Torghatten, the legendary mountain with its distinctive hole all the way through, you just have to visit. Man becomes small when wandering through the 160 meters (520 ft) long, 35 meters (115 ft) high and 15-20 meters (50-66 ft) wide tunnel formed during the Scandinavian Ice Age. Ice and water eroded the loose rock sediment whereas the harder rock types of the upper part of the mountain withstood these forces. The walk up the partly prepared path will normally take app 25-30 minutes. All traffic is at your own risk.
Torghatten, hike to the top.
The top trip starts gently from the beach on the east side at the foot of the mountain. The higher you get the more of the surrounding landscape will emerge. The trail to the top is very difficult, although a little demanding with a couple of steep sections which some might find a bit airy, fixed chains can be used as handrails. The prize however is the stunning panoramic view from the top.
Height: 255 meters, demanding category, length: 1,3 km, estimated time spent: app 1 hour.
Torghatten, round trip
A trip, walking or bicycling, at the beach side round the mountain is “the good life”! The trip goes on both asphalt and gravel as well as on a natural path/old road. Follow the sign telling the direction all the way round. At the southernmost point you will see straight through the hole. The shoreline is not far away, here you can find shells and stones, you can play in the sand or wade in the shallow waters. At the foot of the mountain, on the south west site, there is a path leading up to the memorial site of the accident when a plane crashed into the mountain, May 6th, 1988.
On foot: easy, length 6,4 km, height 35 m, 1-1,5 hours
On a bicycle: easy, 30 min.
Torghatten, the legend
In the north of Helgeland, there sat two mighty troll kings: ‘Vågakallen’ (the King of Vågan in Lofoten) and ‘Suliskongen’ (the King of the Sulitjelma mountains), being separated by the West fiord. Both had their worries: Vågakallen had his disobedient son, Hestmannen (the Horseman) and Suliskongen had his seven unruly daughters, who he had sent to the island Landego you be thought how to bake ‘lefse’ from their cousin Lekamøya (the Virgin of the island Leka).
One late summer evening the 8 Troll maidens were on the beach, dancing in the moonlight and bathing in the sea. On the other side of the West Fiord they are seen by Hestmannen. Just one glimpse sparks off a burning desire for Lekamøya, whom he decides to capture in the dead of night.
On horseback, in full armor, with the crest of his helmet waving and his cloak shrouding his powerful shoulders, he speeds southward on his midnight ride.
The maidens catch sight of him and flee in haste until they can go no further. The seven sisters abandon their flight and lie down at Alstahaug and Lekamøya continues her flight southwards and finally reaches her home island, Leka.
The King of the Sømna mountains east of Brønnøysund stands watching the wild hunt. By this time the golden clouds of day are approaching and Hestmann has reached the island Rødøy. He realizes that he will not be able to obtain Lekamøya. Utterly disappointed he thinks: “if I don’t get har, nobody should get her!” and he puts an arrow to his bow ready to shoot her. The King of Sømna throws his hat in the way and saves Lekamøya. The arrow shoots from the bow and pierces the hat which falls down near the Torgar islands. At the very same moment, the sun rises, and everything is turned to stone, because trolls cannot withstand the sun light.
Myths and legends along the coast
Torghatten has always been a dramatic mountain. First the mountain arose, then the people came and gradually the myths. Torghatten has influenced people’s fantasies for thousands of years. Legends have travelled from generation to generation, from village to village.
The troll mountains are standing in line along the Nordland county, spun in a long and beautiful thread about northern imagination. Torghatten is an eye to the fairway at sea, “who sees with the non-sleeping eye”. For many a viking, a fisherman, a traveler along “The way north”, the mountain has been a dear navigation mark. Sailors took of their hats in greeting here at “The Gate of the Lands of the North”. The captains used the legends to teach the young men to navigate. The stories were told on the way north to Lofoten fishing and on the way south to Bergen shipping stock fish. It was easier to remember the long distance of dangerous waters between ‘Vågakallen’ and ‘Lekamøya’ using a good and imaginative story.
Torghatten, a trip to the hole
The most usual route to the hole is from the eastern side, via a path up the mountain, parts of the path consists of steps made 1873 from natural stones. The walk will take app 25-30 min, walking calmly. Walking upwards the path gradually goes through a canyon with steep walls and at the end through a scree.
The best view of the hole itself is from the top of the path, if you turn right you will see Brønnøysund and to the north The Seven Sisters, the mountain range east of Sandnessjøen. If you walk through the hole to the entrance on the other side, the view is formidable and from here you see the Helgeland Coast at its most beautiful, with hundreds of small islands. This view alone is worth the walk up.
On the way up to the hole there are several levels of pebbles shoving the different old shorelines on the ascending land. Near the path you can also see some potholes, these were made from rocks and gravel and rotating water movements over a long period of time. Today we know that a lot of potholes were shaped by rivers underneath the glaciers. This is why we find them at strange places where there are no rivers today.
On the way up you can also take a look at the material Torghatten is made of, granite. The best way to see is the steps that unknown workers made before the visit of King Oscar II in 1873. Geologists think that the Torghatten granite was made some 470 million years ago.
Inside the Torghatten hole
When you come up to the hole the dimensions of the hole (length 160 meters/525 ft, height 20-75 meters/65-245 ft and width 15-25meters/50-80 ft) and the breathtaking view to the ‘strand flat’ in the south west will amaze you. Going through the hole you will see pits and soft forms in the wall due to salt weathering. At the south entrance the landscape really reveals itself. From here you can see “the arrow” from the Torghatten legend, a long, narrow island straight south of Torghatten. If you are lucky you might see “Lekamøya” far away to the south. On the south west wall of the entrance you find King Oscar II’s signature, just like you find King Olav 5’s and King Harald 5’s signatures on the left side of the north entrance.
Svarthola – the Black Cave
When you come back to the northern entrance and look straight ahead you will discover a large crack in the mountain, inside this crack lies “Svarthola”. This is the longest cave in Torghatten, it has never cracked all the way through the mountain to make a tunnel. It is quite deep and finding of old clay in cracks might actually indicate it has a history all the way back till the area lay in a tropic climate zone long before the ice ages. Perhaps “Svarthola” gradually will reveal even deeper secrets about Torghatten than we know of today?
A little to the right from ‘Svarthola’ there is a layer of pebbles and this is an old shoreline. When the ocean was at this level, the first people came to Torghatten. They settled down on this shoreline and used the pebbles as foundation for the huts they lived in. in the area round Torghatten we find 5 different visible stone age settlements. They are all on the same level as the different pebble’s levels. On the north-west side, about 60-75 meters/200-250 ft above the sea level of today, we find the ideal catch settlement with good options for a harbor, the settlement was used for several thousand years.
Torghatten and geology
Geology – not at boring but cool word. Geology is not only about rocks and stones, it is also about how the landscape has been formed through 500 million years, and about where and how people have chosen to live.
The hat-shaped mountain with the hole straight through has created amazement and experience for travelers for hundreds of years. An iconic mountain along an iconic coastline, a geological monument over processes that is shaping our landscape. Torghatten is not just a geological story in itself, but also the one of the people who first came to this part of the world, the one about the strand flat as livelihoods for generations and the one about the deep mythology woven together with survival of man in the harsh coastal environment.
You can read more here: www.trollfjellgeopark.no
Don’t forget sturdy footwear, camera and a bottle of water.