Utdrag fra «A plea for Norway» av den tredje Lord Garvagh, fra The Alpine Journal» no 53, August 1876.
«A good deal has been said lately about the exhaustion of the Alps, and it has even been suggested that its work being complete, nothing is left for our Alpine Club but to lay itself down quietly and die. In the recent discussion on this subject, a mountain country almost as near to us as the Alps has been, it seems to me, too little taken into account. To those who have done Switzerland, made all the proper ascents and tried perhaps one of the improper ones, I venture to suggest a new field for their exertions. It is comparatively seldom that any article appears relating to the unfrequented ranges of the Norwegian Peninsula which form, as it were, the bulwark of Northern Europe against any encroachment on the part of the Atlantic. Yet these mountains are scarcely to be surpassed for their wild, gleaming beauties and vivid grandeur by any region of the whole globe. Such at least is my experience after living many months among them. Even after Switzerland, I find that I return to Norway with increased attachment to a home and country, which though comperativeiv tame and familiar, never ceases to be fresh and invigorating.
In Switzerland there is a limit to the wild mountain districts one is accustomed to traverse, but in Norway the pleasures of a mountain life are inexhaustible, and the territories that one is at perfect liberty to dwell upon in hut or tent, are often bounded only by the sea, and present with their snow-and ice fields a for ever-changing variety of scenery. Whether we try the File Fjeld, the Dovre Fjeld, the Sogne Fjeld, or any of the other ranges that compose the backbone of the Scandinavian Peninsula with Galdhøpiggen, Gausta or Sulitjelma, as points visible far on the horizon, or the different glaciers between Hallingdal and Hardanger, where my observations have been chiefly made — such as Ovnsbreen, Vargbreen, Hardanger-Jøkelen, Storskavlen with Vosseskavlen and Hallingskarven, names more familiar to my ears than Snowdon, Plinlimon or any other mountains in England, we find from their summits the same unlimited expanse of wild grandeur and apparently everlasting succession of other ranges, rising one beyond another in the cerulean blue of distance, like waves of some gigantic onward-moving sea. Amongst glaciers, I ought to mention that of Justedal upon the Sogne Fjord, perhaps the largest, and that of Folgefond on the Hardanger Fjord, which seems to alter its appearance every year. But these features, however interesting, do not constitute the irresistible fascination of Norway, or the superiority which I claim for it over the other mountainous countries of Europe, Switzerland not excepted. It is the air, a charm peculiar to Norway, that no other land can give and the benefit of which — live roughly as one may upon the mountains — no hardship is able to take away. Upon the Alps, the air in comparison is sharp and biting, without being in reality so fresh, for it has been carried over thickly populated lands by every wind, whereas the pure influence of the Gulf Stream on Norway fills the atmosphere with wholesome elements, which in all weathers make that peninsula more healthy than any other part of Europe. So lasting moreover, is Norwegian air in its effects, that it may fairly be compared to the fabulous «Elixir of Life” sought after vainly in past ages by the alchemists, but discovered in our own on the mountains, where it can be partaken of without the assistance of any alchemy, breathed pure and simple, and inhaled without fear or scruple.
Norwegian travel has its hardships as well as its pleasures. I have been where the wind gathers up sheets of driving snow from the frozen surface and lifting, whirls it round and round with dazzling beauty in the sunshine, where at night violent gusts drive the frozen particles into ones face with stinging force, covering head and shoulders as with a white garment. I have been where the only dwelling that offered shelter was covered with snow and appeared with rows of pointed icicles just like an Esquimaux hut, save for the heads and horns of reindeer stuck outside, each with a snowy burden. The return of fine weather will change the whole scene, cause waterfalls to rush down the face of the cliffs, leaving bridges of solid snow over torrents which have been set free, and lighting up tunnels under huge masses of ice with the loveliest colour of transparent blue, through which the purest of all water dashes with sparkling brilliancy and noicy echo to its constant roar. As for the people, their life is primitive, their character obliging, honest,
extremely hospitable and sincere. To these qualities the Norwegian adds also a degree of hardihood and endurance, the result of the life which he has led from childhood. Dwelling on the borders of a frozen region, traversing continually its snowy heights, and listening from infancy to the conversation only of deerstalkers and huntsmen, out perhaps for days and nights upon the chase in keen pursuit of reindeer, he becomes insensible to danger amid capable of ceaseless toil. As guides, I have found Norwegians always to be trusted. They are invariably patient, civil, competent and well informed as to local topography, and never know a single instance of dishonesty or drunkenness. I speak with the experience of four successive seasons, during which no less than twenty
one have been employed either as boatmen, carriers or guides. No country of Europe will be found more healthy in its influence, or more profitable to wander over with tents and guides than Norway”.
Transkribert av Olav Sataslåtten.