The Viking trail

Hiking in the footsteps of king Sverre Sigurdsson

East of Voss lies the beautiful, secluded mountain valley called Raundalen. Small settlements dot this forested landscape, and a narrow road follows the magnificent Raundalen river east towards the main watershed.

 

Unknown to many, this valley was the scene of a legendary event some 800 years ago. This is where the rebel king, Sverre Sigurdsson, travelled with his army in 1177. Join us on a guided six-day hike through forested hills, lush cultural landscape and rugged mountains. Along the way you will learn more about king Sverre and his rise to power.

Feel the power of  Raundalen's wild rivers

Trip concept

On this unique hike, you get to travel on foot all the way from Voss to Vatnahalsen. You will notice how your body and your mind gradually adjust to the change in daily rythm. We hike through forested hills, lush cultural landscape and rugged mountains for a total distance of approximately 80 kilometres. This trip has several distinct sections, with each new day being different from the previous and adding something new to the overall experience. Your guide will provide safe leadership every step of the way, and share his knowledge of local and cultural history. It is important to us that everybody feels at home in the group right from the start. Our guide will help the group build a strong, safe relationship during the journey.

The history of king Sverre and his men sets the stage, allowing you to imagine what it would have been like to follow this route more than 800 years earlier. We travel with light rucksacks, as every overnight stay has been prepared in advance. This route sees few or no tourists, which means we will have to make do with simple-standard accommodation a couple of nights along the way. Hopefully, this will only add to the authenticity of the experience.

The history

In late October 1177, Sverre Sigurdsson approached Voss from the east. He was the leader of the Birkebeiner-rebels based in eastern Norway. Supported by an army of seasoned fighters, Sverre was on his way to Bergen. He was campaigning for the throne, and had many enemies.

Unexpectedly, Sverre and his men were stopped near Voss by an army of farmers assembled from the nearby villages. King Sverre, outnumbered, was engaged in battle and forced to escape back the way he came. The farmers had blocked the normal passage east. Instead, Sverre and his army were forced to climb past a steep and exposed cliff section near the mouth of the valley called Raundalen. This route still holds the name «Sverre’s path» (Sverrestigen).

After struggling their way through a relentless blizzard, Sverre and his men managed to cross the mountains towards Flåm and Aurland. Sverre later became king of Norway.

This trip follows in the medieval king’s footsteps, honoring the history of one of Norway’s most famous and remarkable kings.

Suggested itinerary

Please note! This day-to-day program is a first draft, and is likely to change.

Day 1 - Sunday:

All participants are asked to attend an afternoon program. Meet your guide and your fellow travellers at our office at 5.30 p.m. for a pre-trip meeting. We go through the plan, make introductions, share our expectations and sort out the equipment. After the meeting, we have dinner together to get to know each other. Participants are asked to organise their own accommodation in Voss from Sunday to Monday. We are happy to provide recommendations for a place to stay.

Day 2 - Monday:

We meet in the town square at 9 a.m and start our hike, departing Voss on foot. We head east towards «Storåsen». Following various paths through the dense spruce forest, we gain elevation. From the top of the hill we enjoy splendid views of Voss, before it disappears behind us.

 

We will make two stops today. First, we get a tour and presentation of the old slate quarry called «Hedleberget». In the early 1900s, this was the largest company in the region, producing and exporting large quantities of slate roof tiles. Next, we head for Voss Brewery («Voss Bryggeri») for a tour and some samples. They have a reputation for making both traditional and innovative beer types.  Finally we head for the farm called Lemme, where we spend the night. Lemme has a stunning position, face-to-face with the big bulk of Lønahorgi, one of Voss’ signature mountains. 

Today we cover approximately 11 km and gain 500m of elevation. Map of today's route

Day 3 - Tuesday:

We start the day off easy, heading downhill on roads and paths towards Klyve. Klyve is a small settlement right at the mouth of Raundalen valley. This is where king Sverre and his men were forced to find a steep passage past the cliffs of «Rastalii», as the farmers from Voss had blocked their exit route. We make use of king Sverre’s path to ascend steeply towards Klyvsnolten. This is not straightforward, so caution is required! Your guide will see you through safely, though. From the top of Klyvsnolten we enjoy superb views, before continuing in easier terrain towards Helgaset. At Helgaset we say hello to the cows before settling for the night in one of the mountain farm houses.

Today we cover approximately 10 km and gain 600m of elevation. Map of today's route.

Day 4 - Wednesday:

We start the day with a taste of fresh milk straight from the cows before continuing on our journey. We follow pleasant gravel roads on the hillside above Raundalen, gradually gaining elevation towards «Jonsstølen». Crossing the ridge of «Jonsstølseggi», we approach Vatnaset. This whole area is used for mountain farming during summer, so we should meet some farm animals as we move along. We establish camp near Trout Lake («Aurevatnet»), and celebrate with a swim. This night we spend out in the open, as did the army of king Sverre. A bonfire and sleeping bags will keep us warm.  Perhaps we will catch a few trouts in the lake?

Today we cover approximately 14 km and gain 400m of elevation. Map of today's route.

Day 5 - Thursday:

Our hike continues across the viewpoint of Skipleshovden, offering a great birds-eye view of Raundalen. We descend towards the settlement called Reimegrend, where we cross the crystal clear Raundalen river. The rest of the day is spent following the river eastwards on its south bank. We should find good spots for a swim or two along the way. We arrive at Mjølfjell station, where todays’ hike is over. We spend the night in a self-served cabin.

Today we cover approximately 15 km and gain 130m of elevation. Map of today's route.

Day 6 - Friday:

This day has two options. Either you spend the day resting, which means catching a train straight to Ørnaberget station and checking in at Mjølfjell Lodge («Mjølfjell Ungdomsherberge»). Or you could hike around the mountain called Mjølfjellet, to arrive at the same lodge on foot. This hike takes us through wild mountain terrain, with the spectacular landmark called «Fallet» being the most impressive. At Mjølfjell Lodge we will enjoy locally burnt coffee, a warm shower and pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.

Today we cover approximately 16 km and gain 650m of elevation. Map of today's route.

Day 7: Saturday:

On the final leg of our journey, we follow the «Rallarveg» alongside the railway line. This gravel road was made at the same time as the railway line, wich represents a unique infrastructure project. At Upsete, we step off the road an onto the path that will take us through «Ugjerdsdalen» towards Myrdal and Vatnahalsen. The path crosses pleasant mountain terrain above the tree-line, with a dramatic exit above the Flåm valley. This route is one of just a few possible options for hikers crossing the mountains between Voss and Flåm. At Vatnahalsen we settle for our last night together, enjoying some well earned priveliges like a shower, a good meal and perhaps a drink?

Today we cover approximately 15 km and gain 450m of elevation. Map of today's route.

Level of difficulty

This trip is suitable for experienced and fit hikers. Each day has moderate level hiking. We travel mostly on good paths or on gravel roads, with some more demanding sections along the way. Typical distances each day will be 10-15 kilometres, with 300 to 600 metres of elevation gain. This complete itinerary should be seen as a demanding hike, with moderate technical difficulties. Prior physical exercise is necessary. Expect to be out hiking for 6-8 hours each day, including breaks.

Responsible travel and sustainability

Wild Voss makes a continuous effort in reducing the ecological impact of our trips and activities. We aim to follow the latest GSTC criteria for sustainable travel to the best of our effort. As a participant on one of our trips, you should know the following:

  • We follow the Leave No Trace principles and educate our participants on these principles.

  • We travel on foot, meaning our emissions from transportation will be zero.

  • Our guide will share knowledge about local culture, sites we visit and local customs, to increase cultural learning and understanding.

  • We support locals and responsible local businesses along our route.

  • Your guide will advocate low-impact travel and raise the participants’ awareness of local wildlife and domestic animals.

  • We abide by laws and regulations concerning travel in free nature and cultural landscape.

  • We seek to minimize waste, and choose products and packaging with long life spans.

  • Our company’s core values are:

    • «Nature friendly and safe travel»

    • «Enjoying and exploring free nature»

    • «Strong roots in Voss»

 

Necessary equipment

Participants need to bring the following personal equipment on the hike:

Sturdy and well-fitted hiking shoes or hiking boots, wind- and waterproof shell clothing, beanie and mittens, long-johns and long sleeved base layer, woolen socks, sun-glasses, shorts and sun-lotion. A water bottle, a camera, a small towel, swimwear and a light change of clothes is also recommended. Trekking poles and a pair of sandals or light running shoes are advised.

All participants will receive a detailed pack-list well in advance.

Departures in 2019:

28 July – 3 August

4 August – 10 August

11 August – 17 August

Prices and terms

The price has not been determined yet. We are currently working on the logistics and accommodation details.

This is an all-inclusive tour. The price includes your own qualified guide for seven days, accommodation and all meals on the hike, and all necessary safety and technical equipment.

Travellers are asked to carry valid travel and medical insurance.

Complete information will be made available online by 21 January 2019.

Please follow this link for our terms of service. 

Please also read our risk and liability statement. 

Contact information

Are you curious about this trip - or would you like to make a reservation? Please contact us by sending an email to post@wildvoss.no or by calling Øystein at +47 93484041 .

 

Øystein (38) is the manager of Wild Voss AS. He is the father of to sons, and is married to Birte. He moved to Voss with his family in 2014, and established the company in 2015. Øystein is a certified glacier instructor, avalanche instructor and climbing instructor. While working as a teacher for seven years in upper secondary school, he spent the summers running courses and guiding in the mountains. Øystein has been working full-time with Wild Voss the past couple of years, pursuing his dream of making a living as an outdoor professional. 

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