Monday, July 12, 2021

De Kvite Kyrkjene // day 1 // Krosshøl - Bråtådokktjønn

De Kvite Kyrkjene pilgrim path, day 1.
Distance: 22.2km (27.3km).

From Tinnoset the proposed way to get to Sandviken, from where the pilgrimage continues on foot, is to take a boat. Although the prospect of a boat ride is nice, pilgrimages to me is still about walking.

Holkåe, passed by on the way down towards Rauadammen.

Which means I need to find another way to get to the bay. My first plan was to try to locate a path in the hills above Tinnoset, which could connect with another path that would get me there. The problem is that those two paths are not connected, and I had to hike through a rather cumbersome terrain by the look of the map.


Instead, my parents will drive me to Krosshøl, from where I can walk down to a parking lot near Rauadammen. From there I can find an alternative route to Sandviken, which also has been waymarked with the pilgrimage sign (a white church).


The beginning of the Rauafossen waterfall, with the channel directing the timber into the Raua tunnel.

This alternate route is actually a pretty nice and interesting one. Rauadammen was originally a wooden dam that was replaced by a stone dam in 1883. The 100-meter-long dam lies at the outcome of the Reisjå lake, which was used to transport timber all the way down to Tinnsjøen. It is estimated that in the 1900s about 36 000 timber logs was floated down Rauavassdraget each year.

Path down towards Tinnsjøen from Rauadammen.

Most interesting is the dark and huge maw of Rauatunnelen. The Rauavassdraget watercourse ends up in the violent Rauafossen. So in order to take the timber safely past the waterfall, a 60 meter long tunnel was built. Going down to the tunnel I can follow the channel leading the timber into open maw, with water gushing rapidly down and into it. You do not want to fall down into that gaping black hole.

Almost natural steps on the path.

I had a late start, so the sun was lower on the sky while I walked down towards Tinnsjøen, illuminating the path with a warm light. The path is meandering down through lush forest between moss-covered stones. Occasionally the roar from the gushing river in the gorge below can be heard.

Tinnsjøen, looking over at Sandviken from the outcome at Rautangen.

I arrive at Sandviken at around six o’clock in the afternoon, with the last part of the walk going next to Tinnsjøen lake, albeit with most of the view of the water through trees. The terrain on this stretch was more cumbersome, with the path taking its turns up and down protruding rocks. It was still a very nice walk in a fine light.

Path next to Tinnsjøen towards Sandviken.

At this hour Sandviken might for many be a perfect place to stop for the day and make camp, here I find a large picnic table formed like an arrow with benches, a campfire pan and stack of firewood. Further up in the woods there is an outdoor loo. All with a stony beach and a lake to behold.

Sandviken, picnic benches and campfire pan.

The next church, and hence in a way the endpoint of this stage, is Hovin church, which is a walk of about ten kilometres from Sandviken. Sandviken was once a small farm close to being a hamlet, in 1900 there was 11 people living here. Somewhere between 1920 and 1930 it was abandoned. As I walked past the worn and dilapidated buildings, I could see that there are some maintenances being done. The only access way to the farm, with the exception of boats, is an uneven, rocky and steep carriage path that the pilgrim path also follows.

Derelict buildings at Sandviken.

Steep carriage path from Sandviken.

After having followed the carriage path through a nature reserve, past the quiet small lakes of Nordre and Søndre Bratterudtjønne, the route changes to a more even gravel road. This road eventually becomes the part of the pilgrimage that is going closest to the lake. The walk is pleasant, passing by farms, overlooking the lake and the mountains behind, but at the end I grow a little bit tired of it.

Søndre Bratterudtjønne.

Quiet is the word at Hovin church. The timber church standing here today was consecrated in 1850, but there has been an older one here before, possible dating back to before 1730. It has gotten late, with the clock already having passed eight, and I am wondering about where I will sleep tonight. Not on the church grounds obviously.

A hare on the path.

After having a break at the church, I continue on the pilgrimage path past some farms above the church on what appear to be another old carriage track. Passing by the last farm, I head up into the woods and hills at the same time as the sun is about to set. The path has from the church alternated between paths and gravel tracks.

Walking past farms next to Tinnsjøen.

There is a serene feeling descending upon me when I go up into the woods. Kind of the feeling you get when it is getting late, you are tired, and you know you are getting closer to your destination. While at the same time the walking is pleasant and you feel that you can walk on. The colours of the sky is warm from the setting sun. Getting higher up, the trees are opening up and I could see the evening sun just above the mountains in the west. I look around for places to camp.

Hovin church.

Instead, I push on, having somewhat made up my mind to reach the small lake of Bråtådokktjønn at Ramnskardåsen as a place to pitch my tent for the night. The top of Ramnskardåsen is defined by larger spaces between the trees, a lot of pine trees, with moss, heather and rocky outcrops. Between the trees I spot the small lake.

View of Tinnsjøen above Hovin church.

Enclosed path by vegetation after leaving Hovin.

It is a nice place to camp, a scenic lake in pleasant surroundings, but there is a catch. A hoard of mosquitos and gnats are just as happy to be here as I am. I prepare and eat dinner while the sky is providing some nice colours. At intervals, I feel the need to move a little bit around to escape the attention of the tiny blood suckers.

Light from the setting sun.

In all, quite a good day. The sort of prologue from Gransheard to Tinnoset was pleasant. I was very satisfied with the walk down to Tinnsjøen from Rauadammen, which was both scenic and interesting. The remaining walk to Hovin church was for the most part nice. And it ended with another satisfying walk up into Ramnskardåsen with trees coloured by the setting sun.

The path up into Ramnskardåsen.

I have no idea how far I will go tomorrow, how exciting!


<< Tinnoset // day 1

De Kvite Kyrkjene // day 1 // Gransherad - Tinnoset

De Kvite Kyrkjene pilgrim path, day 1.
Distance: 5.1km (5.1km).

‘De Kvite Kyrkjene’ is a pilgrim path that goes around the Tinnsjø lake in Norway. The main pilgrim objective is to visit the six white churches that are situated around the lake. These are Atrå, Dal, Gransherad, Austbygde, Hovin and Mæl. The entire route is about 90km long. More info about the pilgrim path can be found here.

Gransherad church.

Originally, I was not entirely convinced that this route would provide enough attraction to me to want to do it, but then I decided to give it a try. My biggest concern regarding this pilgrim path was the almost necessarily need to make use of boats to be able to do it in a convenient matter.


The recommended place to start the pilgrimage from is Mæl church, where you are to take a ferry (Storegut) to Tinnoset. From Tinnoset, the first walking stage will take you to Gransherad church. It is here that I get one of the misgivings of this pilgrimage, since you are to walk back again to Tinnoset from the church. And then having to rely on a local boatman to take you to Sandviken as there are no walking paths between there and Tinnoset.

Standing on the disused Tinnosbanen railway, the pilgrim path does not go on the actual railway though.

It is possible to get a key to the churches, but if I was to do this pilgrimage, I decided that I did not want to deal with the additional necessary appointments to retrieve and return the key.

Knitted waymarker of De Kvite Kyrkjene pilgrim path.

Dealing with not wanting to use a boat to get to Sandviken, I had studied the map and located some paths that I could make use of. The problem was that I had to walk a section without a path for this work, in a terrain that on the map appeared to be very cumbersome. Thankfully a solution arrived in the form of my parents who could drive me to another entry point to Sandviken from Tinnoset. They would anyway drive me to my selected starting point at Gransherad church.


After dropping me off at Gransherad church, my parents will drive to Tinnoset to wait for me there. It is about five kilometres for me to walk and since I walk light-weight, I believe I can make it there in about one hour.

Peculiar section of the pilgrim path going through a tunnel underneath the disused railway line, under some sort of maintenance.

The waymark sign of this pilgrim path is a white church. These are found on the trail either on wooden signposts, painted on the trees or rocks or as knitted patches.

Marshland below Nattejuv.

Gransherad church dates back to the Middle Ages, but the present church was consecrated in 1849. For those in need of a last-minute re-supply, there is also a shop here (however, there are more shops later on the pilgrim path). From the church to Tinnoset the pilgrim path follows a locally waymarked route mostly going on good paths, both narrow and broad.

Walking through grass on a field before Nisi.

When arriving at Tinnoset, I have passed underneath the hauntingly named Nattejuv (‘Gorge of the Night’) hill, walking close to a small section of marshland, after a short climb going past a loft getting some views of the other side of the valley due to timber work and passing by the farm of Nisi.

After Nisi farm.

A pleasant walk, but most excitement was found when the path went near the disused railway line of Tinnosbanen. This was once a line used to transport fertilizer to Skien from the fabric Norsk Hydro had at Rjukan, but it was also used for personal transport. It went operational in 1909 but was disused in 1991.

The old Tinnoset railway station.

Tinnoset is where the Storegut ferry is having its terminal. As expected, I only used about an hour, meaning that my parents did not have to wait too long for me. They had spent the time by having lunch and taking a look at the old railway station and ferry terminal. Good thing the weather is nice.


Bråtådokktjønn // day 1 >>

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Gudbrandsdalsleden is the most known of the pilgrim paths in Norway. It begins in Oslo and ends at the tomb of Olav den Hellige in Trondheim or Nidaros. On its way it passes either on the west side (Vestleden) or the east side (Østleden) of Mjøsa, goes through the valley of Gudbrandsdalen, then crossing over the Dovrefjell mountain, before it goes through Trøndelag until it reaches its destination at the migthy Nidarosdomen cathedral. The pilgrim way is about 643km long.

In the autumn of 2020, I did the pilgrimage to Nidaros, walking the Vestleden route from Oslo to Lillehammer, then Gudbrandsdalsleden from there to Trondheim and finally the Østleden route from Lillehammer back to Oslo. Here you will find my tale:

Day   1 (31.08): Sagene - Amtsbrua
Day   2 (01.09): Amtsbrua - Norderhov
Day   3 (02.09): Norderhov - Sløvika
Day   4 (03.09): Sløvika - Høgkorsplassen
Day   5 (04.09): Høgkorsplassen - Kapp
Day   6 (05.09): Kapp - Sveastranda
Day   7 (06.09): Sveastranda - Lillehammer
Day   8 (07.09): Lillehammer - Stalsbergsvea
Day   9 (08.09): Stalsbergsvea - Fåvang
Day 10 (09.09): Fåvang - Sygard Grytting
Day 11 (10.09): Sygard Grytting - Sjåheim
Day 12 (11.09):Sjåheim - Dovreskogen
Day 13 (12.09):Dovreskogen - Furuhauglie
Day 14 (13.09):Furuhauglie - Kongsvoll
Day 15 (14.09):Kongsvoll - Bruvollen
Day 16 (15.09):Bruvollen - Hæverstølen
Day 17 (16.09):Hæverstølen - Stamnan
Day 18 (17.09):Stamnan - Olskastet
Day 19 (18.09):Olskastet - Gumdalen
Day 20 (19.09):Gumdalen - Gaula
Day 21 (20.09):Gaula - Trondheim
Day 22 (21.09):Trondheim / Nidaros
Day 24 (23.09):Brøttum - Rudshøgda
Day 26 (25.09):Domkirkeodden - Tangen
Day 27 (26.09):Tangen - Ljødal
Day 28 (27.09):Ljødal - Dal
Day 29 (28.09):Dal - Arteid
Day 30 (29.09):Arteid - Sagene

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Gudbrandsdalsleden // day 30 // Arteid - Sagene

Gudbrandsdalsleden, Østleden, day 30.
Distance: 45.2km (953.3km).

Rain outside in the bitter morning hours. Good to see on the clock that it is still too early to crawl out of the sleeping bag when I hear it drum lightly on the roof. Is it a bittersweet morning to wake up to when you know it is the last day of a long hike? Maybe, but I also feel that I am ready to come home.

Melancholic fog over the fields from Arteid in the morning.

When I start walking, fog has taken over for the rain. Not much, a melancholy layer that provides its own atmosphere where the trail goes down along a field before it moves into the forest towards Vilbergfjellet.

St. Olavs Gang.

Covered by the thin layer of clouds, I go up into Vilbergfjellet, autumnal colours mixed with green and fog-grey. St. Olavs Gang is a geological gorge that is 200 meters long and 3-4 meters deep. Legend has it that here Olav den Hellige should have sailed so low over the hill that his ship made a depression in it. The route does not go through the gorge, and for those who want to give it a try it will be a wet experience. In the current weather, the place has a somewhat mysterious feel.

Through the misty woods over Vilbergfjellet.

This is the first time I have met a deer lice fly and is an annoyance right away.

Autumn colours in the fog at Lindeberg.

The rest of the walk over the hill is nice, I come out to an even greyer and sadder world, but the autumn colours of the trees and fields make it not as bad as it sounds. Still, it is quickly forgotten when the forest is laid behind me. The walk to Frogner church is not very memorable.

The smaller of the two Frogner churches, this is a medieval brick church from 1180.

Is Frogner church Østleden's answer to Søsterkirkene (‘the Sister Churches’) at Granavollen on Vestleden? Hardly, but there are now two churches here as well. The larger of the two is a wooden church that was built after the previous one burned in 1918. Next to it is the smaller church made of bricks from 1180.

A meandering wet road through a landscape marked by sad weather.

From the churches I cross down between two fields and then a winding and wet road awaits me. The ground is heavy with rain, the asphalt is darker, and the surrounding landscape is heavy. It is a dense greyness that I find myself in, despite that, I am still cheerful at heart. Out of the greyness comes heavy power lines, clouds drift mercilessly through the trees in the surrounding hills, behind me the largest church tower of Frogner church protrudes among yellow trees. The sadness has turned into melancholy.

Frogner church in the background along with autumnal colours that light up the otherwise sad color spectrum.

Oldtidsveien (an ancient road) is followed over Farseggen. The grey weather is hidden from the sides of the trees and shrubs, the walk becomes a little brighter. This is the old road between Skedsmo church and Leirsund, which goes over a narrow clay ridge between two deep ravine valleys. It is unknown how old the road is.


Skedsmo church is as old as the smaller of the two Frogner churches. At this point I have walked a little over 13km, it is still a long way to go, and the world has not become any less grey during that time.

Skedsmo church.

With Skedsmo-krysset (a large well-known junction) and Olavsgaard in sight, the pilgrim way passes by some houses, and then goes through forests and fields. In the air there is light rain and several more of those annoying deer lice flies. At the Åros bridge there is a sign for Nittedal church, which is the first sign for me that I am now approaching my homecoming.

The pilgrim way in autumnal colours between two fields.

Hellerudsletta is perhaps one of the most notorious stretches along the pilgrim way from Oslo. Here, the heavy transport passes by at high speed, while I slightly discouraged walk on in the colourless world. Fortunately, it is not an extremely long stretch.

Autumn trees out in a field.

Normally this would have been unthinkable for me, but on a long hike like this it is not a problem to indulge in lots of food. For lunch, I eat a full kebab dinner at Grytelokket, it goes straight down.

The lunch for today, junk food at Hellerudsletta.

The correct route up into Gjelleråsen in the opposite direction is not easy to find. Finding a route up is easy, but not the pilgrim way, but after finding it, I soon find myself in familiar surroundings. It may not be a long walk over Gjelleråsen, but it is nice and is probably the first proper green part of the pilgrim way you get to when you leave Oslo on Østleden.

View, if it can be called that, from the shelter on Gjelleråsen.

I take a detour out to a shelter that provides a good place to rest with a view over Oslo. There is almost no view to get now however, one can just glimpse buildings from the city below.

The upper bell tower in Gjelleråsen, these were used to notify any travelers at the other end that they were on their way, in order to prevent queues. The ancient road over Gjelleråsmarka was steep and narrow, so oncoming travelers in the opposite road would have had problems being able to pass each other.

Along Oldtidsveien you pass several cultural monuments. Among these are some old bell towers, one upstairs and one downstairs, these were used to warn travellers at the other end that they were on their way. This was because the road was too narrow and steep for travellers to pass each other by if they met in the opposite direction. Here it is also marked with some yellow arrows. The journey goes down through Kongedalen. And then the city borders are right at your feet.

The pilgrim path on the ancient road down Kongedalen.

If the hike is not as exciting after crossing into Oslo, there is more positivity to be found in the sky. The layers of clouds are about to loosen up. This is a part of Oslo that I have not been to before, so it is fun that way. The walk through the city alternates between the relatively peaceful and the noisier where the trail goes near the E6 highway.

Sculpture in Verdensparken ('the World Park').

Just before Østre Aker church, the sun suddenly breaks through the clouds. It is wonderful and it gives me a feeling of arriving in nice weather. The nice light follows me through Ulven, past the sports halls at Valle, next to Fyrstikktorget and through Kampen. Still, I feel a little that Vestleden through Oslo was calmer and more interesting than Østleden. Anyway, now the goal is so close that I am not much affected by it.

A small piece of farm in Oslo.

Then I am at the junction where I took off 29 days ago and started on Vestleden on my journey towards Nidaros. Feel a slightly tingling in the body. And then I enter the gate to the Minneparken and the ruins of Hallvard Cathedral. And is again standing in front of 634km to Trondheim. I am back.

Crow in sunset.

The darkness descends calmly when I take the obligatory contemplative break here at the start and end point of my pilgrimage. Ventilate my mind a bit.

Kampen, Oslo.

However, I am not completely finished with the walk, the last part remains. The charm stage home to your own door. It is an abrupt wake-up call to walk through Grønland, here there is little indication that we are in the middle of a pandemic. After being out on a solitary walk for 30 days, it is a transition to be back in a larger crowd again.

At the finish, back to the start. Arrival at Minneparken after completing Østleden from Lillehammer.

I follow the lights up after Akerselva again, roughly reversing the walk down from the first day. Have to take a small detour and go up Kjærlighetsstien again. It is a beautiful moon over Oslo. Someone I talk to tells me that it will be possible to see the northern lights tonight, but to take the trip out of the city for that I have no plans of now.

Great moon over Oslo on the way home.

After a long hike, it is probably in place with a small celebration. I take it right before I get back to my door. Drinks two beers at Sagene Lunch Bar, and I hope I am forgiven for probably not smelling too good.

Sagene church.

Sagene church is lit up in the dark. And then I walk around the corner of my own block. At the end is my door, the door to the end of my pilgrimage from home and up to Nidaros on Vestleden and Gudbrandsdalsleden, and then home again on Østleden.

I go in, closes the door behind me, feels the heat from my own apartment. And then I smile broadly. I am home again.

The shoes have done their part. After 30 days of hiking, I have walked the pilgrim path to Nidaros. Vestleden and Gudbrandsdalsleden from Oslo to Trondheim. Østleden and Gudbrandsdalsleden from Lillehammer and back to Oslo.

<< Arteid // day 29

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