Finally I’ve come face to face with Olaf in the form of a centuries old wooden statue in the church in Burgjso.
He looked a little distrracted and was missing his right hand. Which is somewhat ironic given that this was his favourite way of mutilating his enemies.
I write this sitting outside a wooden cabin in the forest perched over a fire that I started myself using silver birch bark (thank you Ray Mears)
I’m sleeping in a house in the forest. Just me. Miles from anywhere
But walk inside. And , well, it’s rather lovely
I’ve literally seen no one else on the trail all but this solitude has its own rewards
I’ve sung heartily and loudly all day as I’ve been told that noise keeps the bears away
I’ll wager this is the first time these forests have echoed to a medley of Jerusalem, Hearts of Oak , American Pie and Fields of Athenry.
Mind you the advice on bears can be a little confusing. No one I’ve met has actually seen one but I’ve been told in the highly unlikely event our paths should cross I must:
Climb a tree.
Leave the area quickly.
Walk backwards slowly.
Don’t look it in the eyes and “make myself big”
Which conjures up an image of a panicked Walker slowly climbing a tree while looking downcast and waving my arms wide like a manic policeman on traffic duty
Ive seen just one walker in five days. A local hiker, he was older, fatter and faster than me. Stomping along using knackered ski poles as sticks
He spoke no English but pointed to the hills with his sticks and came out with a stream of words of which I recognised but one
I dont think he was saying Abba were having a reunion in the mountains.
Bjorn is Swedish for Bear