For the first time, Coast explores the spectacular shoreline of Norway to discover Britain's age-old link to the land of the fjords.
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Norway. The longest coastline in Europe.
Mighty fjords carved by great ice sheets.
It's a landscape written into the blood of the British Isles.
Because we share a common heritage -
brought across the sea by Viking boatmen.
Now, it's British yachtsmen who love to explore Norway's coast.
They come year in and year out,
but for us, this a rare chance to meet our northern neighbours.
In Norway, I'm joined by my usual Coast companions.
There's a slot...
Mark Horton is in search of the craft that sped the Vikings to our shores.
-And this is a method that can't have changed for a thousand years.
Alice Roberts meets the Norwegians keeping us warm in winter.
So this is it!
-I can hear it.
-This is actually the gas you're hearing - gas going to UK.
Nick Crane explores the British connections
to the most beautiful fjord in Norway.
As an amateur geographer, this is one of the most exciting days of my life!
And I travel high into the Arctic Circle,
where the Vikings launched themselves southwards - towards Britain.
Our story continues beyond our coast.
This time, we're travelling a huge distance,
along the shore of an entire country -
one that's long, thin and mostly coastline.
Norway's coast is just so much bigger than you imagine.
If you followed all the ins and outs of every bay and majestic fjord,
it's a trip of over 13,000 miles -
that's over halfway around the world.
These magnificent fjords
are overlooked by huge mountains with vertiginous cliffs.
And at its narrowest, Norway is just three and a half miles wide.
To cope with their challenging coastline,
the Norwegians have been constantly inventive,
building roads across the sea,
making their homes on tiny islands,
and harvesting their natural resources for food and energy.
On our journey, we want to discover
what tips we in Britain can get about living on our coast,
and to find out how our two countries have a shared history,
reaching out in friendship and in wartime across the North Sea.
We're travelling up to the Lofoten Islands,
deep into the Arctic Circle.
On the way, we'll pop up to polar bear country - Svalbard.
But our starting point it Lillesand, in the south.
This quiet, southern coastline is popular with Norwegians for summer holidays.
And it's also a desirable destination for yachting folk,
who travel across the seas from all around Europe for the thrill of sailing on Norway's Riviera.
One of these yachtsmen is a Brit.
Peter Walker left Liverpool to live here.
But the coastline wasn't the only attraction.
I met a beautiful Norwegian lady
in England, she was working as an au-pair.
Since then we've got three boys,
and here I've been, living the most beautiful life I can ever think of.
Is there anything about the lifestyle that you'd import if you could?
Yeah, I would import a typical English pub
and a fish and chip shop.
Peter and his family made their home in Lillesand,
a small town of 9,000 people and neat, wooden houses.
The lifestyle revolves around boats.
But navigating this rocky shore isn't easy.
There's hundreds and hundreds of underwater skerries.
It's a small rock, sticking out from the seabed. If they're not marked,
and you don't know about it, they can sink your boat.
Much of this curious coastline is hidden just under the sea.
It's a mysterious, treacherous landscape,
which keeps sailors on their toes,
poking its head up above water, creating countless tiny islands.
The only way to appreciate the beauty of what lies beneath is to get seriously wet.
Are you sure about jumping into the water with lead weights on?
What will I do if I jump in and I go straight to the bottom?
-That should be tight so it doesn't slip.
-Everything about this is tight.
Put your head down now!
Snorkelling here is a real eye-opener.
Above the surface it looks so black.
Down here it's awash with colour and life.
As you explore, you start to get a sense of a truly coastal country.
No wonder Peter and his family love it here.
Norway's southern riviera is a stunning surprise.
I'd expected fjords and ice, not a myriad of micro-islands.
But as we head northwards,
the landscape starts to rear up out of the sea.
It's more mountainous, with deep fjords carving through the rock.
This is like Scotland on steroids.
These inlets snake far inland,
taking the coast deep into the heart of the country.
Waterways like this were a challenge
that spurred the early boat builders onto greatness. 1,200 years ago,
after the Vikings had mastered their own craggy shores,
they turned their sights south to Britain and beyond.
Deep down the Hardangerfjord,
Mark Horton is in search of their boat-building secrets.
I can't believe I'm here in Norway, and about to find out how the Vikings
made their most awesome weapon - the Viking longship.
Boats are in the blood of the Norseman, both ancient and modern.
Maritime historian Atle Thowsen knows the value the Vikings placed on their vessels.
The boat was important to get transport,
to get from one place to another, to get their food and so on.
It was their way of communicating.
This was the way to survive in, for instance, Norway.
They got into the deep fjords, up the rivers and so on,
to Paris or... Almost everywhere you could find the Vikings.
These master mariners sailed west to Newfoundland in North America.
Looking east, they navigated down the River Volga into the Caspian Sea, to trade with the Islamic world.
And of course they came south to the British Isles,
using our waterways to penetrate deep inland.
So what kind of boats could cope riding raging seas,
and powering through placid rivers?
The Vikings have vanished into legend, but their boat design has stood the test of time.
These waterways were tamed working with wood,
and these skills have survived.
Tucked away down the Hardangerfjord
there's a yard that's changed little since the days of the Viking boatmen.
Hi, are you Bjorn?
-Yeah, I'm Bjorn!
This is the most wonderful boatyard.
Yeah, you think so? It's a nice place, very nice place.
-There's that overpowering smell of the pine resin.
This is the small boat workshop.
And you will see two boats in here now, well, parts of a boat, this was just started a week ago.
And this is a boat we're just about to finish.
And you can see every stage of their construction.
Yeah, well, it's a very nice thing to build two boats at the same time.
So, here we are...
The most important thing in a Viking boat was its keel -
the backbone they built upon.
-The keel goes down quite some distance.
-Yes, it does.
-So the next stage is presumably to build up the sides?
Most wooden boats normally start with a frame,
then the planks are fixed on.
But these boats are different.
The planks are built up one at a time,
each overlapping the last, placed at precise angles.
This will be the lines plank that we use
for building this boat.
Oh! Not a wonderful architect's ship drawing!
No! It's not something you get from a computer!
And the numbers would be the degrees the plank has,
and would be the width of the plank.
And how do you measure that angle?
We use this one,
that's just a...
simple use of the gravity.
-So there you've got the angle of the plank...
-Yep, that's right.
..at 27 degrees, that's there.
-And here it is then at 27, which is there.
So you just... There it is there.
That's it. That looks about right.
The Vikings built all their vessels this way.
Their longships, their fishing boats, everything.
This is the new one...
'Once the planks are in place,
'they must be secured with special nails which are a bit like rivets.'
So, that goes like that, doesn't it?
'This type of construction is called clinker.
'Bjorn is trusting me to put the last nail in his new clinker boat.'
-I hope I'm not breaking your boat!
It's as good as it gets!
So what you're doing now is clinking.
In Norwegian we would say clinking.
-So that's the origin of the word "clinker boat"?
-Yeah, I guess it is.
That's good. With the sound, you'll hear that the hammer will answer.
An experienced boat builder will say that that's a good sound.
The construction of these boats shows why they were so successful for the Vikings.
Because the overlapping boards aren't tied to an internal frame,
the boats are flexible, able to bend enough to ride rough seas.
And their flattish bottoms can cope with shallow rivers.
Ultimately though, they were replaced by a different style of vessel,
with the planks fixed separately onto the ship's skeleton.
That way, you could build bigger boats.
But for me, these hills will always be alive with the sound of clinking.
In open water, very big boats hold sway now.
As the age of the Viking faded into the sea mist, their renegade trade
was gradually replaced by more everyday commerce.
On our journey north, there's a city
which prospered as part of an exclusive trading club - Bergen.
700 years ago, this was the commercial capital of Norway,
with links to Britain and beyond.
Bergen was the northern outpost of the Hanseatic League,
a sort of early common market.
At its height, this league of gentlemen traders
operated out of ports around Europe,
including Hull, Norwich, Bristol and King's Lynn, as well as Bergen.
As long ago as the 14th century,
it was one of the key cities in Western Europe.
That harbour over there would have been teeming with sailing ships,
ready to make their way back and forth across the North Sea.
Today, trade is still key to our relationship with Norway.
And in Britain, we benefit from one of their largest exports - fish.
Look at that! Now that's fresh cod!
-Is that whale?
-That's whale, yes.
Minke whale. How big is that when it's full grown?
-10 tonnes, maybe.
What a monster. It's the back legs of a king crab.
Now, that would give you a fright if you saw it in a rock pool.
I'd dread to think how you'd go about catching one of these.
These crabs have come from the very top of Norway, right on the Russian border, near the town of Kirkines.
The king crabs are newcomers to Kirkines.
They've made their way there from Russia,
and they're moving gradually southwards.
They've already been spotted halfway down Norway's coast.
Eventually, they might even reach British shores.
One man who grapples daily with king crabs is diver Lars Petter Oie.
The king crab were introduced to the Bering Sea by the Russians in 1961.
The first crab we found here was in 1976.
And ever since that, it has been increasing.
Maybe one day you'll have the crabs even in Britain.
It's always a challenge to be 100% sure where to find the crabs.
But we have so much experience,
so we know approximately where to find crabs.
The biggest we caught here was 1 metre and 70,
it's exactly my own height actually!
And it was about eight kilos.
But commercially it has been caught crabs up to 15 or 16 kilos.
A crab like this, this is like four, four-and-a-half kilo.
You wouldn't afford to eat it in London!
This is, er, this is a lot of money actually!
So, here's meat all the way from here and all the way here.
As you see, it's very tender.
And it's even sweeter than normal lobster.
This is the way you should eat it, it's straight from the sea.
On my own journey up to the north of Norway, I'm coming to a spot
that's a real emotional draw for me - a little town called Televag.
It's a picture-perfect postcard type of place now.
But in the Second World War,
Televag was transformed to become a terrible example of Nazi oppression.
I've got this photograph that was taken in 1945.
I'm trying to position myself
so that I'm where the photographer stood when he took the snap.
It's important to remind yourself
what this place looked like at the end of the war,
because the town was completely erased.
The story of Televag's destruction
begins with the German occupation of Norway in 1940.
Before long, Norway's resistance fighters
looked across the sea to their British neighbours for help.
Fishing boats started to ferry refugees and resistance agents
to and fro between Norway and Shetland.
This secret boat service became known as the Shetland bus.
I've seen one side of the story already on Coast,
when I visited Scalloway on Shetland.
23, 28, 21, 21... Just wee boys.
Many brave young men died running the Shetland bus,
and here in Norway, an entire town paid a terrible price
for their part in resisting the Nazis.
Barbara, can you show me a photograph of Arna,
-show me what he looked like?
Shetland lass Barbara Melkevik married a Norwegian member of the Shetland bus.
He was called Arna, and was from Televag.
I met him when he first came to Scalloway,
he was going to work on the fishing boats,
which they were to use on these secret missions to Norway.
And I was not to ask any questions.
-If I did, I couldn't get any answers.
On one fateful night, Barbara's husband, Arna,
set sail from Shetland with a secret cargo on board.
These were dangerous waters - as well as rough seas and strong winds,
the fishermen had to avoid the constant threat of patrolling German aircraft and U-boats.
Arna's boat managed to reach a small creek just outside Televag.
It was right here, in the dead of night on April 21 1942,
that Barbara's husband, Arna, arrived to deliver two agents of the Norwegian resistance.
Their names were Emil Gustaf Hvaal and Arne Vaerum.
The two agents were taken to a house in the village of Televag.
They managed to hide for a week,
until their cover was blown and the secret was out.
The Nazis stormed the house, and in the ensuing shoot-out,
two SS officers and one of the Norwegian agents were killed.
In a furious display of vengeance,
the Nazis systematically destroyed Televag.
Families were split up. Some were sent to concentration camps.
It was the worst act of reprisal in Norway.
Long after the war, Barbara's husband, Arna,
struggled to come to terms with the devastation
he'd unwittingly brought upon his home town.
Just came bit by bit, now and again.
He was so pleased that it was all over,
and could get back to a normal life. But he didn't like talking about it.
Televag wasn't wiped out by the Nazis,
because those who survived returned to rebuild it.
Their new town now stands as a testament
to the resilience of Norwegian and British resistance
to the tyranny that stalked these shores.
Our links across the sea aren't just woven into stories of war.
They're also etched in the landscape itself.
Further north along the coastline, we're in the heart of fjord country.
Wide openings reveal the start of giant inlets,
some of which snake over 100 miles inland.
Nick Crane has come to one of Norway's most famous fjords
to explore a distant connection to our shore.
Would you look at this?
What a view!
And what a scale!
This spectacular fjord is nearly nine miles long, and over 700ft deep.
It looks extraordinary, very different to our terrain at home.
But there are more similarities than you might think.
It's almost impossible to imagine
that the mighty forces of nature that gouged out this landscape
are the ones that also shaped Scotland.
Our connection to these rocks goes back millions of years.
Here in Norway, we can still see how Britain was built.
But to do that, I need to go high above the landscape.
It's an epic story, with action that really is ground-breaking.
We're heading inland to the uplands, to find out how fjords were made,
see how the forces that shaped Norway and Scotland are still at work.
As an amateur geographer this is one of the most exciting days of my life.
'Ice - the irresistible force that can cut through rock.'
What an amazing sight, this is like a frozen waterfall.
This would have been a common sight in Scotland back in the Ice Age.
What we're looking at is an almost vertical glacier.
It's carving a U-shaped rocky trench out of the sides of the valley
and carrying with it lots of rock debris,
which it will dump further down the valley.
It's an incredible sight, this is glaciation
right in front of your eyes. It's happening right now.
The Norwegian and British coasts are connected by water now.
But go back 20,000 years, and the link was ice - a giant sheet of ice
that stretched from Norway to Britain as far south as Norfolk.
Our landscape still bears the scars of that moving crust of ice.
It's eroded all but our toughest rock,
sculpting the peaks of Scotland,
and gouging the deeply-carved valleys of the Lake District.
And what's so great about coming to Norway is you can see
what glaciers in Britain might have looked like 20,000 years ago,
before our ice melted completely.
Today, this monumental landscape seems to be at complete peace.
There's a timeless stillness about it.
But bits of it are far from still.
As the glaciers retreat inland, the steep cliffs either side
of the fjords no longer have anything to prop them up,
and every so often great hunks of land just fall away,
down into the fjords.
The rich vegetation covering the cliff sides
masks long, potentially lethal fractures in the rock.
Just look at this.
This chasm has been formed because the mountainside is splitting -
parts of it are moving at 20cm a year.
At some point in the next 300 years,
all this is going to thunder down into the fjord.
Up here on the mountainside, I'm meeting Kjell Jogerud,
whose job it is to monitor the impending landslide.
-Very good to meet you.
Yeah. Nice to meet you too.
Can you tell me what is happening to this mountain.
Yes. Er, as you see beneath us here,
more or less everything you see is moving.
And when these masses hit the fjord,
they will transport down to the bottom,
cross the fjord, and move up on the shoreline up on the other side.
This mountain will reach the far side of the fjord?
Yes, yes. And they will set off deposits across all the fjord,
and create quite a large tsunami.
-A tidal wave.
As the land slides into the fjord,
the tsunami will funnel down the narrow channels.
4,000 people live in its devastating path.
It's not a question of if the tsunami will happen, but when.
So the Norwegians have rigged this hillside with 300 sensors.
When the land starts to move,
they hope to have up to 48 hours' notice to warn everyone in the area -
by text message, automatic phone calls and sirens.
The tidal wave will come careering down this fjord, straight ahead here,
over the top of this ferry and hit Hellesylt behind us.
The wave is always going to search for open water,
so some of it will shoot up this side fjord, Geirangerfjord.
And at the end there, there's nowhere else for it to go.
At the very end of this fjord,
there's a little town called Geiranger - home to over 300 people.
I want to find out why they stay
when they know that a tsunami is inevitable.
This is Geiranger, and the head of the fjord.
When the tidal wave reaches here, it has nowhere else to go.
A catastrophic wall of water 40 metres high will smash into Geiranger
and reach the spot where I'm standing now.
All of these buildings will disappear in an instant.
One family has lived here for 500 years - almost 20 generations.
Thomas Grande has his home and camping business right at the water's edge.
He knows that one day in his lifetime, or his children's,
or their descendants', the tsunami will come.
Why do you not move to higher ground where it will be safer?
Er, because we have our roots here.
We like it very much here.
It's a good place to grow up, for Noah.
But when the wave comes, it will destroy your house,
it will destroy this beautiful bit of foreshore with the grass
and the ancient barns, the boatsheds, everything will go.
Yeah. Everything will go, because just materials.
The most important is that we can get away safely, and that we trust.
I think we will settle down again and move back and build it up again.
What does this piece of land mean to you personally?
I've been walking here since my first steps,
so it's very important for me.
I'm really moved by this place,
by the immense forces of ice and water which shape the fjords
and which tell us so much about Scotland's early days.
But I also wonder whether we Britons, who are facing rising sea levels
and a change in coastline, can't pick up a tip or two from the people there
who've learnt to adapt to nature's more ferocious moods.
Travel along Geirangerfjord and out to the open sea
and there's another symbol of Norwegian resilience in the face of adversity.
Here at Alesund in January 1904, a small blaze started in the town.
It spread rapidly through the tightly-packed wooden houses.
10,000 people lost their homes as the entire town burnt to the ground.
The tragedy shocked the nation,
spurring them on to rebuild Alesund completely in just three years.
Nearby, it took six years to build this extraordinary five mile-long expressway, the Atlantic Road.
Eight bridges skim across the sea,
buttressed by island stepping stones.
Since it opened in 1989, the Atlantic Road has laid claim
to being one of the world's greatest driving experiences.
You don't have to go far off the road to find another curious coastal construction.
Alice Roberts is on her way to Nyhamna,
to explore a powerful link to Britain.
Just beyond those islands is the North Sea,
which means that between here and home,
there's an awful lot of oil and gas.
Our North Sea gas may be running out,
but the Norwegians still have big reserves.
So, like asking the neighbours for a cup of sugar, we've had to come here.
This massive gas plant could be keeping you warm this winter,
because it'll be supplying up to a fifth of Britain's gas requirements.
A fifth of the UK's gas -
that's the equivalent of supplying the needs of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The gas lies 74 miles out to sea,
nearly two miles below the waves.
It's gathered by platforms sitting on the sea bed, then drawn through pipes
all the way to the processing plant here in Nyhamna.
I'm meeting the plant director, Bernt Granas,
to find out what happens before the gas is piped to us in Britain.
First of all, we have to get rid of liquids.
And it's a process that starts in these huge pipes here.
So when the gas comes ashore it's not just pure gas.
It's sand, it's gas, it's water and it's antifreeze.
And how long does this whole process take?
From the gas when it arrive here on the beach, until it's on its way to the UK, it's 10 minutes.
10 minutes? And what about Norway, how much gas is used here?
-We hardly use any gas at all.
-So where do you get your energy?
We have hydro-electric power and for almost anything here,
and of course even this plant is running on hydro-electric power.
So you've got a plant here that's just cleaning up gas
-for export to Britain, but itself is powered by hydro-electric.
The Norwegians are fortunate.
They can fulfil many of their energy needs with hydro-electricity,
so they've hardly touched their gas.
But in Britain we've become addicted to the stuff,
so now we're forced to go to extraordinary lengths to get it.
The gas leaves the plant here and begins its mammoth journey
all the way to Easington in Yorkshire. 746 miles in length,
this is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world.
So this is it. I can hear it.
This is the gas you're hearing, gas going to UK,
70 million standard cubic metres every day,
making up one fifth of the gas need.
How on earth do you lay a pipeline of that length across the seabed?
Well, it's quite impressive technology in a sense that
it's laid in 12 metre lengths, welded together, one by one,
and you put it on the sea bed as you go,
and in the duration of two summers you can do it.
I can hear this gas rushing through here at the moment,
-how many more years do we have?
-Well, you have at least 40 more years.
-And are you still looking for more fields?
40 years, that's not long.
The world is facing up to the fact that we need alternative ways to harness energy.
But perhaps we can find some solutions to our future energy needs
using something else that we have in common with Norway -
our very long coastlines.
Wherever a river meets the sea,
you get a mixture of saltwater and fresh water.
The Norwegians' novel plan is to generate electricity
using salt and fresh water via a process called osmosis.
A good way to observe osmosis in action is to see how an egg
can be pumped up in size when it is immersed in fresh water.
Here are two ordinary hens' eggs.
First of all I've placed them both in vinegar
to dissolve the shells away.
What is left is a bag of eggy fluid in a membrane.
All the shell has gone. Now, this one I've left like that as a control
so we can see how big it was to start with.
The other egg I put in this glass of pure fresh water for 24 hours,
and you can just see the difference in size.
Just look at that.
So the membrane outside the egg is a semi-permeable membrane,
it allows water in,
but it doesn't allow the other substances inside the egg out.
So this is a good demonstration of osmosis.
The pressure in this egg is now quite enormous.
Water went in through my egg membrane making it swell up.
Now exactly the same thing would happen
if the fluid inside my egg was saltwater.
It would still swell up because the fresh water is drawn inside
to dilute the most concentrated salty water.
The pressure increases inside the egg and harnessing osmotic pressure
is the novel idea behind the Norwegians' power plant.
'I'm meeting Stein Erik Skilhagen.
'He's created a model to show osmotic power in action.'
We have three chambers with salt water,
and we have four chambers with fresh water.
So we've got alternating chambers of fresh and saltwater,
-and each one is separated by a membrane.
The pressure will increase and then when it gets high enough it has to evacuate somewhere.
-That's going to come out through these pipes here, is it, and then turn our turbine?
'Inside Stein Erik's clever contraption
'are four chambers of fresh water and three chambers of salt water,
'each separated by a special artificial membrane
'similar to the one around an egg.
'Between the chambers, osmosis takes place - water forces its way
'through the membranes from the fresh water into the salt water chambers,
'and that creates a pressure,
'eventually forcing the excess water out through these pipes
'and hopefully turning our model turbine.'
Starting to get some drips coming through.
Oh, look at that, off it goes, that's really impressive.
And the water that comes out here, that is brackish water - mixture of sea water and fresh water.
So that's spinning around nicely now,
so if you were to attach a generator to this, you could make electricity.
We think this is going to be a very good way to produce new renewable energy.
The pressure osmosis can produce is enormous.
An osmotic power plant could harness energy equivalent to nearly a 400-foot waterfall.
By exploiting this completely natural process,
far more electricity could be generated
than from a conventional water wheel driven by the same river.
The model may work, but scaling it up into a renewable resource to rival wind power is a big challenge.
Full scale power stations are still a long way off,
but for me, this is surprising and really promising science.
If the Norwegian prototype works,
then just imagine what that could mean for the UK.
We could look forward to a time
when we could produce clean, renewable energy
from the fresh water and salt water
that's so abundant along our coastline.
To travel along this coast by land,
you need time to spare and then some.
To speed up my journey I'm heading for Trondheim.
I'm not stopping in the port for long,
this is my springing off point to the far north.
Because Norway is so long and thin
and has that fiddly coastline with all those fjords,
it makes more sense to travel by sea than by road,
so they've got a ferry that travels practically the entire coastline,
so that's me all the way to the Arctic Circle and beyond.
This is nice, a bit posher than your average ferry, I must say.
This is one of 12 ferries that make up a scheduled service
that the locals call the Hurtigruten, or coastal express,
and it's a transport system with a special place in Norwegian hearts.
Since 1893, the Hurtigruten fleet of ships has been a reliable way
to reach some of the most northerly towns and villages.
In the early years, it was a lifeline
for the people living in these remote areas.
Day and night, the ships faithfully ply their way up and down
the length of the Norwegian coast.
The Hurtigruten service seems unstoppable,
even when the weather whips up.
The oldest ship of the fleet still steams by at an incredible pace.
That globe on that little island
marks the start or the boundary of the Arctic Circle,
so I'm just about to cross it
and I'm waiting nervously for a siren to blow, actually.
SHIP'S HORN BLOWS
That'll be the Arctic Circle, then.
It's exactly the weather I was expecting, it's the wild north.
What I wasn't expecting was the arrival of a mythical sea god -
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Arctic Circle ceremony, King Neptune is here to say hello to you.
This I don't need.
Right, do your worst, Neptune.
Evil despot, that's what he is.
But Neptune's ice-breaker is nothing compared to Norway's most northerly land.
Beyond even the Hurtigruten's reach is Svalbard.
Svalbard is a group of Norwegian Irelands
on the way to the North Pole.
It's a tough place to live, but polar bears like it
and so does one Aussie photographer on the hunt for a good bear shot.
My name is Jason Roberts, I was born in Australia,
which from where we're sitting at the moment
is completely the opposite side of the globe.
I currently live on Svalbard
which is one of the most amazing places on the planet.
Adventure and outdoors is the reason why I come to Svalbard.
No beautiful girl involved.
Unfortunately we're too late for any good shots of the bear
taking a kill here.
We're too late for dinner.
I move from height to height, so the next stop will be up on the coastline.
We're following the ice edge, we have new ice out from the older ice here,
and more than movement, we're looking for the wrong colour.
Bears are more creamy yellow colour than the ice.
He's just walking, licking the air,
trying to smell for ringed seal lairs.
Not fussed about us at all - he knows he's a king.
Polar bears are generally quite good animals, we spend so much time
with some bears, you really feel you get to know their personality.
After many days, after weeks with the same polar bear,
you feel that you can come and find them two weeks later and say,
"Hi, good to see you again after last time."
Svalbard is a place that, like a lot of extreme things, eats into you
like a virus and it's harder and harder to get away from it,
and everything else seems so mundane, boring.
Once you get that polar virus in you it's very hard to remove it.
CAMERA SHUTTER WHIRRS CONSTANTLY
Totally awesome, totally awesome.
I could feel the snow around me pound as he went through the lair.
Hardly ever experience something like that.
More people have been on the top of Everest than have experienced that.
Back on the coastal express,
I'm on course to reach my destination -
the Lofoten Islands.
Few Norwegians get this far north,
but many are in awe of these mystical islands.
I can feel a knot of anticipation in my stomach,
but imagine how, over 60 years ago,
British Commandos and their Navy comrades felt
as they steamed, in secret, through these waters in 1941,
about to take the war to Hitler in Nazi-occupied Norway.
In the early morning of the 4th of March 1941,
the Germans occupying the Lofoten Islands
were utterly unaware of what was about to hit them.
Five destroyers and two ships carrying Commandos
were creeping up on the islands.
This was Operation Claymore.
They came into this harbour at Svolvaer under cover of darkness.
In early 1941, the German forces were supremely confident,
the masters of Western Europe,
but this raid by British and Norwegian forces was the beginning of the fight back.
Fish oil factories being used to make glycerine for munitions were destroyed.
German soldiers, officials and collaborators were rounded up
and the whole operation was filmed to show the folks back home that we were standing up to Hitler.
'In a daring and highly successful raid, British and Norwegian forces
'swept down on the Lofoten Islands off Narvik.
'We sank 18,000 tonnes of enemy merchant shipping and took over 220 prisoners.
'Stinging blows like this are swinging the war of nerves
As the euphoria of success wore off,
the world viewed the raid on the Lofotens as a vital morale booster,
but with little strategic value.
Only a handful of people knew the true significance of this raid -
how a chance discovery here
would help change the course of the Second World War.
While the ships were blazing in the harbour over there,
a group of brave British soldiers managed to get aboard
an armed German trawler called the Krebs, which was out there,
between that big rock and the shore.
Before it sank, they managed to recover a priceless prize -
a set of wheels like these,
top secret rotors from a German Enigma encoding machine.
Type a letter on the Enigma machine
and it made these gear wheels rotate,
producing a message you could only read with another machine
with the rotors set the same way.
Not only were rotors captured in the Lofoten raid,
they also got hold of an Enigma code book.
All were sent back to Bletchley Park,
the British code-breaking centre.
These were vital parts of the puzzle,
helping finally to crack the Enigma code,
shortening the war and saving countless lives.
The Lofoten archipelago is made up of six main islands
which sit deep within the Arctic Circle.
These waters aren't as cold as you might imagine -
they are washed by the warm Gulf Stream
which attracts huge shoals of cod and the fishermen to catch them.
The town of Svalvard is dotted with evidence of the boom times of cod fishing.
Huts like these were built to accommodate an army of fisherman,
thousands of them sleeping two or even three to a bunk.
They came every winter when the cod in their millions arrived in the waters off the north of Norway.
With a big bounty of fish suddenly landing in their laps,
they needed a way to preserve it.
So the fish were tied in pairs and hung in the air to dry.
It's an age-old method for making fast food
that the Vikings knew all about.
Right, then, this is the dried cod.
Every March, these huge racks are festooned with the fresh fish
and it dries in the wind.
This is what the Vikings took with them on their epic voyages
because once dried, it's preserved and it'll last a long time.
Now, believe it or not, I'm supposed to eat a bit of this
after first tenderising it by beating it with this hammer, but...
I've eaten some things in my time, but I draw the line.
This is beyond rank.
If this is what the Vikings ate as well as being terrifyingly violent,
they must have had breath that would stun a monkey.
The Vikings didn't just keep the dry cod for themselves,
they traded it with other countries.
You don't really think of the Vikings as fish salesmen,
but as Christianity became more and more established in Britain,
the church began to discourage the eating of meat on Fridays,
so fish was on the menu instead.
Of course fresh fish stock started to fall,
and dried cod was in demand.
Trading cod with countries like Britain
helped make the Viking rich enough to indulge in some grand designs.
Here in the Lofotens they've reconstructed a Viking chieftain's long house,
based on evidence from archaeological remains nearby.
You could say it's the replica of a house that cod built.
'Archaeologist Margarethe Rabas is going to show me around.'
So what happens in here then? It looks like a bit of everything.
This is what we believe has been the living quarters,
most of the everyday life has been going on here.
How many people would have lived and worked in this building?
It's really hard to say, but an estimate is between 70 and 80 people.
-That's a big group.
This is the great hall, and this room has been
the political and social centre also.
So, this is the heart, the beating heart of the community here.
What was found by the archaeologists
on the actual site?
They found everyday tools and things like that,
but also really precious imported items like glass and pottery.
There was glass imported from Britain found here.
These artefacts of commerce and conflict
show there were two sides to the Vikings.
We know they were war-like,
but they didn't just come to Britain to raid, they also came to trade.
The Norwegians have preserved the heritage of their seafaring ancestors
who reached out from this shore to Britain and beyond.
Records of their voyages were written down in the great Norse sagas.
Reading about it is all very well.
But if I really want to find out about how the Vikings got around,
I've to get aboard one of these.
This beautiful clinker-built longship is modern, but it's made to an ancient blueprint,
and the feeling on board is authentic and timeless.
HE SINGS IN NORWEGIAN
On a Viking longship on a fjord in Norway, brilliant.
HE SINGS IN NORWEGIAN
Listening to the old Viking song, I'm reminded of what we've found on our trip to Norway.
That memories of our shared histories across the North Sea
keep this country and our own fundamentally linked.
Our landscapes shaped by ice...
our common thirst for energy...
our reliance on the sea.
And the bond of blood between seafaring folk
whose lives have touched in friendship and in war.
For the first time, Coast explores the spectacular shoreline of Norway to discover Britain's age-old link to the land of the fjords.
Neil Oliver journeys deep into the Arctic Circle to reveal the little-known role that a British raid on Norway's Nazi-occupied Lofoten Islands played in helping to win the Second World War. In 1941, a code book recovered from a German trawler was a vital clue in cracking the top secret Enigma code.
On the Lofoten Islands, Neil also explores the traditional red huts which once housed lonely cod fishermen, squeezed in three to a bunk; today the huts are popular as holiday homes. Neil is challenged to taste the 'local delicacy' of air-dried cod - medieval fast food which sustained the Vikings on their epic voyages.
Meanwhile, Alice Roberts visits a processing plant that supplies one-fifth of Britain's gas requirements via the world's longest sub-sea pipeline. In 40 years, the gas will all be gone, but Alice discovers a potential new form of renewable energy - osmotic power.
Mark Horton searches for the design secrets of the Norsemen's fearsome longships, which propelled the Vikings to our shores. Mark meets boat builders who still use the centuries-old methods inherited from their ancestors.
Nick Crane takes a trip over one of Norway's most beautiful fjords to witness the great ice sheets. Theirs was the force which once sculpted Britain's own landscape; in Norway they are still at work gouging out the mighty glacial valleys. At Geirangerfjord, Nick discovers that this inexorable movement of the ice will eventually create a devastating tsunami.
And in the frozen landscape of Svalbard, wildlife photographer Jason Roberts is hunting for the perfect shot of a polar bear.