Exercise Viking Trek took place in Southern Norway near the Hardangerjokulen glacier from the 14th to the 19th August 2012. The group consisted of six cadets, aged 14-15, and two adult instructors. For the cadets the first two days would count as their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bronze expedition.
The first thing that we had to do on waking up was to organise our camping equipment and divide up our food and fuel. We set out from Haugastol with three days’ worth of food. A further two days’ food had been sent forward via train to Finse. Usually we heated water on a gas stove, and added it to our dehydrated meals. We headed in a general westerly direction following a path to the Larsbu hut at the head of a fjord and next to a roaring, glacier fed, river. We spent one night at Larsbu.
In the morning we set off back on the same path we had travelled on the previous day and crossed a summer bridge just west of the DNT Kraekja hut (DNT huts are the equivalents of Youth Hostels and were a fairly common sight on our walk). The day was extremely warm, which was pleasant. However, we were plagued by the ubiquitous mosquitoes that inhabited every inch of the area! We camped here for one night.
The next day we headed in a northerly direction. Our route would take us past the main destination of our trip, the mighty Hardangerjokulen glacier. The views were spectacular and we had to pick our way through snowfields and boulders as we crossed the pass at 1400m. That evening we set up camp next to a ford.
On Friday we went to Finse to pick up food for the final two days. We followed the path downhill for nine kilometres, then crossed a dam at the head of Lake Finsevatnet to get to Finse itself. Here we picked up food for the remaining two days from the train station. Perhaps the highlight at this stage was being able to have a drink of coke in the luxury of the DNT hut! We then made our way back across the dam and set up camp near to Lake Finsevatnet. Once again, the views back to the glacier were stunning.
On Saturday we walked along a Land Rover track heading SE, and ranning parallel to the Rallarvegan, the train track from Finse to Haugastol. We set up camp with a small lake called Skiliebekktjorni next to us and a larger lake called Tungevatnet to our south.
On Sunday we continued to walk along the land rover track in a general westerly direction. The going was good and in no time we were outside our accommodation enjoying another cold drink. We then took some time to organise and clean our equipment. Then we had a delicious reindeer steak for dinner.
En route to the airport we had the chance to visit the Norsk Hydro Plant at Vemork, the location for the commando raid in 1943, made famous in the “Heroes of Telemark” film. This added an element of military history to our trip.
The expedition was a great experience and was enjoyed by all members of the group. We returned to Scotland knowing that we had pushed ourselves physically, more mentally robust and determined to make the most of our time in the CCF. It would not have been possible without the generous financial support offered by the Ulysses Trust.Cadet Daniel Forster, Morrison’s Academy CCF