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All 26 municipalities of the western Norwegian county Sogn og Fjordane will open a cabin to the public this year. Common features are proximity to the city, spectacular view and a unique design.
Published: 28 March 2018
Norway’s traditions for outdoor activities and cabin life runs deep. The Norwegian Trekking Association owns more than 500 cabins across the country, all available to members of the association.
In the Western county of Sogn og Fjordane, however, something new and special is happening: Cabins that are available to everybody, without demanding a weekend to get there, are opening in all of the county’s municipalities.
Atle Skrede works as a physical activity counselor in the Sogn og Fjordane County Council. He was the one who came up with the idea of daytrip cabins in his home county.
“My job is to promote and facilitate activity and health. I grew up with a cabin myself, I’ve spent a lot of time trekking in the mountains and I love outdoor activities. With this project we wanted to make an accessible cabin, encouraging physical activity for everybody”, he says to Visit Norway.
The project is already a success. Five cabins have been built in five of the county’s municipalities – Jølster, Flora, Gloppen, Eid and Luster. By the end of the year, the remaining 21 municipalities will all have their own cabin.
“Two and half years have passed from the idea was conceived to the finished product. How many bureaucratic projects can you say the same about?”, Skrede chuckles, adding:
“The Sogn og Fjordane Savings Bank Foundation has already financed climbing parks in the area, and they made sure this project was swiftly realized as well. Their only condition was that they wanted cabin in all of the county’s municipalities – 'all or nothing' was the message.”
And that’s precisely what’s happening. The cabins are put up in various types of nature, from majestic mountains to picturesque fjord landscapes.
“We have a lot of fantastic nature in Sogn og Fjordane, from glaciers to locations for sea fishing, with short distances between the different variations. That’s part of the project as well – highlighting our amazing resources.”
A lot of designs were submitted as the county announced the competition for the cabin project. Eventually, ROJO, an architect bureau based in Trondheim, drew the longest straw.
“Their submission clearly stood out”, Atle Skrede.
“The cabins have room for many visitors at the same time, with tribunes providing sun regardless of its position in the sky. The design eliminates the need for shoveling snow, and they’re built for rough weather and wind. And they’re all identical, thus establishing a visual identity for the whole county.”
Another thing separating the cabins from most – and already creating something of a buzz – is the library. The collection of books include titles for readers of all ages, Skrede says to Visit Norway.
“We do, however, focus somewhat on children and youngsters, as well as families. We’ve noticed people’s interest in this particular part of the experience. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with people borrowing a book and returning it later. Or perhaps you could read a new chapter of the book for every visit?”
Another central point is the cabins’ relative proximity to civilization. Even though getting there is meant to take some effort, the parking space where the hike begins is situated no longer than 15 minutes from the city centre. And the trip itself typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
“This is unique, both in a Norwegian and a global perspective. And the architecture is exciting enough to make the cabins an attraction in themselves”, Atle Skrede says.
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