The west coast of Norway has been battered this weekend by what the local meteorological offices rated as an 'extreme weather event'. Apparently that put it somewhere between a 'storm' and a 'hurricane'. They dubbed this one Berit, which was funny as I had a friend called Berit, and she was a hurricane...
So despite the wind and driving rain my knee rehabilitation continued with my usual weekend workout, trying to incorporate a bit more uneven trail each time. Greater range of motion, less discomfort, my confidence is rising. The trails were understandably quiet of traffic but the waving conifers in the forests roared my progress. Snow is forecast but the real bite of winter seems to be taking a long time to clamp down here.
Above the trees the wind was stunning. There were a few places where I struggled for a straight line and one stretch where I was bent double trying to maintain forward motion. It squeezed the breath out of my chest. Snot rockets flew perpendicular to the ground. Holes of sunshine lasered through the clouds as the afternoon wore on and the 'extreme weather event' seemed to be getting bored with Bergen. The wind started to fade as I descended into civilisation but the bar of chocolate and warm soup waiting for me at home tasted better than ever.
This little jaunt was also the first proper outing for my new Paramo Vista jacket. All you need to know about the way the Analogy fabric works can be found here on Paramo's website or here in Chris Townsend's article on BPL (subscription required). Yes, Paramo is a warmer option than traditional waterproof/breathable fabrics but it's lack of a membrane means it suffers far less from condensation. We're entering the time of year when it really shines, cooler conditions with cold precipitation. It weighs more than Gore Tex/eVent but in winter you can leave it on all day and you can leave your wind-shell behind, so the weight difference is minimal. I love it's simplicity.
It takes a leap of faith to leave behind membrane-based waterproof/breathable shells and I was lucky enough to be given an older Paramo Velez Adventure Smock last winter by Phil Turner so I could try out the concept. Now that I have my new Vista jacket it's time to pay Phil's generosity forward. If you're living in the Nordic countries and are Paramo-curious leave a comment below stating your interest in giving the Velez a try and, for the cost of shipping, I will send it to you to try this winter. If there are several people interested I will put the names in a draw in a weeks time. It's a Large and has some of Paramo's eccentricities (slightly weird cut, dated styling) but it's a great introduction to the concept and kept me comfortable and dry on my ski tour with Jorgen last winter.