St Olav`s Way
by John N. Merill
St. Olavs Way to Trondheim (Nidaros)
Maps, sketches and photographs by John N. Merill
The Pilgrim`s Way Series
ISBN 1-903627 - 45 - 1
Price £ 10
Walk & Write Ltd.,
Longcliffe, Nr Matlock,
Derbyshire, England. DE 4 HN
email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The 643 km ( 386 miles) route via Lillehammer traces the popular walking route used over the centuries by pilgrims walking to the shrine of St Olav, King, Martyr and Saint, who brought Christianity to Norway. The route passes numerous wooden churches and farms and leads from the site of medieval Oslo past lakes, through woodland and across the Dovre Mountains to the magnificent cathedal of Trondheim. It is a quiet and remote walk giving time for reflection and contemplation, and is a true pilgrimage experience.
My walking philosophy
By John N. Merill
I basically break many of the "accepted" rules of walking, but I believe my technique and approach has brough my walking to a higher level. Walking to me, is not physical fitness but having the right mental approach to the task. All you need is a strong faith. I never consult with anyone or do any research beforehand. All this spoils the experience and "programmes" your mind to what is around the corner. I prefer not to know and discover as I go, this way making a greater impression on me. On a major walk at the end of each day, I run through the next day`s stage on the map, so that on setting off the next day I am already programmed as to my day`s destination.It is immaterial how far,how much ascent and descent, the days destination is the key. I do not tick of the miles as I go for this makes the day go slowly and pulls you down mentally.On hills I adopt a steady pace and ascend, never stopping. If you stop on the way this too pulls you down mentally making the ascent seem long. During the day I basically don`t stop for anything between 6 and 10 hours,just maintaining a steady comfortable pace. At the end of the day I have still enough energy and determination to carry on.To stop and restart means a couple of miles before I am in the "groove" again.
To many walking the St. Olavs way is the ultimate walk, but after reaching Oppdal with 280 miles walked, you have hardly begun! By the time you have done that distance you have passed through the early stages of adjusting to you new way of life.The rucksack has become more bearable, the blisters have gone and your fitness has soared. But you need to walk 500 miles befoe you get settled into the task and have comfy feet. After 1000 miles you are really adjusted and by 1500 miles you can push yourself relentlessly. By 2000 miles of continuous walking you are at your peak performance.
I always walk alone, so I can walk at my own pace. If you walk with others on a long walk if their pace is not compatible to yours you are more tired than they at the end of the day. Also you talk a lot which lessens the impact of the scenery and places on the way and you miss seeing the wildlife.I cary no mobile phone nor use poles. I usually wear T-shirt and shorts but obviously warmer clothes in mountains and snow. I carry no water and don`t usually drink during the day for anything up to 8 og 10 hours. This is no hardship even when walking across the Mohave desert in 120 degrees. Once you start to drink you want more and the more you drink the more you sweat. Buddhist monks take this approach and never come to any harm.
Walking is the only way to fully appreciate the earth and you see it on its own terms.