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Text: Sven Furuly. Photo: Pernille Varre and Sven Furuly
Caravan and Caravan magazine, No. 1 February 2021

Take a deep breath: Nature experience on Helgeland

A walk through the characteristic hole in Torghatten is a majestic experience and a great break for those who drive along county road 17, most commonly referred to as Kystriksveien, by car or motorhome. This natural phenomenon is within reach of most people who visit the Helgeland coast.

As a car tourist in Norway, it is never far between sights and encounters with culture and history at its very best. A natural phenomenon of the rare is the strange hole in the mountain Torghatten, a few kilometers from the city Brønnøysund on the Helgland coast. Perhaps the best thing is that places like this make you park your vehicle and move your body. It is health for both body and mind to stop the engine, find hiking clothes and get your feet wet. If this is not rewarding enough in itself, the view over the beautiful coast is well worth the heart rate increase you get on this nice hike.

Airy bridges

When you're in Brønnøysund it takes no more than twenty minutes to drive out to the foot of Torghatten. The short drive on county road 54 starts with driving over a high and airy bridge that offers fantastic views of the entire city and the coastal area over a wide stretch. It is not difficult to find, and at the foot of the mountain Torghatten there is a large parking lot. It may be worthwhile to take a look at the large information board before starting the march. There you will find suggestions for several hiking options of varying length and incline. The most popular trip is the one that goes up to the hole in the mountain from the east side, and goes in a round that ends at the parking lot again.

Legends and stories

The hole in Torghatten has always inspired legends and stories. One of the most told legends about how the hole arose is about the Horseman who in his disappointment over despised love shot an arrow after Lekamøya. The king in Sømnafjellet saw what was about to happen, and threw out his hat in an attempt to stop the arrow and save the island. The arrow went through the hat in the same sun ran, and thus everything was petrified. And so the 258 meter high mountain has since been there, with its characteristic hole. The geological explanation of the 160 meter long hole across the mountain top is of course a bit different. Through a painstaking process thousands of years ago, the hole was dug out of water and ice. The looser rocks in this part of the rock were washed out, while the harder surrounding rock around the hole remained.

Mountain Cathedral

The trip up to the hole, which is almost experienced as a large cathedral with its internal height of about 35 meters, and a width that varies between 15 and 20 meters, goes on a path that becomes steeper over time. As we approach the hole, the mountain sides become higher and in a large rock pile just in front of the entrance we can enjoy the view towards Brønnøysund, and perhaps at the same time let his mind wander back to a tragic event that took place in 1988. A Widerøe plane crashed into the west side of the mountain top on the evening of 6 May. and 33 people died. In the distance we glimpse the airport, and can only imagine the grief that filled Brønnøysund about thirty years ago. Precisely a sacred feeling fills us as we enter the opening of the great hole in the rock. In front of us we have what many refer to as a cathedral - and rightly so. The large mountain space - where we can see the exit to the west - is unlike anything else we have seen in Norway.

Steep and narrow

The surface in the large room is uneven, but some stone stairs were built as early as around 1870, and over the years many meters of new stairs have been built, which makes it easy to walk through the hole. The powerful experience is absolutely best if you choose to follow the main path up from the east and go down into the mountains. If you are lucky, as we were, to experience sunshine, you get an unforgettable sight as you approach the exit in the west. Birch forests and green meadows in front and countless small islands and an ocean that ends on the horizon, create an unforgettable picture. But it is important to keep an eye on the trail as well. It is steep and narrow, and a previous rainstorm had made the many stones slippery and slippery. Along the way, however, there are several places where it fits with a small break - combined with wonderful views. Well down, just stroll down the path to the shore, and follow it back to the parking lot.

Top

The trip up to the hole takes half an hour, and about the same time down again. It is not demanding and is suitable for everyone. There are also two other alternative tour suggestions when you are down in the parking lot. One is a slightly more demanding 1,3 kilometer trail that goes all the way to the top of Torghatten. At first it is quite light, but gradually rises sharply up to a height of 258 meters, where many will probably describe the last part as rather airy. The reward, however, is a panoramic view of the Helgeland coast. Fortunately, there is also a hiking option for people with limited fitness, and who just want to exercise and get out in the open air. The nature trail "Torghatten Rundt" has a length of 6,4 kilometers, and you always walk close to the shore. The trip takes 1,5 to 2 hours and you never move more than 35 meters above sea level. You can go on this trip all year round, while the summit trip and the trip through the hole in Torghatten are recommended in the period May to October.

Aquaculture Center

For those who want to be on site for a few days, Torghatten Camping and Strandrestaurant is just a stone's throw from the car park. In addition to nice tent sites and good camping opportunities for motorhomes and caravans, cabins and apartments are also offered for accommodation. The beach restaurant is based on locally caught fish and seafood from Helgeland, and especially the place's 8-course menu offers a great culinary experience. Halfway on the drive from Torghatten back to Brønnøysund you will find the Norwegian Aquaculture Center. In addition to a large exhibition on aquaculture, here you will find a great restaurant with a rich selection of tasty dishes. Here it is also possible to rent a fisherman's cabin and spend the night, for those who travel without their own motorhome or caravan.

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