Exploring the Kingsroad

Round-trip Otrøvann

Facts

Duration
2,5 hours
Distance
7,7 km
Difficulty
Medium
Suitable for
Alle
Available periods
Sommer (vandring), vinter (ski)

Description

The trip around beautiful lake Otrøvatn is partly a cultural trail with focus on ancient iron production.

Filefjell was also an important iron production area.'

Around Otrøvatnet alone, 17 iron production facilities and 80 charcoal pits have been discovered within a radius of 500 metres. These were in use during various periods between year 0 and year 1200.

There are also traces of iron mining by lake Smeddalsvatnet further west (the Lærdal side) – as the name Smeddalen (smith valley) indicates.

The Otrøvann round-trip can be found along the Tyinkrysset–Kyrkjestølen section, and the trail may be difficult in places.

 

CULTURAL HERITAGE TRAIL

On the southern side of Otrøvatnet, there is a cultural heritage trail leading past the iron production sites, charcoal pits, and old foundations.

This production was profitable for Valdres during the Iron Age:

As Archaeologist Espen Finstad writes on outtt.com:

– There were many people involved in the iron production. Charcoal pits had to be dug, wood had to be chopped, furnaces had to be built, bog ore had to be taken out, and lots more. During certain periods it is likely that several farms co-operated, either to produce for own use or to sell. The work may also have been administrated centrally by chieftains, and later by the king and the church. Farmers, and even slaves, may have made up the workforce.

Some researchers believe that the iron production was run by specialists, and that not just anyone could do this.

 

RED SAND

Stop by the ski centre, and leave your car there. Then follow Gamlestøgovegen for 700 m along Otrøvatn, until you are in line with the islet.

On the left hand side of the road, by a small stream, there is a sign indicating the starting point of the cultural heritage trail (Kulturminneløypa). Cross the stream via the footbridge, and continue along the stream for approx. 50 metres where you will see the first sign.

From there, the route is easy to follow – first across some wetland on a pathway made of logs.

One site is called Raude Sanden (red sand), a name deriving from the stream turning red from bog ore.

Food and accommodation are available at Kyrkjestølen, or at Tyinkrysset Fjellstue and Filefjellstuene.