Mount Tuven (1029m)
During June 2016, Jen and I were fortunate enough to be volunteering in Norway. Our host Amy had lived in the country for around 20 years, indeed still does, and we assisted her via a scheme called HelpX. Amy is actually American and, I might add, a fantastic cook! The downside of her cooking was that my already dwindling 2-pack was to bloat out further into a rounded 1-pack. I therefore felt the overwhelming need to get out and do some hiking, as we had several fairly extreme hikes lined up in our next destinations of the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
Amy was a great hostess who kindly let us arrange our work time so that we could fit in some short walks on the island of Helgøya where she lived. However, we were really hankering for some longer, tougher hikes more in line with what lay ahead for us. Thankfully, the work we were essentially there for was progressing nicely, and Amy offered to take us up in some nearby mountains, on more than one occasion. Our first outing was to the summit of Mount Tuven (1029m).
Given that it was a hot day in early June we weren’t quite sure what to expect from the mountain, but we prepped for the walk as we would for a hiking day back home in the Lake District. Let’s face it, summits are often cold and windy places to be, so exposure is a possibility even when temperatures lower down the hills are fairly high… and after all, this was Norway, summer or not! I think our host possibly felt that Jen and I were over-egging the safety measures as we packed extra clothing, a first aid kit and a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) for peace of mind, but hey ho, that’s how we roll! On this occasion our only additional kit items were H2O hydration packs, even though we were assuming (and Amy corroborated) that there would be cold, clear streams running off the mountain that would (and did!) provide the finest-tasting water we had sampled anywhere, ever!
So, prepped and ready, all we now needed to do was encourage Amy’s two dogs – ‘Bentley’ the Leonberger and ‘Cookie’ his little Bichon Frisé pal – into the car with the five of us and our gear! Now, for anyone who has never met a Leonberger, I can tell you they are not dissimilar in size to adult lions. Bentley’s jaws might well be the size of a lion’s too. So you might think he would be a good ally if you happened to encounter a wild animal on the trail, yet don’t be so sure… Bentley is the biggest, soppiest oversized pooch I have ever been privileged to meet! On the odd occasion when he did bark (usually to make a new friend) it would project for miles like the battle cry of a hundred-strong Celtic army… but honestly he was just like a giant living, breathing cuddly toy. As he leapt into the trunk of Amy’s estate car, the suspension sounded like it was going to buckle, and with Cookie and five adults on board too it’s something of a miracle that we got moving at all… But we did, and heigh-ho heigh-ho it’s off to the mountains we go!
In all honesty, whilst the hike doesn’t stick out in my mind as an all-time epic adventure, we had a lot of fun. It was a mighty fine, sunny day in Norway but Jen and I were eventually happy that we’d brought along an extra layer. Mount Tuven is 1029 metres at the summit, and within a minute or two of halting up there the wind chill quickly becomes apparent. We stopped for lunch at the peak from where we could see higher white glistening glaciers in the distance. On our own climb we had come across pockets of snow, and it was great to see the dogs skidding, tasting it and rolling around in it to get themselves cool after their own hike. I can’t say I would want to wear their hairy coats in that weather. They also joined in as we used the streams to refill our H2O bags and bottles with water; the walk certainly was thirsty work for all of us.
There were five of us ‘humans’ on the walk: Amy and her daughter Julia, Jen, myself and another HelpXer, and whilst the day had been long and hot the refreshments back at the bottom of the mountain were long and cool. For Jen and me, the hike up Tuven was a useful gauge of our general level of fitness at this stage of our multi-country trip. The timing was good in terms of what was to come during the following month or so, and it enabled us to plan in a couple more extra walks before heading off to the Faroe Islands. But more about that later…
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