Lofoten this summer......^

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CCL
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Lofoten this summer......^

Post by CCL » Tue May 30, 2006 11:19 pm

....I should be up there end July/early August after the Sjoa Festival with a couple of Norwegian friends. Sadly, will not be there early enough for the Sea kayak symposium that is happening.

I was hoping that the good folks of UKSKB might be able to provide a few top tips and handy hints:

*best source of tidal information/tidal gates/local knowledge
*favourite spots (no detailed wild campsites please!)
*is it worth taking cars across to Bode or cheaper/better to leave them there?
*any top tips re food/equipment you wish you had packed?
*or stuff you never used ?

hope to be able to come back with a trip report for you Mike...

thanks in anticipation ;)

Claire

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Erling
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Post by Erling » Wed May 31, 2006 7:43 am

Claire;
I will not call this top tips exactly, but it might be a start.

A good site for tidal info in Norway is http://www.math.uio.no/tidepred/
Choose location ("Vel stasjon"). Go for Røst.
First day ("Dag for start")
Period for prediction in hours ("Varsling for perioden, timar")

In beginning of August, there will be around 1,2 m difference between low and high tide. I have not (yet) been able to find local info on current directions etc. But be aware that even if the tidal differences are not impressive, there may still be strong currents due to large fjords emptying and filling. Particularly in the areas Vestvågøy, Flakstadøy, Moskenesøy, Mosken and Værøy there will be strong tidal currents like Nappstraumen, Sundstraumen and also the more widely known Moskenestraumen (ref. Edgar Alan Poe's description from 1841: "... sending forth to the winds an appalling voice, half shriek, half roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven." Have a nice trip!).

As for favourite spots, I have never paddled in Lofoten myself. But even if I have made frequent visits to the area in the past, I frankly do not know how to advice you. In short; you can hardly go wrong. If you mostly or exclusively will be wild camping you have unlimited options, if you will be staying in rented cottages you need to plan your route accordingly.

If you want to test ideas, use the excellent resource http://norgeibilder.no to zoom in to the areas in question and take a look at the aerial photos - a lot better resolution than Google Earth. You'll soon spot the many sandy beaches between the rocky mountains.

Bringing a car or not? Depends entirely on your plans. You could leave it at Bodø and take the kayaks on the ferry or Hurtigruta across Vestfjorden to Svolvær (or the ferry out to Røst if you prefer), but this will limit your range. If you go to Røst you will not need a car though.

Have you tried the local tourist information, BTW?
http://www.lofoten-startside.no/engelskindex.htm

Apart from that, well, Lofoten is of course Lofoten. But personally I prefer Helgeland a bit further south (between Trondheim and Bodø) for kayaking.

Regards,
Erling.
The older I get, the better I used to be.

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Post by Owen » Wed May 31, 2006 10:14 am

Hi Clare,

There have been two articles in the paddling magazines recently.

March canoe & kayak by Olly Sanders had quite a bit of general information, trip planning, travel etc.

June Paddles by Mike Dales.

These might be useful if you can get hold of copies.

Jon Wood
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Post by Jon Wood » Wed May 31, 2006 11:36 am

I paddled there last year in June. Much warmer than I expected (maybe just lucky with a Wood Weather Window!).
I did struggle to deal with the lack of darkness for getting a good night's sleep, but you may be over the worst of the midnight sun.
Fishing was simplicity, if you are into fresh food.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Wed May 31, 2006 2:42 pm

Jon Wood wrote:Fishing was simplicity, if you are into fresh food.
It might have been for some people - I certainly didn't experience any 'beginners luck'!!

We largely stayed on the SE ('inshore') side - because of forecast strong winds which never really materialised. However, we did creep round the bottom end of Moskensoya (past the location of the Maelstrom) at slack, camping and creeping back next day.

Tides: Easytide will give you times for many ports along the Lofoten chain - though of course you need to pay if you want them more than 7 days in advance! One interesting charcteristic is that the tide forms a standing wave between Lofoten and the maninland (Vestfjord?) such that high and low water are at virtually the same time right along the SE side of the chain. As far as I am aware, all that anyone found out about streams was a scientific paper from Oslo University maths department (I think) about modelling tidal flows in the area, which indicated that prediction agreeed with reality regarding flows through the sounds between islands. As I recall, the streams lagged HW and LW by about 3 hours and were at their strongest at HW and LW, flowing NW at HW and SW at LW. That is what one might expect from the funnelling effect in Vestfjord. But it would be as well to try to Google for the paper and check that my memory is correct (I can't find my copy)! Streams were, as Erling has said, strongest in the sounds and pretty negligible elsewhere.

Regarding wild camping - it's difficult to be really wild in some places. The main road along the islands runs along the SE shore for much of its length. Also, any small flat area of land tends to have a house on it - even in places away from the road where the only access would be by boat - and larger areas tend have a village or town occupying them. Having said that, we found some excellent sites particularly on islands in the sounds. If the weather is good enough for you to get out onto the NW coasts, I'm sure it would be easier to find really wild camping.

A car over there (plus hitching) might help you to choose the best areas for 'mini-trips' if you are reduced to weather-dodging. Otherwise, you could get a ferry out to one end of the chain and back from the other carrying boats on (if this is tolerated) but it would leave you a reasonably major logistical problem shuttling between ports on the mainland.

Favourite spots - all of it! It's stunning. Think paddling through the Alps in a sea boat! We were there in June, and even had the snow on the mountains still - I guess a lot of that will have gone by August - but it is still awe-inspiring scenery. Makes me wish I was there just writing about it!

Don't forget to stock up on duty free wine/whisky on the ferry/airport - its prohibitively priced once in Norway, as I'm sure you are aware. Oh, and if you are driving up, be prepared for a long drive - and watch the speed cameras!!

Have fun!

Dave Thomas

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Post by Zoe Newsam » Wed May 31, 2006 2:48 pm

Owen wrote:June Paddles by Mike Dales.
Hi Claire,

The above was the Lofoten trip Mike & I planned, then because of work commitments I couldn't go. Mike's the SCA Access Officer- try emailing him for some tips.

Also, Justine C was over there 18 months ago- she gave me a couple of local paddling contacts. Try emailing her at CackleTV.

I'm not jealous at all, honest...

Z
Zoe Newsam
Sea Kayak Guide & Mountain Leader

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Post by Dave Thomas » Wed May 31, 2006 4:25 pm

Found the paper I mentioned - actually an article from 'Nature'. It's at

http://www.math.uio.no/~bjorng/moskstra ... nature.pdf

The bit about currents between the islands is near the top of the second page - I was slightly out in my recollection of timings, but the general sense was there.

Dave Thomas

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Norwegian Tidal and Sea Level Data

Post by eriksjos » Wed May 31, 2006 6:48 pm

Can be found here:
http://vannstand.statkart.no/Engelsk/main.php

I have never been in Lofoten, but in the area Helgelandskysten, 200km south of Lofoten around the polar circle and that is a very nice area. http://www.helgelandskysten.no/

Some pictures from our trips (in 2004 and 2005) can be found here (text only in swedish, sorry):
http://www.kajak.nu/bilder/bilder2004/norge/index.html
http://www.kajak.nu/bilder/bilder2005/norge/index.html

erik

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Post by CaileanMac » Wed May 31, 2006 11:09 pm

Claire,

Lucky devil.....I'm stuck in the office for the whole of July....:-(
Enjoy and do share your photos / trip report.

CaileanMac

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Post by CCL » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:28 am

HUGE thanks all.....as expected the UKSKGB community trumps all my other sources of information (google included!) and so quickly too!

What a relief that you are all better at this trip planning malarkey than me! ;)

Can't wait to get out to Norway in July. I will pick the brains of other expeditioners on the St Kilda trip in a weeks time too!

trip report - to follow!

Claire

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Post by Erling » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:27 pm

Claire;
You might find this site useful for planning, even if the text is Norwegian only.
Click on the dots on the map, and a page will open with photos and maps of the area, and a text describing access, landing conditions, views, supply of fresh water and firewood etc.
Don't hesitate to contact me for translation assistance.
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Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:18 pm

Wow - that's quite a website! Who is it aimed at, Erling - kayakers? the yachting fraternity??

Don't think it would go down too well in certain quarters if it related to Scotland!!

Incidentally, Claire - forgot to mention in yesterday's post that Norwegian 'OS' maps at 1:50,000 (and an overal Tourist sheet of Lofoten at 1:100,00) are available from several on-line sources in this country - could dig out the links for where I got mine if you are interested.

Dave Thomas

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Erling
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Post by Erling » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:40 pm

Dave Thomas wrote:Wow - that's quite a website! Who is it aimed at, Erling - kayakers? the yachting fraternity??
It has been put together by a kayaker/yachter (is that a word??) living in Tromsø, Bent Svinnung, and the content reflects his interests. Lofoten is only one of the regions in Northern Norway that is covered, if you follow the links under the page title you are directed to similar sites for Tromsø, Senja, Vesterålen, Helgeland etc.

And you're right, the level of details can of course be questioned. In this case, please keep in mind that these are very sparsley populated areas that don't exactly get flooded by tourists.
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Post by CCL » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:43 pm

Dave - links for 1:50000 maps of Lofoten would be great. I have some 1:100,000 stuff here but prefer a smaller scale.

Erling's web link is amazing isn;t it? I was thinking it would be great if I could download all this info/websites and related pages onto some whizzy gadget thingy...all available offline.

It would certainly be a great resource and have of our party speak norwegian! Have power to charge laptop in the car so that is one possibility...

Claire

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Maps

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:27 pm

Claire,

The maps can be bought from Stanfords.

Working North and East from the Southern tip, the numbers are

Lofotodden - Sheet 1830.1
Moskensoy - Sheet 1031.111
Leknes - Sheet 1031.11
Stamsund - Sheet 1131.111
Gimsoya - Sheet 1131.1V
Austvagoya - Sheet 1131.1

These maps are virtually identical to UK Ordnance survey. I have these except Stamsund and Gimsoya which I must have had once but can't find.

We took the fery over from Melbu; having a vehicle meant we could look for sheltered places to paddle as it blew quite hard. We took to the boats at the North end of Nappstraumen and paddled through; there was a tide against us there, but I don't think there was any significant flow on the east coast to the south of that. There was a strong flow round the south end, as you would expect on the edge of Moskenstraumen, but the race was well offshore. I don't know if we had any tidal info, it was 17 years ago.

We went in May, which was like Scotland in March/April in terms of general feel to the weather. Overall, Lofoten is like a very exaggerated West Coast of Scotland; steeper, very dramatic mountains, bigger tide races, unpredictable, wet and windy weather, and locals who you can't understand a word from, but who were friendly and helpful, apart from the ones who were drunk!

It's useful to identify your boats with UK flags, so that you don't get mistaken for Germans, who are not popular. I don't suppose that's changed since 1989; it hadn't much in the 44 years since 1945.

Have a good trip.

Chris

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Post by CCL » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:37 pm

MikeB
this is an amazingly informative thread - would you consider linking it to the trips page so it's easy for anyone to find it in the future?

Thanks
Claire

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Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:49 pm

When I bought my maps last year (at the last minute - but that's me!), Stanfords and http://www.mapsworldwide.com/ could have supplied the 1:50,000 sheets (thanks, Chris, for supplying the numbers) but with an ordering time of a couple of weeks (IIRC). They did have the 1:100,000 sheet in stock. http://www.themapshop.co.uk/ had the 1:50,000 sheets I wanted in stock - I ordered them about 4pm - by phone to check availability - and go them the next day.

Dave Thomas

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Post by MikeB » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:49 pm

Will be - - -

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Post by CCL » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:55 pm

Dave - thanks for that link to the mapshop - super helpful. I'll phone them in the morning...
Claire

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:27 am

Photos, Claire? Trip report?

Get it sorted! I need something to drool over.
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CCL
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Post by CCL » Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:32 pm

Thanks for the prompt Mark. Yes, it's on my list of things to do!

I could come up with the 'dog ate my homework' excuse but I suspect you've heard them all....

Truthfully - I'm typing one handed at the moment and learning writing with my left hand (I'm right handed) as my right hand/arm is 'injured' still. My left handed 'mouse' skills are somewhat flaky too!

Will be back on the water asap and Norway write up is not forgotten - though perhaps I had naughtily given myself an 'extension'!

Claire ; )
(not been in a boat since 11th August!!!!)

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Post by Mark R » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:18 pm

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