Skomvær Lighthouse: At the tip of Lofoten Archipelago
Information updated: July 2014
Skomvær Lighthouse is on the small island of Skomvær which lies about 9.3 miles (15 km) southwest of Røstlandet in Nordland, Norway. Røstlandet is the principal island of Røst municipality. The 1.4 square-mile (3.6 square-kilometer) island is the home to most of the residents of Røst. Skomvær is the westernmost island of the Lofoten ridge, 22 miles (35 km) west southwest of Sørland and a similar distance northwest of Myken.
This lighthouse was built in 1887 – a period during which Norway built many lighthouses — automated 1978, and closed in 1988. The structure is 104 feet (31.7 meters) tall, and stands 154 feet (47 meters) above the high tide mark at the highest point on the island. The lighthouse consists of a round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a circular stone base. It is painted red and the base is painted white. There is a 1-1/2 story keeper’s house, generator house, boat house, farm buildings, and other structures which are preserved at this remote station. It is listed as a protected site by the Norwegian Coastal Association. Both the site and the tower are closed to the public.
Outermost in the Lofoten archipelago, about 100 km to the west of Bodø and 115 km to the north of the Arctic Circle, one finds Røst with its 365 islands, isles and skerries. The largest of them, it’s highest point barely 12 m above sea level, is Røstlandet. Further south, the islands of Storfjellet, Vedøya, Trenyken and Hærnyken loom like gigantic monuments in the water. ￼
Røstlandet is a fishing village covering the southeastern part of the island. Røst Airport is located on the northern part of the island. Røst Church is located in the village and serves the people of Røst.
Incredibly, despite its northerly location, Røst features a subpolar oceanic climate. Røst and Værøy are known by meteorologists as the most northern locations in the world with average temperatures above freezing all winter. The winter temperatures in southern Lofoten represent the largest temperature anomaly in the world relative to latitude. The mean annual temperature is 41.7 °F (5.4 °C ) for 1961–1990.
The Premiere on Henning Sommero’s opera Querini takes place at the utmost tip of Lofoten on the island of Røst on August 4th and 5th 2012. Composer Sommerro and librettist Ragnar Olsen tell the tale of Querini, Venetian nobleman, shipwrecked in the North Sea during the early winter of 1431, while on a voyage from Crete to Flanders. One of the lifeboats with survivors from the wreck drifted ashore on the uninhabited island of Sandøy, just off Røst. The survivors were found in a very poor state of health in January 1432. They stayed on till spring, and then left on ships carrying stockfish. The Italians’ narratives of conditions on Røst at the time is one of the most important accounts we have about the lives of ordinary people in Northern Norway during the Middle Ages. A monument to commemorate Querini and his companions was unveiled on Sandøy on 10 July 1932.
Read more on the opera’s website.
Bird Nesting Colonies
- The steep and towering islands southwest of the populated island of Røstlandet, are home to the largest number of nesting birds across Norway, with approximately a quarter of the country’s seabird population. A survey made in 1992 shows a population of 2.5 million adult birds. During the summer, there are daily boat trips to the nesting colonies. Bird lovers and scientists regularly visit these ornithologically important islands.
- Røst is one of the few bird watching localities in Norway that is known worldwide. The seabird colonies that are to be found are regarded as internationally important. The island offers a range of habitats, and as one would expect, a stop-over point for many species that are migrating even further north. During the last few years, birders have been showing an interest for Røst during the autumn, producing a whole range of rarities.
- The municipality also has one of the biggest bird cliffs in the North Atlantic, with puffin colonies, as well as colonies of shag, kittiwake, and cormorants. The cormorant is featured on Røsts coat-of-arms reflecting their role in a local legend in which three brothers could transform themselves into cormorants.
- View a cool panoramic picture of Røst here.
- Widerøe has flights from Bodø to Røst airport (as well as flights from Oslo to Bodø).
- Torghatten Nord has ferry service: Bodø–Vaerøy–Røst–Moskenes. Schedule and prices, click here. Main site.
Lofoten.info is a detail-rich site for anyone interested in traveling to this part of Norway.
Wonderful old video, in Norwegian, but showing life on Røst.
Querini, a rehearsal session