The end of Olav. Day 25 on the world’s most Northerly pilgrimage trail

I’ve carried my tent almost 500 km and used it twice.
But the second time was rather memorable.
I’d done 20+ km and due to an unfortunate navigation error, I decided I couldnt make the last five
I found a perfect spot next to a river and an open air fireplace

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I was rather pleased, not to say  surprised,  to get a decent fire going and  cook my own meal.
Survival expert Ray Mears would have been proud of me
However,  I think it’s highly unlikely that Ray would have melted his socks and underwear while attempting to use a barbecue grill to dry them out …

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After that mishap I found my way to Stiklestad. The site of Olav’s last battle
It was here that an  army of farmers – aware of Olav’s previous track record of harsh rule – defeated his army of (largely) mercenaries

Outnumbered two to one, Olav’s first wound came from an axe blow to his left knee. For some unaccountable reason this warrior who had slashed and fought his way through  countless battles, threw away his sword and shield and began to pray for help.

Which didn’t come.

What did come was a blow to his neck and a fatal spear thrust under his chain mail from arch enemy Thorir the Hound.  Great name, crazy guy.

The stone on which Olav  lay dying is now said to be under the altar at Stiklestad church.

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A great place is Stiklestad. Special quarters for pilgrims based on 12th century lodgings…I had it all  to myself

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And if you want a party…where better to do it than in a Viking long house

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So farewell then Olav.  It’s been real following in your bloodsoaked footsteps
Now on to Trondheim and your final resting place.
Six days to go.

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