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1. Introduction

The home of Vikings and trolls, a land of mountains, fjords and crystal clear rivers. Don't take my word for it, go and see for yourself. A stunning country with fantastic paddling and not half as expensive as people say (apart from the beer that is).

The existing guide to southern Norway, Elvepadling by Nils Flakstad and Leif Ongstad, though old is still very good indeed. We found it pretty reliable in both 1990 and 1995. This is intended merely as a supplement to that, highlighting any changes, extra information and new rivers. I've deliberately included the number coding system from this guide in the river titles so as to make cross referencing easier.

The best time to go to Norway seems to be in June to catch the spring meltwater and avoid the main tourist rush. This is what we did in 1995, and the rivers were certainly high. (In fact they had their worst floods for 100 years that year). At this time of year it tends to be sunny and there aren't to many midges either. It also stays light very late as well, which means getting stuck on rivers after dark isn't a problem. In 1990 we went in mid August to September, when the water levels were lower, but the rivers were still runnable. Ferrys are easy to organise from Newcastle to Bergen with Colour Line, through most travel agents. Beware of a maximum height restriction though, which boats on edge on a roofrack may take you over. The cost of living in Norway is higher than Britain. Things cost about 1.5 to 2 times as much. So its a good idea to take as much food as you can cram into your waggon and buy your quota of duty-free before you go. You can buy beer etc in the shops, but its not very good and its very expensive.

1.1 Glossary of useful terms


Mandatory for most Norwegian rivers. Completely terminal and very offputting.


Those members of the team who run deathafosses or upset team harmony by drinking the last beer.


Pink stuff masquerading as meths. According to local paddlers it can be filtered through bread to make a lethal whisky substitute. Probably better to buy your complete duty-free quota on the ferry.


Norwegian myths that live under bridges and kick any unsuspecting paddlers head in. e.g: Rapid on the Upper upper Sjoa by the road bridge at Maurvangen

1.2 About This Guide

As I have never been to Norway this guide is a little different to the others I have produced. This guide was written by Dickie Mott and had only been edited by me to conform to the same style as the rest of my guides. Once I get around to going to Norway then I can fix it up a little more. So thanks to Dickie for providing all this information and also to Joe for checking the text a bit.

The main purpose of these guides is to provide a current and easy to produce canoeing guide for the club. Almost all the rivers in here have been paddled by us since 1989 and in plastic boats! In fact, most have been paddled as recently as 1995. There are a small number of sections which have not been paddled and this should be obvious from the text. Obviously things change from year to year and you need to keep aware when paddling. If something has changed — a new barrage, or a landslip etc. — then don't sit around wingeing, write it down and tell me about it later, and it'll be correct in the next guide through the miracle of modern word processing!

Each river has a header telling you, after the name of the section, how long the described section is, what the general grade is, how long it took us to paddle it and which year it was last paddled. The year is partly for my own sake, and partly because I was asked to indicate clearly when the information on that river was last updated. {92} means I paddled it in 1992. {} means I never paddled it at all, and it's all hearsay, while {92} means that someone I trust to be accurate gave me the information and I actually believe them (mad though it seems).

If you have any comments, complaints, or if you do a river that's not in here, please tell me about it! I would love to hear about any problems or changes or other yarns. You can reach me through the internet or through the Bristol University Canoe Club at B.U.C.C., University of Bristol Students Union, Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, UK.

1.3 Grading

Every other guide has one of these, so why should this one be any different. These should give you a fair idea of what can be expected on a section of river, and are not just here for me to show what hard rivers I've paddled (or have not - in most cases!). Here are what I think each grade means, plus an example of each - just my opinion!

Grade I EASY

Regular flow, regular waves, little swirls, easy obstacles. Peaceful.
You should not leave the car.
eg: River Avon at Saltford


The water is quicker but still with easy obstacles and obvious routes.
You should only leave the car to laugh at the nobbos.
eg: Symonds Yat on the Wye


The current becomes more swift with short stretches of difficult rapids or larger waves. The route may be obscure but not difficult, and rapids are followed by easy water.
You should be paddling a comfortable boat, so you can snooze.
eg: The Dart, Usk, Durance(above Rabioux)


Long stretches of unbroken rapid with fast or heavy water. Previous inspection is likely as the route through the rapid will be both difficult and obscure. Bank support may be required and a high level of paddling skill is necessary.
You should take some spare underwear, just in case.
eg: Llangollen Town Falls, Spean Gorge, Tryweryn.


Very fast and heavy water with huge waves, whirlpools and long and very complicated rapids complete with narrow routes, very high or obstructed drops, difficult to get in or out.
Take spare underpants in your BDH. Tie the BDH to you so it's still with you when your boats smashed.
eg: Easn Dubh (Orchy), Triple Step (Guil), Falls of See (Trisanna), Middle Vecchio.


An extremely difficult route through dangerous rapids. The passage may be impassible according to the water level. These consist of very hazardous rapids with badly obstructed drops and almost no margin for error.
Put your clean kacks on and go to the tea shop.
eg: Swallow Falls, Gyronde Portage, Slot (Guil), Ardez Gorge, Lower Restonica?


Very high and obstructed drops, often close together, frequently shallow plunge pools. Serious danger to life.
The tea shop was closed and someone stole your kacks and nicked your car.
eg: Conwy Falls, Llanberis Falls, Upper Restonica.

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