Fjords, mountains and beaches

Morgan, the executive assistant for the Outdoor Swimming Society, explores the highest mountains, deepest fjords and desolate beaches of the western and central fjord regions of Norway

A three-week trip to Central and Western Norway just after starting my role as the executive assistant to the Outdoor Swimming Society provided my husband and I (and our not so willing dog) with a perfect excuse to challenge ourselves to swim every day in new waters.

The clear skies and warm air temperatures meant the cool waters fed by meltwater from snow patches and glaciers were a welcome relief to all of us. We wound our way around fjords, up mountain passes and to wild west coast beaches, dipping wherever we could and sometimes tentatively swimming for a few chance minutes before warming up in the sunshine.

Whilst we swam in over twenty different places, we had ten spots that really stood out. Find this collection on the wildswim map here.

 

Eidforden

After heading east from Bergen, we sought out the remote farm of Kjeasen, perched 150 m above Eidforden.  After returning from a hot vertical climb up to the farm we scrambled down to a small beach next to the lakeshore, overlooking the hydropower station. A huge glacial valley lay before us and we dipped in the bright green fjord, a spectacular colour we would become familiar with over the next three weeks.

Find the swim spot here.

Flotevatnet

Heading towards the Jotenheim and Norway’s highest mountains, we came upon a plateau scattered with crystal clear lakes, all along one of the most beautiful roads in Norway. This lake was right next to the road and so was calling us for a quick dip. With our wetsuits on we were able to stay in for around 10 minutes and managed a swim over to the snow patch feeding the lake.

Find the swim spot here.

Nigardsbreen

As a glaciologist in a previous life I had to visit Nigardsbreen; one of the most spectacular glaciers in Norway. We parked at the far end of the glacial valley and walked along the flat valley bottom, stopping for a very quick dip in a quiet corner of the lake with the glacier as a backdrop. Breathtaking in more than one way…

Find the swim spot here.

Øvre Hervavatnet

Dying for another swim, we made our way along the road that winds its way into the Jotumheim. We parked up next to a reservoir and, with the sun beating down on us, had another quick swim and then basked in the sun with our picnic. Travelling further north along the road we then came across a beautiful patchwork of small lakes overlooking the highest mountains of the park – whilst this spot was spectacular, we were happy we had swum earlier, away from the crowds, which this viewpoint drew in.

Find the swim spot here.

Bøverdalen

As we made our way down the Bøverdalen valley a green, sparkling river flowed alongside the road. At the first opportunity we were in the shallow sediment-filled waters, and, for the first time since being in Norway, had found our first spot where we could stay in for more than ten minutes, so welcome in the increasingly hot weather.

Find the swim spot here.

Gudbrandsdalslagen

After a few days in the Jotunheim we headed for the coast, via some unplanned swim spots on the way. We came across the Gudbrandsdalslagen gorge accidentally, but didn’t regret stopping to jump from the gorge sides into the deep clear gorge and watch fish beat the upstream current underneath us.

Find the swim spot here.

Slettvikelva

As we made our way to the coast we took a detour up the Trollstigen pass. Stopping at the top, high above the rest of Norway and nestled in a mountainous glacial valley, we swam early in the morning in a clear calm lake, making bubbles and enjoying the warmer water, which allowed us to swim along the lake before warming up with our morning coffee.

Find the swim spot here.

Alnes

We reached the coast, relieved we were away from coach tours and motorhomes. After stopping in Alesund, a spectacular western coastal port, we travelled on a road close to the sea as far as the small island of Alnes, where we found a sandy beach next to the lighthouse, and dipped in the cold Norwegian sea, feeling in awe of the huge Arctic sea that stretched before us.

Find the swim spot here.

Refviksanden

Heading down the west coast, we visited the campsite at Refviksanden for a rare and welcome shower. During the hot, calm day the award-wining beach was packed, but as the weather turned blustery and cool the next morning we had it to ourselves, and the relatively warm, shallow water was perfect for swimming.

Find the swim spot here.

 

Fjaerland

It was nearing the end of our trip, so we turned our route into a loop and visited Fjaerland, a place I had been before and loved. After visiting Flatbreen, a glacier high above the fjord, we dipped in the chilly and deep waters of Fjaerlandsfjorden from the mooring in Fjaerland, Norway’s book town, and followed it with a cold locally-made beer in the pub.

Find the swim spot here.

Morgan Jones