I want to send a big THANKS to all the farmers that are working every day to decorate the fjords. If it hadn´t been for the farmers and all their farm animals, the landscape surrounding the fjords wouldn´t have been so beautiful as it is today.
There are some pictures at the bottom of this article, pictures of grazing animals, and of the beautiful cultural fjord landscape. These pictures would not exist if it hadn´t been for the farmers and their farm animals. For generations they have worked so hard to survive in the harsh Norwegian nature.
The Aurlandsdalen Valley
An example is the wild and beautiful Aurlandsdalen Valley by the Sognefjord. Most of the farms in the Aurlandsdalen Valley were abandoned between year 1875 and 1907 AD, and many of them emigrated to America to become farmers and start a new life over there. The life was too hard for the people living in the valley.
You can still see the well preserved mountain farms in the valley today. Despite the farms were deserted more than 100 years ago, they have since been restored by their new owners, and in summer you can still see animals grazing in the beautiful valley. The Aurlandsdalen Valley are now one of Norway´s most popular hiking trails.
Nedbergo and Stigen farms above the Aurlandsfjord in Sogn, and Skageflå and Knivsflå farms at Geiranger in Sunnmøre are other beautiful abandoned mountain farms that you can see from the fjords. For me it is unbelievable that people had the imagination to even think about establishing farms in those places.
Nedbergo Mountain Farm
Nedbergo Mountain Farm, 530 meters above the Aurlandsfjord in Vestland, was actually a perfect place to have a farm. The place had more sun than the farms down by the fjords, and the people living there were quite wealthy.
They even had reserved the foremost benches in the local church. They had to cross the Aurlandsfjord to Undredal on the other side to go to church. If they were delayed due to weather or other conditions, the others used to wait until those from Nedbergo arrived before the worship service could start.
Knivsflå in Geiranger
Knivsflå is another mountain farm, further north at Sunnmøre in Møre og Romsdal. The abandoned mountain farm is situated on a small plateau beside the Seven Sisters Waterfall, 250 meters above the UNESCO World Heritage protected Geirangerfjord.
In year 1898 AD, the authorities decided that Knivsflå had to be abandoned due to the danger of rock avalanche from the steep mountains above the farm.
During 100 years, avalanches killed six people at Knivsflå. The last one who died was Oline Marte, 15 years old. On the way home from the mountain pasture, she took a shortcut across the river above the Seven Sisters Waterfall. With the milk from the mountain pasture in her hands, she fell down the steep cliff and died.
The Mountain Farms today
Today, many of these farms are maintained by volunteers with small funds. The farmers around the fjords are fewer, and the cultural landscape is less maintained than before.
I mean that the authorities should support and pay the farmers for the job they do to maintain the cultural landscape.
An example of well spent money is the National Tourist Routes project in Norway. It is expected that the costs will be 3.2 billion Norwegian Kroner for this project, money used on maintenance, design and architecture on 18 selected roads in Norway.
As great as this is, I wish the authorities could also reward the farmers, and support those who do “the everyday job” by decorating the fjords. Below you can see some great photos and a video of farm animals and cultural landscapes. I am grateful that the farmers and the livestock in Western Norway have created these beautiful backdrops. So I send a huge THANK YOU to the farmers and the farm animals for the fantastic job they do!