Grip – lighthouse and deserted fishing village

Grip – lighthouse and deserted fishing village
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Grip is an archipelago, a deserted fishing village, and a former municipality about 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) northwest of the city of Kristiansund. It is located in the municipality of Kristiansund in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway.

The Grip lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in Norway. It was built between 1885 and 1888 on the 7-meter (23 ft) high islet of Bratthårskollen, north of Gripholmen. The 47-meter (154 ft) tall lighthouse is a red cast iron tower on a white 16-meter (52 ft) granite stonemasonry base. This is the second tallest lighthouse tower in Norway. The lighthouse’s range is 19 nautical miles (35 km; 22 mi), and the white, red, or green light, depending on direction, is occulting every eight seconds.

The islet is barren rock with just the lighthouse tower, a concrete boathouse, and two wharves. The lighthouse keepers lived inside the lighthouse tower. A radio beacon was operated between 1947 and 1986, which was replaced with a frequency-agile racon signalling “G” with a range of 4 nm. The lighthouse was electrified in 1932, and is unmanned since it was automated in 1977. In 2000, it became protected as a cultural heritage site. The piloting station was shut down in 1969.

Grip Archipelago

The Grip archipelago consists of 82 islets and skerri. The fishing village is located on Gripholmen, which is the largest and only habitable islet. On the south side of the fishing village is the main harbor, protected by two breakwaters. The older and northern harbor is smaller and less protected. Other breakwaters protects the fishing village from large ocean waves. The highest point is just 10 meters (33 ft) above mean sea level.

The Inngripan group of skerries lies about 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) closer to Kristiansund, where a small storm shelter offered protection for shipwrecked fishermen. The storm shelter has recently been restored.

As all the turf and vegetation on Gripholmen was removed to provide clean cliffs for drying cod there was little room for agriculture. Only a few tiny gardens remained. The inhabitants could keep one or two cows grazing on the close islet Grønningen, and a few hens and pigs. After being deserted in 1974, Grip is slowly revegetating.

Fishing Village

GripThe first indications of settlement at Grip is from the ninth century, where fishermen settled close to the fishing grounds. Storm surges destroyed most of the fishing village in 1796 and again in 1804, leaving only the church and a few other houses. The first breakwaters were constructed in 1882 and a harbor capable of landing small ships was not ready until 1950.

The population fluctuated for centuries, following the profitability of fishing – between 100 and 400 people. A now deserted village, it was once a busy place, when 2,000 fishermen could stay there during the height of the fishing season, when fishermen rowed and sailed to Grip from all over, to catch cod. Centralization led to a declining population after World War II, and Grip became deserted in 1974 when Hildur and Kasper Larsen left just before Christmas.

After being deserted, the old houses has become popular summer houses, and in the summer Grip has 150 – 250 residents in 44 housing units, primarily the earlier population and their descendants in Kristiansund. The harbor is still a popular dock for small fishing vessels, and the village is a popular destination for tourism in Kristiansund. Today a passenger ferry connects Grip to Kristiansund in the summer season with one or two 30-minute crossings from the town center every day.

When the diesel generator was started in 1950, the population was supplied with electric energy. The summer residents now get their electricity from 7:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night with two generators installed in the local power station, totaling 210 kVA power. The power station was privatized in 1992. The archipelago has mobile phone coverage from a radio tower in Kristiansund. There is no natural source of fresh water, so the residents collect rainwater, flush the toilets with seawater, and travel to town to do their laundry.

Houses jostle shoulder to shoulder along the narrow streets on the island of Grip; with its many boathouses and jetties, and with the old stave church in the middle of the island, Grip looks like a small town floating on the sea. All the houses are intact and well maintained despite the fact that there are no permanent residents.

Visitors will find a trip to Grip one of the best excursions along the coast of Fjord Norway in summertime.

Grip Stave Church

Grip Stave churchWith only one nave that is 12 meters (39 ft) long, 6.5 meters (21 ft) wide, and 6 meters (20 ft) high, Grip stave church it is one of Norway’s smallest churches. The priest no longer lived in the parish after the year 1635, but regularly visited the island. The church was built circa 1470 at the island’s highest point, about 8 meters (26 ft) above sea level. The church is of the Møre type, being structurally similar to the larger Kvernes and Rødven stave churches. Because of the barren nature of the island, there is no cemetery on the church grounds, and bodies had to be buried elsewhere, in the cemetery of Bremsnes church, over 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) away over open sea.

The church’s wonderful altarpiece was donated by the Netherlands princess Elisabeth in gratitude for her rescue at sea by Norwegian sailors during a violent storm in 1515. The wall paintings date back to circa 1620.

Getting To/Visiting Grip

  • GripExpressen runs boats and excursions to Gri. See the website.
  • Excursion boats go to Grip daily during the summer season. Leaving from Kristiansund, the trip is 40 minutes. The stay on shore time is one and a half hours.
  • Adults NOK300, Children NOK150
  • Email: post@vikaneset.no
  • Tel., +47 916 07 066
  • Reservations: +47 918 07 666

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