The white Balsfjord Church in Tennes was at the end of town right next to the fjord. It was so quiet, you could almost hear the sun. Across the road is a memorial cemetery with 11 graves of notable church members and a monument to the townsfolk who lost their lives in the war. It was the first time I have ever seen nine and ten years olds being honoured for their bravery and efforts in a war.
Next to cemetery is the overgrown bush track to the carvings. If they hadn’t put a sign up we would have completely missed it. Walking the track felt like we were on a safari. This was real bush country. It was a quick walk to the first rock carvings site – Kirkely.
There were no ropes, no fences, no glass – just you and the rock carvings. It was lovely to get up close and personal with the carvings in their natural habitat. The autumn colours framed the blue rock beautifully (and Moose couldn’t resist snacking on some blueberries and cowberries on the hill).
The Kirkely carvings are about 4700 years old. Historians paint the carvings with a natural red dirt so they are more visible but the dirt also resembles the original paint that the carvers used to decorate their art.
The other sites are in a sheep paddock on a private farm. The walking track takes you through a tight sheep-gate to the paddock. The paddock is covered in trees and shrubbery (more like a forest than a paddock) and you can hear the bells of the sheep up on the hill. The walking track was small and windy up the mountain. We were surrounded by yellow trees over a carpet of pinks, green and reds. I suddenly stopped – we were in Never Never Land! This was just too good to be true. At each corner we were presented with a new ‘aw’ for the eyes. I didn’t have the heart to leave these pictures out…
The track led to a wonderful little lookout over the fjord and to the Lyngen Alps. There you can sit back and enjoy the veiw. You can learn about the area and the names of the mountians. But I’ve put no pictures of the view in here – I don’t want to spoil the surprise. You will just have to come to Norway and see it for yourself!
Just down the other side of the lookout are the Gråbergan and Bukkhammaren sites. You will need to take a little more care in following the markers on the track as the bush gets a little wild.
Bukkhammaren is in amongst a grove of trees and in autumn it takes a little ‘blowing’ to view rock art. Even though these carvings are the oldest of the three sites (nearly 6000 years old) they seem to be more detailed, especially with depicting the ‘insides’ of the animals. It seems like the artists were curious about anatomy, maternity and also relationships as many figures used ‘relational’ space.
Through another sheep-gate and over the creek is Gråbergan, a site that is 4600 years old. These rock carvings look more like half-finished doodles than ‘ancient art’. They seem to depict more farming type animals – and of course, there is the famous ‘man’ image.
The end of the track leaves you standing at the side of the road next to some cows. A funny ending to our nostalgic adventure. I guess mysterious ancient rock art from stone age hunters and gatherers are just a part of normal life in Tennes.