Old Sheep Track.
mountains of Rogaland, Ryfylkeheiene, you find many old sheep tracks. Many are
still in use, but some are forgotten. The drovers take the sheep from the
lowlands up to the grazing land in the mountains for the summer.
mountain farm, Viglesdalen, has always been a farm having wide grazing land in
the mountains. Many different routes lead to those pastures. The same sheep
tracks have been used for hundreds of years.
sheep track along the Lake of Viglesdalen,
Viglesdalsvatnet, was built in 1912.
Before that, the track started at Bergaland in Årdal, went further on up the
hills of Bergaland and Rivjaland, up to Tverrgjøvlet and then to Steggjadalen.
route started at Åse, went down the valley of Rausdalen to Viglesdalen. On this
route however,they had to cross the river Storånå, and this was no joke at
autumn time. Droves of sheep have
also been taken along Tysdalsvatnet and up the hills of Hia, and from there to Steggjadalen. The border of Viglesdalen today is Musdalen, Nlisebuvatnet,
Storhidlervatnet along the mountains
at Stakken and out to Uførdalen towards Hia.
let's have a look at one of the old sheep tracks in this area, the route from
Viglesdalen to Krokeholet.
time a mountain pasture for temporary farming in Krokeholet belonged to the farm
getting on, and the sheep are to be taken to the mountains. The drove must get
ready. Every sheep shall have a painted mark on the wool. They shall also have a
bell. Medicines against intestinal worms shall be given. The sheep that are not
quite well, have to stay at home. Every sheep has an ear mark, together with ear
clips with the number and name of the farm.
drove is ready to leave, the sheep are loaded into a special truck for sheep,
and they are taken to Nes. In the past they had to be driven to Nes by
foot, but it's good both for sheep and drovers to get a lift part of the route.
everyone starts on foot on the old track. Within three hours the drove comes to
Viglesdalen. From here the track is very steep, climbing up Benkjene.
Coming to the top, you will see Steggjadalen with the little cabin and the
sheepfold. A long break with coffee and a rest is needed, maybe a stay
farmers having their grazing land by Nilsebuvatnet, usually drive together. But
sometimes each farmer goes with his own drove in the springtime.
sheep are left at Longåsen. Very soon they will find their own way to the same
place as they grazed last year.
sheep have been taken to the mountains like this for generations, knowledge
given from father to son.
and Ole Kristian have followed the sheep drove to the mountains since they were
is used to the mountains, can remember the first time when Ole Kristian joined
the drove. He had to cling to a rope from Per's backpack to manage the
steepest parts of the track.
The sheep are left alone in the mountains until September. The owners take a walk to the pastures now and then during summertime to see if any sheep hasn't got stocked in the mountains.
then, in September, the gathering of sheep starts.
and Ole Kristian have got their own herd little by little. Kjeld comes from
Denmark to take part in the gathering. He loves sheep's turd and wet woollen
stockings. He has sheep at home in Denmark, and he wants to see how they are
kept in Norway. " Norway is a grazing land." (Jon
doesn't keep sheep, but likes to walk in the mountains. He doesn't get peace of
mind the whole winter if he doesn't get this walk to Urdalen in the autumn.
Ottar is the oldest one, and he has followed the drove of sheep for forty years.
He has seen an unbelievable lot of, "Finnskjegg ", (spikenard, Nardus
This gang start the gathering of sheep together. Each person chooses one part of the grazing land to seek for the sheep. When he finds some, he drives them down to the narrow valley, Krokeholet. One of the drovers have to sit at the most narrow point down to Krokeholet to look after the sheep to prevent them from coming up again. Kjeld has been a master of that. Therefore this place is called " Danskestredet,"(Denmark Strait).
|And then they move down Slengjen and towards the sheepfold in Steggjadalen. Here the drovers and the sheep take a rest. The sheep lie down in the fold . In the little cabin the gang is making the traditional dinner from stockfish, onion, bacon and potatoes. Soon they lie down, too.|
|The next day the drovers are looking for possibly missing sheep. One of the drovers takes the main drove of sheep down to Viglesdalen. Sheep and drovers arrive little by little during the day. The drovers sleep in the shepherds' cabin this night. Early next morning the drove goes down along the Vigledalsvatnet to Nes, and here the sheep are pushed into the sheepfold where they are separated and taken into each owner's fold. With this tradition Hallvard and Ole Kristian are grown up. Will they go on using the Old Sheep Track ? A new millennium has come.||
A new millennium with
new thoughts and new ideas has arrived.