Mølstrevåg – Ryvarden
Place: Mølstrevåg in Sveio
Map: Hiking map for Sveio (1:35 000)
Start and stop point: Mølstravåg
Parking: On marked location in Mølstrevåg.
Marking: Information board at the start point. Graded after colour codes, and marked with red T.
Grading: Green. Easy walk.
Difference in Altitude: 0-25 M.S.L
Time used: 40 min. tour/retour
Terrain: Gravel road in broken country. Some inclines.
Leave Rv 47 by the sign to Mølstrevåg, about 9 km north of Haugesund. Follow Rv541 approximately 6 km to the sign to Ryvarden. Proceed 1 km to parking in Mølstrevåg.
Mølstrevåg is one of the best known commercial villages along the coast, and ships passing the exposed coastline Sletta have always found a safe harbour in Mølstrevåg. Modern industry is now the primary source of income, but signs of earlier economic activity can still be seen in the harbour where some of the old trading houses are still standing.
From the highest point on the road there is a magnificent view of Stord and Bømlo, Utsira and even as far south as Byheiane outside Haugesund.
Ryvarden lighthouse is located where the old cairn "Ryvarden" once stood. This cairn was the border marker between the districts of Ryfylke and Hordaland as far back as the Viking Era. The old Icelandic manuscript Landnåmbok mentions that the seafarer Floke Vilgjerdson built the cairn in the year 868, before he proceeded westward to settle in Island.
I 1849 the Lighthouse Authority decided to build Ryvarden lighthouse, and the first structure, a small timber cabin 2,6 metres square with a wallmounted lamp, was built near the cairn. As you can see this is an ideal spot for a lighthouse, with extended views of Sletta and Bømlafjorden.
The idea was to have the light on during the winter herring fisheries from the 21st of December to the 1st of March, but in 1852 seafarers in general demanded that the period of operation be extended to 9,5 months, from the 15th of July the 1st of May.
Several improvements were made during the second half of the previous Century. In 1861 a larger building was put up and, unfortunately, the old cairn was removed. In 1935 a 6-meter tower was built and a foghorn was installed. In 1958 a new house was built and electricity was installed. The road was built in 1980 and, ironically, when the lighthouse was automated four years later,
(Source: Kulturhistorisk Vegbok Hordaland).
But all is not lost. After the lighthouse was automated, the old buildings started a new existence as Ryvarden Kulturfyr, with a gallery, cafe, accommodation, and an artist's studio. The gallery has several separate exhibitions from April to December, and has become a popular destination also for the local population. The gallery is open on Sundays and holidays from Easter to November, and also further days in July and August.