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Snorri Sturlasson warned seafarers about this stretch of coast as early as the 13th century. One of the largest shipwrecks we know of is the full rigger "Ingermanland", which ran aground off the southern coast of Norway in 1842. The wreck drifted westwards and sank off Hårr. There were 892 people on board. 389 died. 503 were rescued.

Today, you can visit the captain's boat Giggen, which drifted ashore, in a separate museum at Kvassheim lighthouse. There you can see the beautiful and easily rowed boat that was used by the captain of the "Ingermanland". You can also learn more about the ship's history, crew and fate.

Giggen came to the Jæren coast

On Tuesday 13 September 1842, the captain's representative boat reached the Jæren coast. This was a long, slender and easily rowed gig. The skippers went out and got the gig ashore to the Årsland farm. There were still ten people alive on board. Three of them died on Årsland before a doctor arrived.

Before the survivors of the gig left Årsland, they helped to carry their dead compatriots to their graves at the Varhaug Old Cemetery. According to the priest's entry in the church book, a total of nine people from "Ingermanland" were buried that day. The priest would not attend to perform the burial ritual and throw soil over the grave, probably because the dead did not belong to the Protestant church. One of the Russian survivors said a few words at the grave.

In 1966, the Varhaug parish council erected a memorial stone to the nine dead from "Ingermanland" at the Varhaug cemetery. The headstone has this text: "If no one knows where the grave is, they will each be commemorated by this memorial stone".

The wreck of "Ingermanland"

The wreck of the "Ingermanland" was observed off Hårr on the evening of Friday 16 September. During the night, the wreck must have sunk so much that the mizzen mast drifted loose. The following day, it was found floating ashore at Hå vicarage and sold at auction. According to tradition, there are still remains of "Ingermanland" on the seabed, a little southwest of Hårr.

The gig's new life

After the shipwreck, the gig was sold at auction. Consul Jacob Sømme from Stavanger bought the 9.5-metre-long boat and brought it to the city. In 1868, rowers from Stavanger took first prize in their class in the big rowing regatta in Stavanger with the gig from "Ingermanland".

In 1873, the gig became the property of Stavanger municipality. Alexander L. Kielland is said to have used the gig when, as mayor, he welcomed Otto Sverdrup who came from the North Pole voyage with the "Fram" in 1902. In 2005, Hå municipality took over the gig from Stavanger municipality after input from Jæren Kystlag. The gig has now been moved to its final location in a separate building at Kvassheim lighthouse.


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