Far east on the island of Kvitsøy, is a hiking trail that takes you out to a stone cross and the ruin of St. Clemens' Church. The hiking trail starts at the heart of the strait Leiasundet and continues over a ladder stile and onto a pasture. You are essentially hiking with the sheep on their grazing land, so bear that in mind.
St. Clemens' Church Ruin
It was common practice to erect crosses on the land you were to build a church. As St. Clemens' church ruin is only 200 meters from the stone cross, it is natural to see the stone cross and the church ruins in the same context. The church was dedicated to the patron of sailors, St. Clemens, and is considered the first sailors' church in Norway. St. Clemens' Church is mentioned in a papal letter to Munkeliv monastery in Bergen in 1146, where Kvitsøy at that time went under the name of Aumar. It is believed, however, that the church was built sometime prior to this. The church was built of stone and was a fairly small church. The ruins of St. Clemens' Church are less visible today. The baptismal font that stands in Kvitsøy church today is the original baptismal font from St. Clemens' Church and is a well-preserved cultural monument which together with the stone cross and St. Clemens' church ruin represents the early Christian era in Norway.
The stone cross
The stone cross by the Leiasundet strait rises almost four meters above the ground and is Kvitsøy's most famous ancient monument. The cross is easily visible from the shipping lane and has throughout the ages been an important sailing mark and had the function of a harbour cross. No one knows for sure when the cross was erected, but it is probably at least 1,000 years old. English missionaries may have erected the cross as early as the 10th century. Snorre tells in the Snorri saga that the famous Vikings Erling Skjalgsson and Olav Haraldsson made litigation on the island of Kvitsøy in 1016. Most likely this litigation took place next to the stone cross.