Lofoten: Days 3 to 5

In Trip Reports On Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Day 3 To Reinebringen
I slept through the sunrise alarm and I woke up feeling great! More clear blue skies were on show. A slow start to the morning meant that we missed the 9am ferry (although we didn’t know what time the ferry was until it was too late). That meant that we had to wait around until 3pm to get the Ferry to Reine (we had originally intended to go to Kjerkfjorden, but the ferry went straight to Reine). It was no problem to relax for a few hours, take our time over packing up and then head down to the café at Vindstad for a snack and a drink. Every trip needs at least 1 lazy day!

The cafe at Vindstad was great

The azure waters of the fjord were something else.

The ferry was absolutely packed on the way back to Reine but the ride was beautiful. We passed a tandem kayak on the way and decided that it would be a great thing to do if we had another calm day.

The ferry around the fjord gets very busy! Most people catch the morning boat from Reine to Bunes and then the afternoon return.

The plan for the rest of the day was to head up Reinebringen and camp (hopefully) on the ridge. Emma’s legs were a bit tired so I offered to take almost all the gear and food needed for the overnight stay. We stashed Emma’s pack (full of food and items we wouldn’t need) and started the short and steep climb up Reinebringen. At various sections you are on all fours to clamber up and a rope occasionally comes in handy. The few hikers that we met thought we were mad to attempt camping in the ridge which put a smile on my face.

On the way up to Reinebringen walking through the birch forest at the start.

Once up there we found a couple of suitable camping spots. Neither were particularly flat or level but you can’t be too picky on mountain ridges and we settled on a spot which was well sheltered with great views. I took quite a few photos just in case the impossible happened and it clouded over. We also took the obligatory ‘look how tiny I am relative to this massive landscape’ photos standing precariously close to the edge. Great fun!

I often harp on about how wild camping allows you to sleep on location. This took it to the extreme! This is me taking a few shots in case the weather took a cataclysmic change for the worse, but I had big hopes for sunset and sunrise.

Emma looking over Reine. You have to have a head for heights in Lofoten!

We headed further up the ridge for sunset to find a viewpoint well away from the tent so that the images I took in the morning wouldn’t be duplicates of the evening before. Walking along the ridge was absolutely stunning, the footing was very good but you are completely exposed for large sections and the views are to die for. Sunset was a classic blue skies affair, very predictable and with plenty of time to get the composition right.

We walked along the ridge so that I could get a different viewpoint to our campsite

This is actually where I was stood to take the previous image. It’s not posed!

We walked back to the tent taking photos as twilight approached. Once back at ‘home’ I found it hard to get in the tent and go to bed, such was the feeling of piece and solitude. I did take a few long exposure images of the mist drifting out of the fjords, which turned out to be one of the most successful images of the trip.

I doubt there are many finer ridge walks. Although the drops are steep the route is easily walked with minimal actual risk. You can see my ‘bumbag’ the detachable lid of my rucksack which came in quite handy

Mist drifting through the fjords at twilight. I shot this composition perhaps 10 times in a range of light.

Blue sky so pure you could drink it. A perfect end to the day

Day 4 to Reine then Vaeroy
I was up early on day 4, too excited to sleep with the prospect of a sunrise at such an incredible location. I’d already decided upon my shot the evening before, a massive panorama encompassing the entire view to the west. Not a ground breaking composition, but it was certainly enough to get me out of my sleeping bag!

The image I finally settled on was taken a little later when the sun was producing a nice level of contrast.

The mist was continuing to drift through the fjords and as the sun rose I shot not only the view over Reine but also some tighter compositions of the mist below the rising sun and out to sea.

I literally dream of conditions like this.

The light soon went from orange to golden and I focussed myself on a simple composition of Reinevatet, a small elevated lake above Reinebringen.

It looks like a crater but Reinevatnet has glacial origins like the rest of the area

Happy with the mornings work I had some breakfast and helped Emma to pack up the tent. I must admit that she did most of the work, I couldn’t resist reshooting that view over and over! Just before we headed down the mountain mist drifted over Reine and I captured one last image of the scene before it became enveloped.

A parting image of Reine.

On the way down

Emma and I were both keen to use the rest of the day to try our hand at kayaking. The owner of the rental place told us that usually you would have to have kayaking experience to head into the fjord but since there was no wind he’d let us take one out. The cost to rent a tandem kayak for the whole day was £60, not bad at all. The owner described a secluded pool to us in Kjerkfjorden where the water flowing into it was heated by flowing over a southerly facing granite cliff which we agreed would be a great idea to visit. The waters of the fjord were glassy, the only sounds was of the paddles entering and exiting the water, I have rarely done anything so peaceful! As we glided through the water we passes jellyfish and we soon skirting around the coast.

The water was like glass, a soothing a peaceful experience, I wish I was back there on that water

It took us just over an hour to reach the waterfall where we had a swim, it was a fantastic experience. The water was warm just as described and we took our time enjoying the surroundings.

The pastey Englishman. Someone pass the SPF50

On the way back to Reine the wind picked up a little making the water a little rougher and the paddling slightly harder, I could see how I wouldn’t like to be out there when it was windy.

A very happy man! I’d spent months thinking about ‘what if it rains all the time’ scenarios!

We were back at Reine just before 6pm and, after mocking Emma for her ‘Trail Mix’ which he described as a ‘bag of sugar’, the owner kindly of the kayak rental offered to take us down to Moskenes so we could catch a ferry over to Vaeroy. On the way I quizzed him about Lofoten in the winter and he explained some of the ski routes people took and how it was possible to hike up Reinebringen even in the snow. That had me dreaming of mountaintop aurora images. Time will tell if I get the chance!

A snapshot of Vaeroy from the ferry. We were soon to be in the mist!

The Ferry ride to Vaeroy was smooth and the sun came down during the journey. I snapped a few images of Vaeroy and Mosken, but the motion of the boat made it impossible to do any serious work.
Vaeroy itself was shrouded in sea mist when we arrived. We started a hike up to the hills above but part way through I realised that the distances were twice what the map had lead me to believe (the map of Vaeroy on the opposite side of the map was 1:100,000, not 1:50,000 like the rest of the map!).

The isolated wooden buildings brought back distant memories of my childhood, from age 3-5 I lived in Mississippi

We walked for a while through the town, passing beautiful wooden houses in various states of disrepair. In the mist there was a quite magical atmosphere and I had a strong sense of being in Mississippi where I had lived for 2 years as a toddler! Funnily enough that walk stands as one of the highlights of the trip for me, perhaps because of the nostalgic feeling it gave me.

Taken at around 11pm we were tired but the atmosphere was pure magi

We reached the bottom of the ridge at 11.30pm and since we were both tired we accepted defeat and camped at the bottom in quite a disappointing location by recent standards.
Day 5 – Back to Reine
Sunrise on Vaeroy was a cloudy affair so I made no effort to get up and slept in to almost 11am. It wasn’t until after midday that we finally made our way up to the ridge that would provide views over the horizon. Unfortunately the sea mist was still there hovering around the highest level of the ridge. Apart from a few glimpses of the peaks there wasn’t much to see and I didn’t take a single landscape image. It was at that point that I decided that staying in the mist on Vaeroy probably wasn’t a productive way to spend our holiday when the weather was so nice on Moskenesoya so we agreed to catch the late night ferry back to Moskenes.

A brief glimpse towards Lofoten. I wasn’t fast enough to set up my SLR!

Whilst waiting for the ferry to arrive we got chatting to a Norwegian couple who told us a bit of the history of Vaeroy and Lofoten. They were clearly very proud of their country and rightly so! They offered to give us a lift from Moskenes to Reine when we got in, which we gladly accepted, keen to catch the morning ferry from Reine the next day.
In Reine there is nowhere official to camp (despite the fact that demand must be quite high!). Up on Reinebringen a couple of night previous we had spotted some tents on a piece of land near the sea and so that is where we headed to camp. We were well out of sight of any buildings so I assumed this wouldn’t unduly upset anyone. We weren’t in bed till 1am but we were right where we needed to be to start the next stage of our trip.

6 Comments

  1. Ryan Simpson 10th May 2014

    Class blog mate, I’m planning this exact trip to Reine in July, been going through the ‘I hope it doesn’t rain’ scenarios myself! Hopefully my photos are half as good as yours!

  2. Michael Wuk 1st June 2014

    Really enjoyed your blog! I’m planning a similar trip with my girlfriend this August, by pure coincidence going nearly the same route as you have here!

    I was wondering, where did you rent the kayak from? Do you by any chance remember the name of the company/person who rented it out to you?

  3. Hallo Alex,

    I’m currently planning a trip to the lofoten for summer next year. While gathering information I stumbled upon your site/trip report, which is a very interesting read and the pictures are awesome. As I also plan to do some kayaking the warm waterfall you describe especially caught my attention. Do you mind sharing the location of that waterfall you paddled to? Greetings from Germany! Martin

  4. Michael Blackstock 13th January 2016

    Brilliant pictures, Alex. A group of us are heading to Reine this June and are wanting to do some backpacking and I’d love to pick your brain if you don’t mind. I’m going to do some research right now on multi-day backpacks in the area, but any information you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration!

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