"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The Finne – Go There (Don’t Listen To Pacman)

The perfect MacPac catalogue photo of us camping by the Skjørva... now if I can just get someone to give me some money for it.

The Finne is now one of my favourite Norway runs. We paddled it on what we though was the high side but it turned out that is what you want… more water the better (within reason of course). If you make the same mistake as Pacman and paddle it too low then you might end up hating your day and never go back - and you don’t want that now do you!

A drop on the upper Skjørva

Having already paddle the lower Skjørva and found it pretty cruisey we formed the ambitious plan to paddle the upper Skjørva, lower Skjørva, and then the Finne (which the Skjørva flows into about a kilometre after the takeout). Ok so Rolf formed the plan but he’s bigger than us so we have to do what he says. Clare and Greg were along for the ride with Clare to meet us at the start of the lower Skjørva.

Just after climbing out of the upper Skjørva

To give you some background the Skjørva lies deep in a valley with the road high above the river. It’s not much of a problem carrying the boats down but as we discovered carrying them up to the road is not much fun. The upper Skjørva is quite a bit trickier than the lower run with a few portages and not easy ones at that. We made it as far as the main portage about a kilometre form the lower put-in when we discovered the eddy we needed to catch to be able to portage on the left side of the river was not there! The river was on the high side and it had simply washed away. All we could do was try to portage on the side we were on… the result was that we bashed our way up the steep slope for a couple of hundred vertical metres and ended up on a farm not far from the road. Well that was us done - “we’ll do the rest tomorrow”.

Being stalked by Norwegian killer sheep... with bells on!!!

The next day we awoke to find ourselves being stalked by a mob of vicious Norwegian killer sheep with bells on!! Fortunately we noticed their advance and were able wave to our arms. Once more peace was restored to the camp… and the peasants rejoiced.

They surrounded Eden but he was up to the challenge

Right where was I… ah yes… kayaking. We put on the Skjørva in the morning and had a mostly sweet trip to the road bridge. There was one nervous moment when Clare decided to play chicken with a sieve… I call the result a draw as the sieve only claimed a paddle. Clare got the glory points and a story to scare her parents with.

Clare on the lower Skjørva

Clare figured she had had enough excitement for one day and drove our shuttle while the rest of us paddled on into the Finne. The Finne is basically bigger volume read and run with some steep sections thrown in for good measure. We paddled the nine kilometres in just over two hours with only one portage (although Rolf still paddled it).

Rolf paddling a must run rapid on the Finne

The finial rapid was probably my favourite. It starts deep inside a canyon with no portage or scouting options and a blind horizon line. There are three big rocks which form three distinctive channels and we could see that the canyon narrows for several hundred meters. Eden and I glanced at each other for a second and our faces said it all… “Down the middle don’t fiddle” Eden exclaimed with a cheeky smile on his face as he paddled off the horizon. ‘My thoughts exactly’ I said to myself as I followed him into a cauldron of white. The rapid was almost as big as the smiles on our faces and marked the finish of the run when we excited the canyon.

Eden on the Finne

Bloody good day I reckon.