, mild temperatures and RAIN. We decided to go anyway, but we did change the route a bit so we wouldn’t be going against the wind. We started from Tønsvik, so that the first part was in a sheltered valley.

We had to cross a small ridge to get to the next valley where the cabin was. On the way up, we met two girls who warned us that the wind at the top was very strong and it was difficult going. It was good to be prepared, as it really was quite horrible up there. Very strong winds, and horizontal rain.

Here we reached the top – only in a “slightly” wrong location. We had taken a bit of a detour but luckily it didn’t take too long to get back on track. After a long trip, we were very happy to finally see the hut on the horizon!

It was about 5 degrees inside the hut, so we quickly lit the stove. We were all hungry and tired so we enjoyed our candlelit dinner. After about an hour, the temperature in the hut had risen to 32 degrees – wow! In the second photo you can see some impressions of the hut.

Gilly drew this brilliant impression (in the guestbook) of what it was like to follow Paul-the-ever-optimistic on our way to the hut…

We were hoping the weather would be a bit more friendly the next day, but when we woke up the wind was even stronger. It was a bit colder though so at least we had snow rather than rain. This is Nonsbu, the hut we stayed in, and Ian on his way to the separate toilet building …

Another one of Ian’s brave attempts to reach the toilet building, and to fill some buckets with snow (hopefully not too close to the toilet). The second photo was taken just before we set off – it was blowing like crazy.

The wind did calm down after a while, but we kept being hit by snow showers and strong gusts during which there was no visibility. Next time, I should take ski goggles too!

Lunch break, on the second day.

We took the quickest way back because the weather was deteriorating, following a valley to the road, but it was tough going. Especially as all the streams that are normally hidden far below the snow had become a problem after the mild weather. The very last one we had to cross had a nasty surprise for Doz – he fell through the ice and into the water which was rather deeper than we thought 🙁 At this point we were still about 2 km from the road so we made a big effort to get home as quickly as possible. When we got to the road, I decided to ring the doorbell of a house we passed to ask if they could call us a taxi to get us home as quickly as possible. Instead we were all invited inside and given coffee, while waiting for the next bus – such a warm welcome after two very cold and windy days!

Below is a map and a height profile of our trip, on the first day we were supposed to follow the blue line so it’s easy to see the detour we made 😉 I do love my new gadget though, Paul got me this gps for Christmas and it’s really great. I bought a map of the area for it, no more faffing with paper maps on top of windy mountains!

We were all very happy when we finally made it home to a warm flat, a warm shower, and pizza 🙂 The next day we had a relaxed day in town before our guests all flew back to the UK. We really enjoyed having them visit!

4 Responses to “The Southamptonites”

  1. Cool pix Hanneke. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun!!! 🙂

  2. Gilly says:

    We really did. Thanks for having us to stay. We had an excellent time.

  3. Conway says:

    Looks like a wild adventure you lot had! Those pictures are great too. sotonski_11.jpg, sotonski_20.jpg and sotonski_30.jpg are epic! 😀

  4. Hanneke says:

    @Elusive Moose, thanks, we did!

    @Gilly – we really enjoyed having you stay 🙂 you're welcome to come back anytime!

    @Ben, thanks! It was quite wild at times indeed 😀 I'm glad it all went ok(ish) – a meteorologist in trouble because of bad weather (which I even forecasted myself) would be a bit silly 😀

    BTW, I have been on the radio twice now, I'll place the link to the online archive soon 🙂