Norway’s longest continuous stone steps were built in 2017, with a staggering 2,212 steps up to the top of the spectacular Rørsethornet (659 metres above sea level) in Midsund. Project manager Kolbjørn Ove Stølen is now planning to ‘step up’ this Norwegian record, so that there will be a total of 3,500 continuous stone steps to the summit.

In this little island paradise in Northwest, Sherpas from Nepal have also built stone steps up to the lofty summits of Digergubben, Bløkallen and Midsundhornet, and part of the way up to the top of Akslahornet. This project is known in the municipality as Midsundtrappene (the Midsund steps), which together will comprise more than 9,000 steps by the time the project is finished. Stølen estimates that the final price will come to around NOK 30 million, including the steps and parking facilities and other necessary facilities.

National attraction between the sky and the sea

Hiking up the Midsund steps has become a popular activity among locals and visitors alike. ‘More than 50,000 visits were registered from May to December 2019,’ Stølen says.

‘What makes the Midsund steps a unique experience is the special view and the feeling you get at the top of the mountains, way out at the ocean’s edge,’ says project manager Stølen.
‘Hiking between the fjord, sky and mountains makes for a unique experience in itself. A number of buildings will also be built that will make this a national attraction,’ says Stølen.

Carry rocks weighing hundreds of kilos

Blocks of rock weighing more than one tonne each are taken from the mountains in Midsund and transported to the Sherpas by helicopter. They then work the blocks into the path. ‘The Sherpas’ work is very impressive and will bring pleasure to people for hundreds of years,’ says Stølen. ‘It’s easy to be impressed by the Sherpas’ strength and technique as they handle the huge blocks of rock.’

Rørsethornet

The hike up the long steps to Rørsethornet (659 metres above sea level) gets your pulse going and can make you breathless if you’re hiking at a quick pace and are afraid of heights. But when you get to the top, you can enjoy 360-degree views far out to sea. The sunset from the top of Rørsethornet is also well worth seeing. As is the sunrise. There are several picnic areas and viewpoints along the way to the top, including Sherpanakken. You can also walk on to Ræstadhornet from Rørsethornet. The hike is signposted and has a large car park at the end of the steps in Rakvåg.

Digergubben and Midsundhornet

The hike to Digergubben (527 metres above sea level) and to Midsundhornet (483 metres above sea level) are in steep terrain that starts in the centre of Midsund. The steps nonetheless mean that most people can do this hike. The path starts at the bridge across Bakkeelva river, which is signposted from the road. When you get to the forest, you see the steps winding their way beautifully up through the forest and scree. You can turn left at Midsundvannet lake and continue on up to Digergubben, or turn right up to Midsundhornet. Stølen recommends hiking to both peaks if you’re in this area, andif you’re used to hiking in the mountains and are in good shape, you could also do the hike to Klausethornet (669 metres above sea level).

This hike is said to be the nicest in Midsund

The hike up Bløkallen is said to be the loveliest of all the hikes in Midsund, and its gentle ascent means that everyone can do it. The 1,400 steps to the top of Bløkallen take you 522 metres above sea level. The hike starts in the north-west part of Blø. You pass two fishing lakes on the way up, Bløvatnet and Stordalsvatnet. The last 100 metres in elevation from Bløvatnet lake and up to the summit are on a good, dry path.

The shortest of the Midsund-steps

At just 500 steps, the walk up Mount Aksla is on the shortest set of stone steps in Midsund. The starting point for the walk is north-east of the football pitch, and it makes for a lovely evening walk. There are fantastic views of the sunset, Vigra and northwards from the top of Aksla. It’s also possible to walk from Mount Aksla across Akslahorn and on to Digergubben. The hike across Akslahorn and on to Digergubben is slightly more challenging and takes you past several mountain ledges that are secured by chains and steel steps. You should not therefore bring small children and dogs if you want to do this hike from the top of Aksla.

Record speed

The stone steps up to Digergubben were completed in record time back in 2016. ‘Project planning started in February 2016, and 1,600 steps and flagstones had already been put in place up to the top of Digergubben by October of that year. That’s a record in Norway when it comes to the number of steps per season,’ says Stølen. ‘The skilled Sherpas have also built picnic areas and viewpoints along the path, which really make the walks a wonderful experience.’

Built by professionals

It was Stølen’s idea to bring in specialists from Nepal to renew the popular walking paths in Midsund. ‘I was inspired by a TV programme that showed what the fantastic Sherpas from Nepal had done other places in Norway,’ Stølen says. Similar steps have also been built up to Nesaksla in Rauma. ‘It’s great to see the enthusiasm and passion the Sherpas have for their work. They’re professionals who really know what they’re doing,’ he concludes.