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Why storm watching on Norway’s west coast should be on every adrenaline junkie’s bucket list

Simon Calder’s Travel

“Well… no one said storm watching would be easy,” my partner said with a wild look in his eye, having just plunged up to his knee in an unexpectedly deep patch of snow. I turned and nodded, but my mind was elsewhere, too preoccupied with how exactly to make it up this hill without rolling back down again.

“Right or left?” I signalled back to him before forging ahead, too eager to wait for a response. Time to pick up the pace. The wind from the nearby shoreline was turning from breeze to gale, and the thick layer of cloud over head was becoming a deeper, far moodier shade of grey.

Not the archetypal holiday, I’ll admit, but here on Norway’s west coast, where the country’s deep fjords meet rough and roaring seas, storm watching has been growing in popularity for thrill seekers and nature lovers.

Ask any one of the country’s residents who live across the west coast’s exposed islands, and they’ll tell you storm watching is a state of mind. A chance to destress from your daily life, take in some amazing views and experience nature at some of its wildest. Just don’t forget your wellies.

Robyn braving the elements in Vik, location of a two abandommed hydro power stations (Robyn Wilson)

Head out during the winter months they said, so it seemed we’d timed our trip to perfection. Our plane touched down amid heavy snowfall. “The heaviest in 20 years,” according to one local I got chatting to after arriving in Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city and a good jumping off point for storm watching activities given its location on the west coast.

We had plotted a route north, travelling up the coastline. The plan was island-hopping via postal boat, hiking across heather-strewn craggy rocks, meeting wild sheep for the first time and foraging in the rain through sodden peat bogs against a backdrop of distant crashing waves.

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With Bergen a 40-minute drive from the site of two abandoned wave power stations in Vik, in the municipality of Øygarden, we detoured here first. Positioned on a peninsula, the plants previously generated electricity from the large coastal waves that would crash down through a funnel in the coastline.

Rather ironically, however, they were destroyed by a massive storm just three years after being built in 1985. Today, companies like Øygarden Opplevelser can get you up close…

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