"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Yeti again


Last night Nick, Bent and I had a couple of glasses of wine at Senja Lodge before Rich and Jim arrived at 9pm, wired from the drive from Tromso. So it seemed a good idea to break out the Jameson and Amaretto. We went to bed at midnight after a couple too many and didn't wake up until 9.  

Another day above zero degrees. We drove via Senjahopen and through the tunnel to Ersfjord. The pillar we had spotted up on the right after the tunnel seemed a bit scary in the warm temperatures so we parked the car across the fjord And walked in our snowshoes up to what looked to be a short and quite easy climb. As always it proved both longer and harder than it looked (120m, first pitch WI3, the second a streaming WI4+). A good climb. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


We've moved into Senja Lodge across the road from the Brygge. (We had been due to move straight in when we arrived on Saturday evening but Bent the Lodge owner was still decorating it). Anyway Bent has an Alaskan Malamut called Yeti.  


The weather is truly minging this morning (not, as Nick so nicely put it, mingeing
- I thought it best to correct him in case he says it again in polite company). Proper Scottish mingin: sleet and high winds. So we are sitting in our room in the Mefjord Brygge drinking tea. 

While Nick was looking despondently out of the window earlier he saw a large otter loping along the main street of the village. It must have been the same animal that left the tracks I saw yesterday. 

Here are some old Norse words we've come across:

Vær - fishing village
Botn - bottom, lowest end, innermost part of a landform such as a valley or fjord
Brygge - wharf, quay
Fisk - fish

Monday, 27 February 2012


Nick is blogging too: http://nickonice.blogspot.com/ 

What a fun pair we are. 

Knee report

This is what my knee looked like 2 weeks ago after I pulled a lump of chalk onto it at the cliffs at Saltdean. It has been slow to mend. I was on crutches for the first week and  swelling, discomfort and swelling continued into the middle of last week. 

None of that mattered much EXCEPT (as I today confessed to Nick) I had been thinking my injury would scupper the trip. 

But my knee stood up well to the climb today and hasn't suffered any ill effects. Tremendous relief!

Tunnel Cuddling

After a breakfast of green tea and porridge we drove south along Mefjord past Senjahopen. On the way, a sea eagle dropped down onto the road ahead then flew away. Turning the bend toward where it had landed another eagle was standing in tthe road clutching a fish. It turned its head to look at us as we approached, before spreading its wings and flapping lazily away. The first eagle must have been trying to steal the fish. 

We parked and walked along the road to the base of a 100m climb, 3m from the road by the entrance to a tunnel. The first pitch was WI3/4 the second probably hard 4. Both of us had hotaches at the first belay, in my case nowhere near as bad as the worst I've had but enough to bring on nausea as my hands thrummed with new blood. Later as I stood belaying Nick, with heavy spindrift whirling around and up into my face I wondered "why do we do this?". I later learned Nick was thinking something similar at the uncomfortable top belay as he brought me up. But a lot of the climbing was enjoyable, despite our slight rustiness, and the memory of discomfort always seems to fade fast. 

As we got back to our bags after the abseil, another sea eagle soared low over the fjord. 

(The climb is called Tunnel Cuddling, in case you were wondering). 

More about fish

Last night I cooked the two cod steaks in Norwegian fish sauce (Lofoten Fiskesaus) with pasta and broccoli. It was pretty good though I say it myself. 


This would be a great place to spend Christmas.

Last night I saw some animal tracks running past our front door and ending in a slide down a slipway to the sea. Sea-otter?!


On Saturday night our Lithuanian friend (who seems to subsist on protein shakes and fish) spent a couple of hours heading and gutting this plate of Capelin. Last night he fried and ate them with the result that the kitchen, which has a not wholly unpleasant background smell of fish anyway, smells stronger than usual this morning.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Aled Jones is not Aled Jones


Nick and Holly picked me up at 5am yesterday to drive to Heathrow. The journey as a whole was fairly painless but involved flights to Oslo and then on to Tromso, followed by a 3 hr snowy drive to Senja island.

We are in Mefjordvær, a small fishing village on a fjord surrounded by mountains to the north of the island. We are staying at Mefjord Brygge Lodge which is full of workers in the local fishing industry. I made friends with one of them, a Lithuanian, who gave us 2 large, very fresh cod steaks

Last night there was a party-disco in the bar below us (it seems much of the village turns up once a month to party) but we opted for bed.

Rucsacs are now packed for a reconnoitre.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Gedgrave Broom

This is the old cottage near Orford where 11 of us celebrated my birthday, with a great roast dinner, fine wine and a few mice. It is hidden away on the edge of its own wood. Silent except for the hooting of owls and the sound of partying. A great time was had.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made." - attributed to John Godfrey Saxe C19th American poet. I don't care. This weekend I will be eating sausages made by EW Revett & Sons, a butcher in Woodbridge, Suffolk, which makes the finest sausages in the world.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Hooray for the NHS

Nick and I are due to fly to Northern Norway in a fortnight for 3 weeks of ice climbing, first on Senja island and later around the Lavangen area, not far from Tromso. Yesterday we drove down to the Saltdean chalk cliffs for training. Here's Nick making shapes. Not long after taking this photo I pulled a lump of chalk off the cliff with my axe. The lump landed on my knee. After I got over the initial pain I found I could stand, so thought nothing of it - until a couple of hours later by which time the knee was swollen and wouldn't support my weight. After a painful night I hopped into the Accident & Emergency at Whittington Hospital this morning where I was xray'd and told I have no fractures or torn ligaments. Nick is mighty relieved that the trip is still on. He hasn't taken out any insurance yet.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

This land is your land

Nothing much to add. I like the message on Woody Guthrie's guitar, too.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The snowman cometh

A big dump of snow is forecast for London tonight. Combined with Rhiannon's 30th Birthday party, mad fun is bound to ensue.