Thursday, October 16, 2008


Taking off from Stavanger airport, on one side you see the North Sea: white wave caps on the grey expanse, tiny boats, small rocky islands and beaches backed by rocky coves. On the other side of the aircraft, farmland: red or white painted farms and barns and a patchwork of fields. The fields seem to be of two main types: well ploughed rectangles or irregular pastoral land with cows and sheep.

The pastoral fields are intensely speckled with large boulders, hundreds of tons of granite dropped randomly by retreating glaciers. Looking at this, you suddenly start to realise the enormous effort that has been expended clearing farmland in this region. The effort is still ongoing because in some fields there are JCBs parked, ready to recommence the heavy lifting. Alongside the cleared fields are huge cairns of boulders, testament to a new age in Norwegian agriculture.

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