After a hundred and fifty days north of the Arctic Circle, I long for light and warmth now, it’s mid-May, and spring came with an immense boost. My work as a Managing Director and Outdoor Guide at Hattvika Lodge have been a very intense yet incredibly multi-faceted task to date.
As so often, the job demands exceeded the description! Days and nights, weeks and months, merged into a great mix of adventure and day to day business. For the first picture of this blog post, a distinctive, typically Scandinavian picture because the colour red, as seen here with the traditional Rorbu is as profoundly anchored in the Norwegian culture as there fishing nets in front of the rugged islands.
Enclosed a short geographic prologue. Lofoten is a Norwegian region in the administrative district Nordland and part of an archipelago off the coast of northern Norway, consisting of about 80 islands, including Austvågøya, Skrova, Gimsøy, Vestvågøy, Flakstadøy, Moskenesøy, Værøy and Røst. The Norwegian district of Lofoten essentially comprises the archipelago. The name means “the lynx foot”. Many times the settings of houses or Rorbu look really tacky and in perfect weather condition even surreal. But as you can see at the pictures, there is no chance of hiding a house, and instead of camouflage into the terrain, the signalise with the colour red.
It’s the beginning of June, and I swapped my winter gear for shorts and running shoes. Along with this, the guiding focus shifted to prevention regarding risk management during a variety of our outdoor activities offered by Hattvika Lodge. The range includes mountaineering, hiking and trail running as well as surfing and kayaking. The next pictures are from Kvalvika Beach and the mountain of Ryten 543 m. This area is a beautiful and typical example of the fascinating Lofoten landscapes. Those well-known mountains and beaches are, among many other, overcrowded in the summer months. With this fact and continuously increasing tourism, all of Lofoten districts will be challenged to work together on sustainable solutions.
The fascination I felt when I left the Lofoten after my first trip, was now, what attracted me to come back but this time (mainly) to work. It is the permanent wonder of abundance and simplicity. The natural landscapes are often so cheesy that they seem unreal. Genuine beauty spreads. Especially in the summer, when the sun does not sink under the horizon for a few weeks, I felt energetical, and vitality adapted to nature. My rhythm was in total harmony and even the working days were long, there was always time to explore some new terrain.
The conditions for living out my passion for photography as well as for mountaineering and running were undoubtedly heavenly, and so it was not surprising that I spent every spare minute to map down new possible routes. The next video and pictures will provide you with a glimpse of Mt. Volanstinden (547 m) mysterious beauty. Volanstinden is close to the village of Fredvang and offers besides a fantastic hike, even more, dramatic views.
In addition to hiking, mountaineering and climbing, the spectacular landscapes of the Lofoten are ideal for running, especially trail running. One of the most significant differences compared to the high-alpine regions of central Europe is, that one can hardly get lost here. That’s because from almost any mountain you can either look at a road, the sea, or both, so you can always orient yourself well, and that minimises the risks. Next a trail running video and pictures from training & races.
As mentioned, this blog post mediates less travel information or details about the Lofoten as it is a homage to nature. Every season is appealing, but I would like to mention that you should not expect too much by travelling in November and or December because the weather is then usually rainy, stormy and foggy. The Hattvika Lodge is an ideal gateway to explore the Lofoten Islands and lays 12 km south of the airport of Leknes.
The small airport LKE is approached via Bodo from Oslo, and I can only recommend to every visitor to arrange a rental car upon arriving because no matter what your expectations for your trip are, without individual mobility, it will be a demanding challenge. Just a twenty-minute drive, the area around Haukland & Uttakleiv Beach is ideal for hiking, photography, camping and to enjoy the Caribbean flair of the North.
The summer is now at its peak, demonstrating colourful richness in dramatic surroundings while the last snow on the top of the mountains drains away.
For ornithologists, Lofoten has been well known for many hundreds of years. The attraction is the giant bird cliffs that stretch along the coast from Røst in the south to Bjarkøy north of Harstad. The largest and best-known bird colonies can be found on Værøy and Røst. There are a lot of different types of ptarmigan in Lofoten; to be able to photograph them requires either good luck or even more patience.
If I am getting tired of the mountains (which is rarely the case), then Henningsvaer is my absolute favourite place to unwind. From Svolvaer, the capital of the Lofoten it’s only a thirty-minute drive to Henningsvaer, and this charming little village lays right between steep mountains and the open ocean. It is crowded there in summer, so I highly recommend the mid-season for a visit and the reasons are, that Henningsvaer, offers lot’s of outdoor activities, cultures events, great restaurants, art exhibitions and my loved coffee shop Trevaerfabrikken where magnificent views and excellent coffee will nourish you. Trevaerfabrikken, the first choice for dreams and to get inspired!
For photographers and lovers of aerial photography, Henningsvaer is a must! Not just because of the spectacular soccer field at the last tip of the island but also for its dramatic roads, bridges and steep mountains. As soon as you leave the highway (E10) in the direction to Henningsvaer, you will understand what I meant.
On certain days, when light conditions, clouds, colours and a view other factors are in symbiosis, the impressions are surreal, breathtaking, and leave me with no different expression than joy. Mischievous I am shaking my head with a broad grin. I not only look through the viewfinder of my camera to take a picture, but I am also looking through it to see the world and share fragments of wonders and beauty. Nourished and amazed I set off again for the southwest, and after just a few kilometres I was greeted by the 839 meters long and spectacular cantilevered Gimsøystraumen bridge that connects the islands of Austvågøya and Gimsøya
Red is still the dominant colour, but autumn is approaching, easily recognisable by the sea algae, which are the first to make seasonal changes through a change in tone. It’s not just the colour compositions, but many other elements that attract my attention through simplicity.
The long summer days are over now, and we got blessed with sunsets again, a change more natural to accept for me. I was longing for orange which can be seen and enjoyed best from one of the many mountaintops. Often the clouds thunder like massive tsunami waves gently against the rugged and steeply towering mountains.
On days like these, the quiet poet comes out in me, dreams and philosophises (mostly with himself) about the complexity of simplicity. I love true untamed nature with its natural harshness; there is peace within.
Lofoten, July to October 2018