Fløya is my last walk in the Lofoten Islands, before boarding the Hurtigruten (coastal cruise liner) for our trip back south to Bergen. Directly to the north of Svolvaer, the Fløya mountain overshadows the town and attracts hikers and climbers.
It was one of the rare days during our stay in Norway where the weather was pretty miserable. We’d returned our hire car, so my hike started with a 2km walk from the centre of town; it’s overcast but not raining. I reach the church graveyard at the north end of Svolvaer on Blåtindveien after less than half an hour, and quickly find the start of the walk, which is after the last house on Blåtindveien.
The trails ascends fairly rapidly, with some short and steep sections aided by chains, and a bit of boulder-climbing or hopping required. It’s not difficult, but it is a bit slow-going on a wet and slippery track, with the rain having now started.
The trail is always well-marked as it rises through the birch forest, and within half an hour views of Svolvaer start to emerge. I’ve only seen one person so far, making a hasty descent as the rain threatens to intensify.
As the route continues above the tree-line, it gets muddier and steeper. The track often traverses broad sections of mud and goes up slippery and steep slabs of rock that require care. There are clear views of Svolværgeita or “The Svolvær Goat” – Lofoten’s most famous mountain formation. Climbers leap 1.5 metres between the two goat “horns” – you can see these at the top-left corner of the photo below.
The weather deteriorates as I climb the last – and steepest – section of the trail to the saddle below the summit (540m). To the left is the Fløya summit (590m), another 50m or so higher. (Somewhere below me and to the left is Djevelporten or “Devil’s gate”, a stone block wedged horizontally between two cliffs, that’s a popular photo stop. I meet a trio of hikers just before the summit who also missed this landmark. I’m not sure if there was another track up the mountain I overlooked, but the poor weather precludes further exploration.)
With the rain getting heavier and the wind picking up, it’s too dangerous to find a safe route up the last, very steep – and very slippery – slabs of rock to the true Fløya peak.
Instead I turn right (south-west) and follow the very narrow ridge. It’s about a metre in width with a vertical drop of hundreds of metres on both sides. A little hair-raising but the views in both directions are impressive. Some short breaks in the rain allow me to take a few more photos – on a clear day it would be an awe-inspiring view!
After waiting on the saddle for about half an hour for the rain to ease, I give up and make my way down the mountain. It’s easier going down than up – but still very slow-going as the track is even more slippery than before.
As I reach the foot of the mountain, the rain stops and the sun starts to come out again…
Staying near Fløya
The start of the Fløya is within walking distance of Svolvae. We didn’t stay here, as we were leaving on the Hurtigruten cruise in the evening. This is the end of our ten day trip through Senja and the Lofoten Islands. There’s lots of accommodation options in Svolvaer, although it doesn’t have the charm of the many smaller villages we’ve stayed at.