Our run north from Dover was in rainy weather that finally started to clear as we approached the Norwegian coast, and our arrival into Stavanger on Thursday morning was under a fine clear sky. I opted to join what was considered to be a serious trek up to Pulpit Rock, an amazing piece of Norwegian scenery that juts precariously over Lysefjord, some 1500 feet below.
A short walk through the town to the ferry terminal was followed by a half hour fjord journey and a very pleasant drive on the local bus to the starting point at Preikestolhytta. (Try saying that with a sweet in your mouth). Now days this is where the three mile trail starts, and as one might expect, it has become a mini village catering for this very well known hiking excursion. And popular it certainly was, I have never seen so many folk attempting to achieve a ‘must do ambition’. Men, women, boys, girls, very young children on father’s shoulders, even dogs with their ‘saddle bags’. There seemed to be so many different nationalities and languages it must have sounded like the biblical Tower of Babel.
This was no walk around a National Trust estate, but a true test of stamina as the path was very uneven with large and small slippery angular stones, some made damp from small streams. At places it went over boggy plateaus covered with aged decking, past small black lakes and great rounded granite boulders. Time was against us, as was the tide of visitors coming the other way, but I made the last 500 yards or so at a fast pace, sheer rock to one side, an almost vertical drop to other, every now and again coming up against a log jam of sweating bodies where only one person at a time could make progress across a tiny ledge.
At the top, as the path levelled out, there must have been several hundred souls that had finally made it, all laughing and chatting at their achievement. And no surprise, what a view. In superb weather we could see for miles down the Lysefjord and over the surrounding mountains. Inevitably there were those on their stomachs peering down into the void, at waters so far down that the few small boats on the surface were only just visible as tiny specks.
Eventually, after suitable liquid refreshment, it was time to return, and the journey back was almost as strenuous with gravity adding to the dangers of what was underfoot. We made the bus, and the ferry, and returned in one piece. This certainly was a ‘must do’ excursion, but only for the most able and those without fear of an impending attack of vertigo.