Due to Life and related things, my 2014 St. Olav’s Way walk had to be postponed while we both tried to figure out whether to walk it all in one go, whether do camp to save money (but it might take longer due to heavier packs) or to pack ultralightly and move faster, further and rely on accommodation facilities to provide beds, bedding, heat and food. Either way it would be expensive and take time. Our least favourite option, though also the most doable, was to split the walk in two or even three and do two weeks each time, say in Spring and Autumn in one year and then Spring again the next year. That should keep the Way fresh in our minds between walks – but then again the weather in the shoulder seasons would probably not be great …
Then other Life things happened before the walk happened and it became a thing we didn’t talk about because we got nowhere. Until another friend of mine got cancer. Yes, cancer. Time thief, daily life wrecker and future plan upheaver. Stealer of energy and fitness. She had always said she wanted to meet me/us on the mountain and walk a few days if she could, or maybe even hire a horse and ride it! And then … cancer. Spanner in the works, reminder that all the things we take for granted, like long term plans, can be thrown into chaos in a heartbeat.
So I set a date! Far enough into the future for her and others I would like to walk with, or walk with again in some cases, to gain strength, save money and set aside holidays to walk a portion of the Way with me. An afternoon, a weekend, a week or two, the more the merrier. The St Olav’s Way is not like the Camino Francés, you can’t just jump into it with a few layers and a credit card, but I hope that it will work out. I will walk it, all of it, and hopefully my friend will be healthy and strong and all of the others too. We have a date!
We set off in glorious sunshine, and had 11 fabulous – but very hot – days on the trail before heat exhaustion, dehydration and general heatwave related problems made us rethink. There would be very little shade on the mountain, and we’d have to carry an awful lot of water to be safe. We would also probably have to cut our stages to avoid the risk heat exhaustion and dehydration, meaning we would not get to Trondheim in the time we had, and we didn’t want to skip any stages either. So we made the very tough decision to stop, and hope we can come back and continue some time in the future, together or separately. I haven’t written out any posts about it because it is just too painful, even now, to accept that we didn’t make it. I was hoping to go back in 2021 to avoid the Holy Year in Spain, but with covid – who knows?
There will be photos and write-ups at some point, just not yet.