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Testing out the Ford Transit Custom Nugget in Norway

February 10, 2021


It is Europe's tallest rock face. One thousand looming meters of black, snow-dusted gneiss topped with a succession of gnarled crags. Their hunched silhouettes give the monster its name: The Troll Wall. Trollveggen.

In the darkening rain-swept valley below, James Forrest and his girlfriend, Nic, shelter in their camper van. Tomorrow would be the peak of a five-day Norwegian road trip from fjord til fjell — fjord to mountain. A hike to the crest of the Trollveggen.  But outside, the mountain is having other ideas.

Ford Nugget parked in woods


After a flight to Ålesund in the north-west of Norway, James and Nic begin their journey on the island of Gødoya. They have a simple plan. To drive from the coast to the mountains, self-sufficient in their van, enjoying whatever serendipity offers along the way. To make the most of the ebbing summer before the long winter night begins. 

Ford Nugget driving in woods


They start as they mean to continue. A beautiful beachside camping spot. A cosy night's sleep in the camper's roof bed. Breakfast with a view. And then the road beckons.

After taking the Atlantic Ocean Road, an epic ribbon of bridges reaching from island to island along Norway's fluted coast, they catch a local ferry to Sekken.

Two people with bikes


The island is sparsely populated, thickly wooded and laced with forest roads. Perfect for gravel biking. Swing out the Nugget's cycle rack, unhitch the bikes and hit the trails. They wind through deep forest on undulating tracks, past isolated farmsteads. Lungs bursting, at the point of turning back they emerge, suddenly, into a clearing. 

The Scandinavians have a term: friluftsliv. Literally translated as free air life, it means more than just open-air living. It embodies the spiritual and physical benefits of being in nature.

For James and Nic, friluftsliv is the inspiration for this laid-back trip. A journey to rekindle their passion for the outdoors after six gruelling months climbing all 282 Scottish Munros (but that's another story).

Ford Nugget with kayak


The next day, James and Nic take out folding kayaks and push off into the blue-green waters of the fjord. They explore remote inlets and beaches. They drift dreamily above the mysterious depths, surrounded by soaring mountains cloaked in forest. Nature works its magic.

Ford Nugget on paved road


Their journey takes them inland and into the mountains. There are eleven switchbacks on the Trollstigen, the Troll's Path, Norway's most famous mountain road. A concertina of tarmac twisting from the valley floor to the pass at 850 meters. The drive demands attention, and plenty of stops to take in the sweeping views.

Ford Nugget parked camping


From the pass, a hiking trail leads to the edge of the Troll Wall, over 1000 meters above the valley floor. Despite dramatic surroundings, the trail itself is relatively undemanding. The view from the Wall however, is not for the feint hearted.

But that's tomorrow's plan. Today the weather is closing in, so James and Nic hunker down in the camper for the night.

In the morning, storms still rage about the Troll Wall. The dream of standing high on its edge is whipped away by the winds. So, James and Nic choose an alternative path, trekking instead to a more modest, unnamed peak.

Modest perhaps, but in regal company, surrounded as it is by Kongen (the King), Dronninga (the Queen) and Bispen (the Bishop). And graced with equally majestic views. Their peak deserves a name. They call it Mount Friluftsliv. A fitting tribute to a rejuvenating road trip.

And so, this journey ends. Fjord til fjell. And the next trip is already being planned. It's always being planned. But whether or not it goes according to plan, well, isn't that the real adventure?

James and Nic travelled in the Ford Transit Custom Nugget. Find out more.

Watch the video: https://youtu.be/rd7STn5NH8w

Read James's full account: https://www.sidetracked.com/ford-norway/