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16th March, 2015


Overnight we sailed slowly through the fjords, passed Alesund and on towards Åndalsnes, a small town set at the mouth of the Rauma River and which is recognised as being the gateway to the rugged wilderness of Romsdalfjord. Towering mountains form a backdrop and within a few miles is the ‘Troll Wall’. Trolveggen is Europe’s highest vertical cliff, some 6000 feet high and which, before being banned, was used by ‘Base’ jumpers to practise their scary sport.

Our day was to be somewhat less challenging as we managed to take the Rauma Railway tour, a 35 mile journey through some incredible scenery. Our particular group took the return journey by rail, first taking a coach up to Bjorli station, stopping for twenty minutes at the very base of the Troll Wall in order to take photos of the stunningly impressive scenery. The railway has to cross the Rauma River several times in order to cope with the change in altitude. There are several attractive stone built bridges including the Kylling Bridge which took ten years to build by local people and was completed in 1923. The train makes an almost complete circle inside the mountain after entering the 1,340 meters long Stavem Tunnel before emerging in the opposite direction 19 meters below.

Once back on board, and with a slow speed run over to the Shetlands, I elected to stay at anchor overnight and it was to be a very special evening. Our guest tenor Lee Bradley had a magical early evening concert on deck as the sun was setting between the mountains, and then the darkness slowly descended. Later, only the lights of the scattered houses along the fjord could be seen reflecting off the still waters, while above the black shadow of mountains, the stars filled the cold clear sky.

Captain Philip Rentell

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