Songedal Fjellgard to Lysebotn

The planned route was from Songedal Fjellgard to Lysebotn. On the map route description this is described as a 26km walk, so by comparison to the 11 kilometre (9 hour) first day, must surely be easier.

Again to reiterate, we didn’t walk this section, so the following is a combination of interpreting the map and speaking to the German/Moroccan hikers. On paper, the route seems pretty straightforward. After the hut, the path continues up the riverside and over the course of around six kilometres rises some 160 metres, so, in theory, not a steep climb although again bearing in mind these are 20 metre contours, there are some ups and downs…

Songedal to Lysebotn

Songedal to Lysebotn

The path crosses the river at one point and this may have been where our intrepid couple had to wade crotch deep, or it may have been elsewhere. There are no indications of bridges on these maps. There are also frequent tributaries to cross as well as the marshland that is indicated at various part of the route.

From the Håhellervatnet lake the paths climbs more steeply up to Fyljesdalsskardet where you descend from 700 metres down behind the Fyljesdalsvatnet lake (458m) and the back up to the road (650m). The road then winds tortuously round, back, up and down on its way to Lyse and Lysebotn.

Our intrepid hiking couple encountered a problem here. During the Autumn/Winter of 2013/14 the Hydro Power station in Lysebotn was being upgraded and when our couple walked this section of the road, workmen were widening the road. Norwegians love blowing things up and use explosives at the drop of a hat. The way for our couple was blocked and they were forced to do a long and difficult detour.

Songedal to Lysebotn 2

Songedal to Lysebotn 2

Sue and I had been in the Stavanger offices of Stavanger Turistforening not four days earlier. This body is responsible for the maintenance and way marking, and is a source of information about the walking in this region. They also run the hostel at Lysebotn which we discovered talking to the warden, was closing early that season to the public so that Hydro workers could live there whilst the plant was upgraded. The point I’m making is, I assume the hiking office knew about the work in Lysebotn and along the road. When we discussed the route with the staff in the office, they didn’t think to mention the long detour to us… There may be an attitude in Norway of “if you don’t ask we assume you don’t need help” but for visitors to the region, with time pressures, being forced to make long detours, information like this should be offered freely. But that’s just my opinion!

So the walk, and we’re sorry we can’t be more useful for this section, ends up in Lysebotn. We arrived the easy way by ferry from Songedal and made our way to the campsite to recuperate. We’d planned a rest day here anyway and were ahead of our planned schedule. We were also exhausted and not a little nervous about our abilities to carry on. We needed to regroup and recover!

Accommodation in Lysebotn

Lysebotn Hostel

Lysebotn Hostel

Lysebotn and its near neighbour Lyse isn’t a huge bustling metropolis. Accommodation options are limited.

Hostel – The Lysebotn Hytte is run by the Stavanger Turistforening and if you have Hosteling International membership you can enjoy a discount on accommodation here.  Join Stavanger Turistforening and you get a bigger discount (here and in all their huts). It’s run like any other youth hostel has small dormitory rooms as well as two bedded rooms. Hot showers and proper toilets, member’s kitchens and an excellent canteen/restaurant serving excellent breakfasts and very good evening meals. The bar serves wine and beer (Norway isn’t cheap!) although you can’t take it upstairs into the comfy lounge.  Something to do with their license!

Lysebotn campsite

Lysebotn campsite

Campsite – a site run by Olaf the Russian! A simple site with basic but OK facilities. Pick your pitch carefully as overnight heavy rain meant the little hollows around the site all filled with water. The view from the site is fantastic looking west down the fjord. There is a bar, adorned with pictures of and equipment from the base jumpers who leap off the fjord side at regular intervals. The bar serves beer and offers a simple menu and after eating camping food for a while we relished the burger and chips! There is a small kitchen with a dryer, stove and kettle for use by campsite users. There are also chalets available for hire.  A quick internet search failed to find a webiste but if you turn up here there will probably be space.

Wild camping – Walk though Lysebotn and just as you cross over the bridge the area to your right is a popular place to put up your tent and wild camp. There are no facilities as you’d expect except the nearby rivers. There are of course many other spots to wild camp. Take the road to Lyse and here you’ll find a tiny car park, a toilet and a quiet and dramatic place to camp wild.

Bed and Breakfast –  there is a B&B in Lysebötn (run by Olaf again I think).  I didn’t see this so can’t comment on the standard.

Other facilities

There isn’t a lot to do in Lysebotn.  Most happens down by the quayside where motorists gather waiting for the ferries. There is an excellent little cafe (the Medusa)  with an unofficial and very helpful information point and a small selection of food, both dried and fresh. Nearby there’s a kiosk with souvenirs and a few provisions. The kiwi owner of the Medusa also runs kayak tours on the fjord. Nearby is the base jumping HQ if you want to learn how to jump off high things.

So after getting ourselves back into shape and with an upturn in the weather we thought we’d test both ourselves and see what the south side of the fjord was like before deciding on whether we continue or catch the ferry back to Stavanger and forget we’d ever tried the walk.  The next walk was to the the famous Kjeragbolten.

Lysebotn to Kjeragbolten and back