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Slåtterøy: a pearl along the Norwegian coastline

Slåtterøy: a pearl along the Norwegian coastline
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Text and photos by Sigrid Thorbjørnsen. Edited by Rick Shupper. 

The Western Norway area is stunning with beautiful fjords, majestic mountains, spectacular glaciers, and roaring waterfalls. And the coast itself has wonderful islands, small villages, and old traditions. One of these traditions is the lighthouse culture. The lighthouses have their own history, and even though there are no longer people living at the lighthouses, you can still experience this fantastic life by staying overnight by the North Sea.

Slåtterøy

One of these pearls is Slåtterøy Lighthouse. Slåtterøy lighthouse is located on Slåtterøy islet which sits at the northern tip of Fitjar Islands which in turn sit at the outer edge of the Selbjørnsfjord. The closest harbor is at Brandasund on the southwest coast of Selsøy, a part of Bømlo municipality in Hordaland county, the same county which contains Bergen.

History

  • Slåtterøy lighthouse was completed in 1859. The 82 feet tall (25.1 meters) cast iron tower is the fourth oldest in Norway, and it was originally delivered from Bærums Verk, and the torch from Nes Ironworks.
  • The lighthouse is painted red with a white belt and stands 150 feet (45.8 meters) above sea level. The station was electrified in 1958, making it Norway’s most powerful light. The lamp is a 2nd order lens, with a force of 5,180,000 candelas. The light can be seen 18.5 nautical miles from shore.
  • Besides the lighthouse keeper’s residence, there is also a machine house and two boathouses. The boathouse next to the lighthouse was built in 1902. A road with 140 steps leading up to the lighthouse was built by the island residents and looks like a Roman-built road. The stone work also includes fences and terraces where vegetables and flowers were cultivated.
  • The lighthouse was fully automated in the 1980s and has been without staff since June 30, 2003. In 1999 the station came under the protection of Norway’s National Archives.

A stay at the lighthouse keeper’s house

  • Friends of Slåtterøy Lighthouse was formed in 2004 and they are the ones to contact for renting this fantastic place. A stay at Slåtterøy is a vacation you’ll never forget.
  • Friends of Slåtterøy rents out beds in the old lighthouse keeper’s house and offers tours of the area. There are 13 beds plus an additional 14 matresses, for those who don’t mind sleeping on the floor. So, all in all, there is sleeping facilities for 27 people.
  • There is a kitchen on both floors with dishwasher, refrigerator, cooking stove, electricity, and hot water. There are showers on both floors with floor heater and hot water. As this is an island, there is limited hot and cold water. Make sure to not waste water. There are living rooms on both floors, but the one on the first floor, is the biggest.
  • The rent for one night is NOK 1,500 for the whole house.

There is no deposit required

  • Landing on the island is all in the hands of the weather gods. There can be no guaranteed landing on any given day since the weather can change so quickly. When planning your trip, make sure to check the local weatherforcast on www.yr.no, (information is frequently updated) as your arrival date approaches.
  • If there is a storm coming up, or really bad weather, the people here are fantastic, warm, and big-hearted. Friends of Slåtterøy will do all in their power to house you, find you a place for you to stay while you wait for the weather to improve.
  • It is the changes of the weather that makes this place unique, but it is also the reason that cancellations might occur. That’s why you don’t have to pay a deposit.

How to get there

  • BY TRAIN: You can take the train to Bergen or Stavanger from Trondheim, Oslo, Kristiansand and Bodø. Tickets can be bought at www.nsb.no
  • BY AIR: SAS, Norwegian.no and Widerøe have flights to Bergen and Stavanger. You can also land at Stord. From there, the transportation is bus and boat. Bergen and Stavanger can be reached from all the corners of Norway. When arriving at the airports, ask the staff what bus to take to nearest bus or ferry landing.
  • BY HELICOPTERBergen Helikopter is the shortest and fastest way to Slåtterøy lighthouse. They fly out of Flesland International Airport, Bergen and will have you at Slåtterøy within 20 minutes.
  • BY FERRY: Travel by ferry from Bergen (1.5 hours) or from Stavanger (2.5 hours) to Rubbestadneset. From here you get the bus to Brandasund. Ferry tickets can be pre-purchased online but also can be bought on the ferry which takes both cash and credit cards.
    If you are coming by ferry, you will have to wait at Rubbestadneset a good while before there is a bus coming by. The good news is that Bømlo Hotel is just up the street, and they offer fantastic breakfast. You can check out www.bomlo-hotell.no. And if you are waiting for the bus, let the staff know. They are really nice, and will help you the best way they can.
    After jumping on the bus, jump off at Kommunesenteret. Let the driver know. Here you will have to change bus, that will get you to Brandasund. Again, let the driver know, and he will drop you off. The local store at Brandasund is where to get the boat to Slåtterøy lighthouse.
  • BY BUS: You can also take the bus. Make sure to get off at Føyno. From there, catch a connecting bus to Kommunesenteret and follow the same rute as the bus-part of the ferry trip.  Kystbussen is the bus company that will bring you from the big cities including Oslo and Trondheim. The long-distance buses take credit cards, but you have to bring cash for the local buses.
  • BY CAR: For driving maps, click here.

What to bring

  • All the food and drink you need for the stay. There is water, but during dry periods, there could be a water shortage.
  • Towels and bed clothes
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket and pants
  • Hiking boots or other comfortable shoes
  • Warm clothes
  • Swimming gear. The ocean is very clear and so snorking is really good—but the water might be quite cold.
  • Coal for BBQ
  • It is also possible to order from the local store www.brandasund.com/localstore. Just call the store at local number 53 42 56 05. You can pay by credit card or cash (Norwegian krone)
  • There is no internet at the lighthouse, but there are telephone signals, so internet via phone works well. There is electricity for charging devices. There are no TV signals, but there is a DVD player and a TV monitor. Just bring your own DVDs (European settings).

Contact

  • Friends of Slåtterøy Lighthouse (Venner av Slåtterøy fyr). Jan Willy Folgerø-Holm is the president of this organization and will do all in his power to help you.
  • Tel.: +47 95 23 22 38 (if the call goes to mail voice, please leave a message with name and phone number, and the call will be returned),
  • Email:  jaki@haugnett.no
  • www.brandasund.com has information on interesting things to do to do in this area. Jostein Waage runs this site and gives the tours at the lighthouse. He is a walking encyclopedia and his knowledge of the local history is nothing less than amazling. He takes care of the transportation from Brandasund to Slåtterøy lighthouse.
  • Phone +47 97 56 60 56
  • Email:  josteinwaage@me.com

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