Day 6 – To Krakhammartinden
We packed up early and headed down to catch the ferry at around 10am (I don’t remember the exact time), the ferry actually left 15 minutes early leaving potential passengers looking dejected on the pier. The ferry is only guaranteed to go back and forth between Vindstad and Reine, so we had to ask to be dropped off at Kjerkefjord. The hike to Horseid beach isn’t particularly difficult although certainly more challenging than Bunes (which is probably a bit more photogenic anyway). The path like many in Lofoten is quite poor, but ultimately it poses no real challenge. It seemed to take forever to reach the sea and we passed some lovely patterns in the sand on the way, but the cloudy conditions and a stiff breeze didn’t exactly invite us to sit down and relax. Instead we turned around and hiked up to the pass between Markan and Krakhammartinden. The climb was only a few hundred meters but Emma and I were both feeling very tired and took constant breaks. Although we had initially planned to hike much further on that day I hadn’t come to Lofoten to do a death march and, with the spectacular Krakhammartinden above, it was an easy choice to set up camp on the pass.
The weather by 6pm was still very gloomy with think mid level cloud. The forecast for the day had actually said that the skies would be clear by 9am! By that point in the day I’d pretty much given up hope of a sunset, the weather looked like it had set for the night. We had our regular dinner of noodles and a few snacks inside the tent and when I peaked my head out of the tent next at around 9pm the odd shaft of light had appeared in the distance. I quickly got my camera gear ready and headed out of the tent just as Krakhammertinden began to light up and the ridge opposite produced spectacular crepuscular rays.
What followed was a fantastic hour or so of photography with dramatic skies and rapidly changing light. I was incredibly excited to have a light show in such a spectacular location and Emma walked around outside smiling at how happy I was.
We returned to the tent under clear skies and I set multiple alarms for sunrise.
Day 7 – To Kvalvika
Peaking my head out of the tent at 4am to see more clear skies I took no time in getting dressed and heading up to Markan. I wanted to get a different perspective on the surroundings from the night before and to get above the ridge line to see further to the north. The view on top was excellent, particularly over Horseid beach; I would have loved to have stayed another night to photograph it at sunset.
The breeze was pretty stiff but I managed to find a sheltered spot and lay down eating some trail mix waiting for the light. A cruise ship passed the northern coast and I wondered how many would be up to enjoy the impending sunrise, not many I suspect!
The first image I made was out towards Selfjord as the sun rose. Compositionally I felt the strongest image would come from shooting Krakhammertinden once more, this time revealing the view to the opposite side of the peak. The sidelight from the rising sun gave form and depth to the view.
Happy with the mornings work, but incredibly sleepy I headed back to the tent and crashed out. By 11am we were up and about again and soon on our way to Selfjord and onwards to Kvalvika Beach.
The hike down to Selfjord was pretty tiring, with muddy ground and boulder fields to navigate, but it was certainly beautiful. We met a German lady when I stopped to photograph a nearby pool and we got chatting about hiking and cycle touring. She explained what cloudberries were to me and confirmed our earlier assumption that the berries we had spotted in various places were in face blueberries. I was eating berries from that point on!
The hike along Selfjord in the sunshine was equally lovely and the flatter ground was welcome. We took a turning off for Kvalvika and found our way through the birch forest until eventually we reached the beach.
We were both feeling the effects of our walk at this point, but keen to be on top of Ryten for sunrise I suggested to Emma that we go up a couple of hundred meters and camp near a pool. We set ourselves goals along the extremely short hike, such was our tiredness: ‘You see that big rock up there? We’ll get in line with that and then have a short rest’. Legs aching we reached the pool and set up our tent on perfectly flat ground. I didn’t feel I had the energy to do any photography at sunset (we later worked out that we had eaten far less than we needed) so instead we had our dinner and went to bed.
At midnight I awoke (as often happens when I am camping) and checked outside to see the conditions. To my surprise I saw what I thought at first were noctilucent clouds before they swiftly moved across the sky. Shouting excitedly ‘Emma, Northern Lights, Northern Lights!!’ I grabbed my camera and immediately started taking photos. We weren’t actually in a great position to take any serious landscape images of the Aurora so instead I took a few images of the tent. The show went on sporadically for about 90 minutes before the sky started to get brighter and we retreated back to the tent. We were incredibly lucky to see Aurora in mid August and it stands as the best moment of the trip for me.
Day 8 – To Ramberg
Up at 4 under clear skies and feeling sleep deprived from the Aurora watching I made the short hike up to the top of Ryten, reaching the top just as the sun crested the horizon. The turquoise waters down at the beach were quite stunning beneath the backdrop of peaks lit red by the rising sun. Again I chose to shoot a wide panoramic, an approach I am increasingly taking with my work in an attempt to capture the scale of a scene.
Once I had my image I headed back down the hill, with my legs giving me some grief. All this hiking was starting to have an effect!
We left camp at around 11.30am and headed in the direction of Ramberg, stopping to pick and eat cloudberries along the way. We stopped off at a roadside abandoned building for lunch. It was unbelievably weathered and although I rarely photograph structures I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
We crossed a couple of bridges and finally walked onto Flakstadoya with the weather starting to come in. Happy that we’d walked onto a new island I put my thumb up in the hope of a lift the remaining couple of miles to Ramberg. The first car we saw stopped and we were soon buying pizza (Bunnpris supermarket in Ramberg is far cheaper than buying food in Reine) and checking into the Ramberg Campsite (which is excellent). In the evening we had a stroll along the white sands of the nearby beach.
Day 9 – Ramberg
Day 9 was a rainy day of lazing around eating fatty foods and watching Norwegian television (and Murder She Wrote!) in the kitchen of the Ramberg campsite. Normally I would say that it was a waste of a day, we could have at least taken a bus somewhere, but doing absolutely nothing felt great!