Alta, Norway Week 62 15th -17th July 2012
At least to us it looked like the sort of boat that has been used for fishing for aeons.

It was the thump thump of a very slow diesel engine that caught our attention.

Maybe we should drive at "night".
We headed north and west towards Alta.

Lots of racks for drying fish.

The fish are hung from the cross pieces.

Yes. We followed the road!
Eventually leaving the coast to follow a salmon river inland.
A few cyclists every day.

Lots of hills for them.

Not yet in mountains, that's a few days away.

Plateau, for reindeer.

We think its easy to see where the boundaries of Saami territory are. This tundra looks like good reindeer grazing. Cattle, sheep and hay making are along the coast. Mountains further south.

Not far to Alta.

Norway is a long thin country. By the time we reach Narvik there's only another couple of thousand km to Oslo.

Alta in the distance.
Sunday in Alta.

Everything closed.

Except for fuel.

A pleasant surprise. Cheaper per litre than UK. And since we are traveling relatively slowly (max of about 60km/h that curvy and occasionally bumpy roads allow our fuel consumption and $/km are good.

About A$30 per 100 km vs A$40 in UK.

The flowers were a bit of a surprise! And apparently Alta's gardeners complain when the reindeer eat them!

We fed the gps the town of Kautekeino, to the south along road 93, being the general direction we thought we wanted to be.

It took us along a back road (round the SE of Alta).

By good fortune we spotted the sign to Lille Raipas before we reached the main road. Only about 50 km before we expected it.

Its 286m above sea level.

Its a major point on the Struve Geodetic Arc.

Between 1816 and 1855 under the direction of the Russian Geodetist a line from Hammerfest to the north and the Black Sea was surveyed to ascertain how round the earth really is.

Total distance of the line is 2,821.853 km.

There were 265 primary points with 60 supporting points. There are apparently 34 remaining "monumented".

The peak is at N 69.9386, E 23.3603

The surveyors measured a line where the ground was flatter then all the triangles to the high point.

The primary points on the geodetic line were where latitude was measured astronomically (from well known stars).

We previously crossed the line on October 27th last year (2011) when traveling west from Kamiants-Podilsky in Ukraine as we headed for the Carpathians.

We knew the line was there, just couldn't find enough info. 

The funny thing on the pole is a modern trigonometric point.

The point on the Struve Geodetic Line was a few meters to the right. Just a moments thought on our part for what was a monumental undertaking a couple of hundred years ago. And a nice view.

From the results it looks like the surveying was fairly accurate and Newton was right about the Earth being not quite round. One degree of latitude is 359m shorter at the Black Sea than the Norwegian Coast at Hammerfest.

Year Earth's Equatorial Radius (m) Earth's Flattening
1740 6,396,800 1/178
1858 6,378,360.7 1/294.26
2005 6,378,136.8 1/298.257222
We spent a half hour on top of Lille Rapais talking to a couple of locals.

Testing their new shoes and walking the dog before a 5 day hike next week.

Lots of info. Much better than a tourist info office.

We headed to Gargia, hopefully the Alta Canyon, and an old mountain road.

Happened upon a couple of Nordic Roller Bladers polling their way along the road. Looked like fun.

Camped just short of Gargia overlooking the Saven River (according to one map and the Alta River according to another).
Well known good salmon fishing.
The car park for the track to Alta Canyon on the Beskades road.
Gently rolling. 8 km there, and 8 km back.

Just a few hours!

Germans and Norwegians, all with maps or books and willing to show us the way.
Not sure what to expect.

A first glimpse of the canyon.

Cotton grass.

First seen in Sweden. At Store Moss way back in May as we headed north.

It must be getting warmer!

Just this patch of cotton grass.
Getting closer to the goal.

On our tourist map its the Alta Canyon. On the small maps by the roadside its the Savco Canjon.

There's a small road on the other side, bus tours, and boat rides.

The last bit is a bit steep down about 100m to a slightly precarious lookout.

Looking down river. There's some rapids below us. As far as boats can travel. A path in the bottom. Then more boats.

We are about 300m above the river.

Looking up stream.

There's a lodge of some sort where the river narrows in the distance.

Ali steadied me as I took this photo (and a deep breath).

While talking to the first Englishman we've met since leaving England a couple of Norwegian Air Force planes flew through the canyon. 

They passed below us rolling to round the bends then rose shortly after.

Quite a sight. Not quite quick enough with the camera!

There's an air force base at Alta.

And so the return to Tardis.

Occasional boggy bits but generally easy going.

We headed further south on the Beskades mountain road to Suolovuobmi.

There's been a route this way since the stone age. In 1798 it became a postal route, using reindeer sleighs. In 1928-39 this road was built.

The new road in the valley was built in 1960's.

Norway was once part of Denmark until it was handed to Sweden after a war. It became independently Norway around 1900.

The population have voted twice to not join the European Community. And objected so much that Lidl tried then closed their stores. Food is expensive.

This road crosses Finland to Sweden.


Alta gets about 1m of snow during the winter.

I can't imagine how the reindeer survive up here.

We camped almost at the end of this lake. At the beginning of a track to another geodetic point.

"Helped" a couple of people "lost" looking for Suolovuobmi.

They couldn't pronounce it either.

The now regular visit from reindeer.

A herd of about 150.

Still exciting. Not sure what we'd do if they were cattle.

And now we know what they sound like  .... a sort of "rrrrrf". Not quite dog like. Not as explosive.


Fairly close. Or so we thought.

The real Lodken is the next hill over. The one we couldn't see.

But we didn't know that when we set out.

Another Geodetic Point on the arc.

We rose early for a brisk morning walk.

Not alone, there were a few of these birds around.
A false alarm. We've walked one hill too far.

We think we've discovered "perceptual navigation".

We followed the track from the sign which looped behind the hills then headed south. So we set off across country up a ridge.

From here we headed north to the next hill.

We've really had a succession of navigational accidents since Alta which resulted in us ending up where we wanted to be while not really knowing where that was..

And Lodiken is a bonus we didn't expect. Just saw the sign by chance.

And here we are with just a dip between us and the top of Lodiken. The alternative name is Luvddiidcohkka.

N 69.6644, E 23.6022

Looking north.

Somewhere over there is Lille Rapais.

I have a new admiration for 19th century surveyors. I can't even see it let alone measure an angle. There were probably a couple of minor points in between.

It wasn't a single line, more a series of triangles with a zig-zag between the points.

International cooperation, selection of the points, repetitive methodical measurement, everyone involved using the same techniques, reaching these places with all the equipment, and taking the sightings. No wonder it took so long.

Army surveyors and only two countries probably helped. The line now crosses ten countries.

A better view of the road we followed.
And "if there isn't a photo it didn't happen".

On top of Lodiken.

Thought a photo of us was better than a photo of a non-descript concrete post so stood the camera on it.

The night's campsite.

There are some cairns for us to follow down from the wrong hill but there's no foot worn track. No wonder we couldn't find the way up.

And if we had we wouldn't have got to where we thought we wanted to be.

But we did find some lemming tracks.
The original postal track was marked with frequent cairns.

The arrows point to Alta.

Then off the mountain road and north again to Alta.

The Norwegians are very civilised and, at least around Alta, have loo cassette emptying as part of the loos in rest areas.

Just as well as the ground is generally rocky.

Alta Museum and Reisa National Park, Norway Week 62 17th -19th July 2012

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