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Planning for the St. Olav Ways

Time of past OR future Camino
Partly 4 of the 9 St.Olavsways in Norway
Hi, I am Toralf and I work for the Regional Pilgrim Center Trondheim in Norway. I want to make a thread where i give you our best resources for learning, planning and hiking along one of the nine St. Olav Ways in Norway. Questions are welcome

1. Where do i start?
Visit pilegrimsleden.no/en or stolavways.com. Get inspired and learn more about the Norwegian St. Olav Ways, also called "pilegrimsleden" in Norwegian.

2. Which of the St. Olav Ways are the right one for me?
Visit "explore the paths" on pilegrimsleden.no. This page describe the differences between the St. Olav Ways in norway. We recommend each pilgrim to find out what suits them self the best! by 2022, the Gudbrandsdalsleden and the St. Olavsleden have the most developed infrastructure and recive over 90% of the pilgrims in Norway. The remainding routes are less developed, and will demand more planning. The St. Olav Way that's closest to my heart personally is the Østerdalsleden. The Østerdalsleden is not for everyone. I only reconmend this Østerdalsleden to the more experienced outdoorsman.

3. Our Digital Map! Spend time getting to know this tool
My favorite tool is the Digital map! All the information about accommodation, transport, food, cultural heritage sites, churches, benches and so on is on our digital map. The GPS function up in the right corner is also a life-saver while hiking.

4. Seasons in Norway. Because Snow
The main season is from June to August. But it is quite nice to hike in Norway in the autum. So September and October is also an option. Many hostels close in october, so watch out for that.

Be mindfull when planning your journey to the spring. The snow in Norway useally melt in May. But in the forrest and on the mountains the snow can lay long in to June. The mountainpass over Dovre is closed until the snow melt. If needed one can skip Dovrefjell by train.

5. What do I wear in Norway
look here: preperation and equipments. In Norway we have a saying: "det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær" - translated: “There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing". Norway have all the seasons. Mid summer in the mountains one can experience, Rain, Sun, Wind and Snow on a single day. So be prepared.

6. More to read and learn!
 
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How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Hi, I am Toralf and I work for the Regional Pilgrim Center Trondheim in Norway. I want to make a thread where i give you our best resources for learning, planning and hiking along one of the nine St. Olav Ways in Norway.
Toralf, Thank you for sharing these resources about the St Olavs Ways in Norway. I do understand that you are coming at this with a very specific focus on Norway. But I think a thread that asks
Which of the St. Olav Ways are the right one for me?
really needs to contemplate the S:t Olavsleden and St Olav Waterway routes across Sweden and from Finland as well as those specifically in Norway. Forum members interested in these routes can find information at https://stolavsleden.com/, https://stolavwaterway.com/en/, and https://www.nordicpilgrim.com/ just as some of the many resources covering these routes.
 

woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Welcome Toralf to the forum!
Thank you for such a great post and all the great info.

Norway is so beautiful I spent a month there 50 years ago i would love to visit again before i pop my clogs and walk one of the Saint Olav ways!
Are there any of the paths that you would consider suitable for someone who has a severe sight impairment?
( that's if you have any experience of visually impaired walkers on the paths, i travel alone)

I can sort navigation with your GPs track(s) and my OSMAND app(has voice navigation) accommodation infrastructure needs to be pretty good should be no problem for me once i have a path to walk.

My question is regarding terrain along the paths.
It's not really about how much effort is involved in walking up and down hills my question is really about "whats under my feet" that is my main concern!!!

Are there any of the paths; where you can walk without scrambling or really rocky paths (i know this is rural Norway so a big ask I would be prepared to skip bad stages) but i would like to walk a fairly long one if possible!)

Selånger - Stiklestad - Trondheim what about this one?​


The videos below are the sort of thing i managed I hope they help:)
Thank you and all the best
Woody
Edit I should add Tusen Takk to my post as only Norwegian i learned while there!
(Shameful really when lost on my motorcycle i was getting directions from 10 year old kids in perfect English)
 

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filly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
Here I am on St Olav’s day after the celebration mass in Trondheim Cathedral! (Nidarosdomen) 29 July 2019

I really enjoyed the Gudbrandsdalsleden. The route marking was excellent but there are a few demanding and isolated stretches. I cannot imagine hiking this without a tent and gas boiler plus food. There were a few mighty storms and I just had to hunker down...

Some of the accommodation has very few spaces. However, water was never an issue.

Crossing the lake from Kapp on the longest continuous in-service paddle steamer to Moelv was a highlight!

I hiked in July for longer days and memorable strawberries...

The welcome was fabulous throughout. Resourcefulness is required though.

Some sensational private accommodation where the door was simply unlocked, with food to hand, sometimes even a washing machine, and an ‘honesty’ box.
 

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filly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
Erratum.... the ferry went to Hamar rather than Moelv (which you hike to anyroads).

I should have spent some time there and definitely visited the Railway Museum.
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
Partly 4 of the 9 St.Olavsways in Norway
Hi, thank you for pointing this out!
Toralf, Thank you for sharing these resources about the St Olavs Ways in Norway. I do understand that you are coming at this with a very specific focus on Norway. But I think a thread that asks

really needs to contemplate the S:t Olavsleden and St Olav Waterway routes across Sweden and from Finland as well as those specifically in Norway. Forum members interested in these routes can find information at https://stolavsleden.com/, https://stolavwaterway.com/en/, and https://www.nordicpilgrim.com/ just as some of the many resources covering these routes.
The St. Olav Ways crosses all of the Nordic countries, and the National Pilgrim Center in Norway are contantly developing the relations with our neighbours. My speciality is the St. Olav Ways in Norway, but yes, it is very important to note the different sources of information in all of Scandinavia.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Partly 4 of the 9 St.Olavsways in Norway
Welcome Toralf to the forum!
Thank you for such a great post and all the great info.

Norway is so beautiful I spent a month there 50 years ago i would love to visit again before i pop my clogs and walk one of the Saint Olav ways!
Are there any of the paths that you would consider suitable for someone who has a severe sight impairment?
( that's if you have any experience of visually impaired walkers on the paths, i travel alone)

I can sort navigation with your GPs track(s) and my OSMAND app(has voice navigation) accommodation infrastructure needs to be pretty good should be no problem for me once i have a path to walk.

My question is regarding terrain along the paths.
It's not really about how much effort is involved in walking up and down hills my question is really about "whats under my feet" that is my main concern!!!

Are there any of the paths; where you can walk without scrambling or really rocky paths (i know this is rural Norway so a big ask I would be prepared to skip bad stages) but i would like to walk a fairly long one if possible!)

Selånger - Stiklestad - Trondheim what about this one?​


The videos below are the sort of thing i managed I hope they help:)
Thank you and all the best
Woody
Edit I should add Tusen Takk to my post as only Norwegian i learned while there!
(Shameful really when lost on my motorcycle i was getting directions from 10 year old kids in perfect English)

I have little knowledge about the field of sight impairment. Norway has a lot of terrain and can be difficult to walk for people. If i am going to reconmend a path in norway (and Sweden) for you, it will be the St. Olavsleden from Selonger to Stiklestad to Trondheim, But take the "outher path" by the fjord. Not the innland path from Stiklestad.

The surface is mainly gravle roads, asfalt roads and sidewalks along this path. BUT there will always be some legs on smaler trails where i would assume you will get some trubble. The surface is not of the same standard as along the caminos in Spain.
 

michal.don

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte 2022
Hello Toralf,
Thanks for your post, I haven't been aware of these scandinavian routes, interesting thing to learn about! I did the SdC camino this year, and I've been to Norway, Sweden and Finland a couple of times (for non-pilgrimage reasons though :) ) and I loved the nature there.
It must be a beautiful walk, I suspect that the financial difficulty will be quite steeply different from the spanish ones though, especially the accomodation.
Could you, please, tell me just a ballpark estimate, how much can staying one night somewhere cost? I'm pretty sure the camino usual 8-15 euro for a bed won't be enough in Norway.... :)
Thanks,
Michal.don
 
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woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
I have little knowledge about the field of sight impairment. Norway has a lot of terrain and can be difficult to walk for people. If i am going to reconmend a path in norway (and Sweden) for you, it will be the St. Olavsleden from Selonger to Stiklestad to Trondheim, But take the "outher path" by the fjord. Not the innland path from Stiklestad.

The surface is mainly gravle roads, asfalt roads and sidewalks along this path. BUT there will always be some legs on smaler trails where i would assume you will get some trubble. The surface is not of the same standard as along the caminos in Spain
Thank you Toralf i had gone through all the paths and yes the outer route made sense to me as the one to choose! Well it will be summer of 2024 when i walk so have plenty of time to plan; next summer 2023 i walk the Frances!
Do you have a GPXor KML for the whole of the path linked to your digital map so i can put it my Osmand app?
I have found a GPX for the Swedish section courtesy of Dougfitz's post but not the Norwegian side!
Woody
 

woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Could you, please, tell me just a ballpark estimate, how much can staying one night somewhere cost? I'm pretty sure the camino usual 8-15 euro for a bed won't be enough in Norway.... :)
Thanks,
Michal.don
Michal found this in Toralfs post!
Doesn't answer the one night question you asked but :

In many accommodations you are served breakfast and dinner, but this varies from place to place. Not all accommodations can be paid by credit card. It is therefore recommended to bring with you around 3000 NOK in smaller notes. (about £245) which is just emergency money!

I have been looking on various related sites and it appears around about £30
but i just used google search so could be wrong!
All i know is Scandanavia is expensive in 1974 a single whisky was around £2.50!

Woody
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Partly 4 of the 9 St.Olavsways in Norway
Hello Toralf,
Thanks for your post, I haven't been aware of these scandinavian routes, interesting thing to learn about! I did the SdC camino this year, and I've been to Norway, Sweden and Finland a couple of times (for non-pilgrimage reasons though :) ) and I loved the nature there.
It must be a beautiful walk, I suspect that the financial difficulty will be quite steeply different from the spanish ones though, especially the accomodation.
Could you, please, tell me just a ballpark estimate, how much can staying one night somewhere cost? I'm pretty sure the camino usual 8-15 euro for a bed won't be enough in Norway.... :)
Thanks,
Michal.don
Hi, thank you for this important question

Pricerange vary a lot and I do not have the full picture. I belive the price for a single bed can range between NOK 250 - 400. Excluded breackfast. About 25 - 40 euro.

Notice that the accommodations in Norway are a lot smaler. It is hard to compete with the prices along the caminos in Spain. Pilgrims most often feel that the price is fair due to the wonderfull service and enviorment the sleep in. Traditional farms, old mountain hotells and more!
 

michal.don

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte 2022
Pricerange vary a lot and I do not have the full picture. I belive the price for a single bed can range between NOK 250 - 400. Excluded breackfast. About 25 - 40 euro.
Thanks for your answer! That's not too bad, based on my experiences in Norway I was afraid it might be double or triple this amount.... :)
Alright then, the selection of the next camino got even more complicated now :D
Thanks again,
Michal.don
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Pricerange vary a lot and I do not have the full picture. I belive the price for a single bed can range between NOK 250 - 400. Excluded breackfast. About 25 - 40 euro.
This is complicated, but my observation is that not everywhere has the equivalent of an albergue dormitory, and I often had to book a hut, such as in a campground, and that would have two or four bunks. I didn't have a travelling companion, so that drove up the average price.

Generally I found the accommodation information published by the Norse and Swedish pilgrim offices to be excellent. It included price information, so there wasn't any rude surprises on this score. It appears the pilgrim offices continue to expand the accommodation networks along the different routes, so it is important to use the most recent lists they have published rather than rely on guidebooks for this information.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Do you have a GPXor KML for the whole of the path linked to your digital map so i can put it my Osmand app?
I cannot remember where I found the GPS route information from when I walked in 2012, but at least the two Oslo to Trondheim routes were covered, so I expect that @PilgrimCenterTrondheim should be able to point you to the current sources.
 

filly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
As a U.K. resident, I can assure you all that it is seriously expensive! Especially alcohol!!

My fabulous Hilleberg Swedish tent paid for itself (800 euros).

Worth every Kronor though...
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Partly 4 of the 9 St.Olavsways in Norway
Thanks for your answer! That's not too bad, based on my experiences in Norway I was afraid it might be double or triple this amount.... :)
Alright then, the selection of the next camino got even more complicated now :D
Thanks again,
Michal.don
As dougfitz pointet out. there wil be days where renting a single bed will be unavailable. That will drive up the prices significantly.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Partly 4 of the 9 St.Olavsways in Norway
Thank you Toralf i had gone through all the paths and yes the outer route made sense to me as the one to choose! Well it will be summer of 2024 when i walk so have plenty of time to plan; next summer 2023 i walk the Frances!
Do you have a GPXor KML for the whole of the path linked to your digital map so i can put it my Osmand app?
I have found a GPX for the Swedish section courtesy of Dougfitz's post but not the Norwegian side!
Woody

I trust you know your own abillities and limitations well. Looking forward to see you in Trondheim in 2024 ;)

Sadly the Norwegian pilegrimsleden.no do not have a GPX file for the St. Olavsleden, only for the Gudbrandsdalsleden at the moment. Luckily the Swedish page Stolavsleden.com have the file you are looking for. https://stolavsleden.com/maps/
 

woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
I trust you know your own abillities and limitations well. Looking forward to see you in Trondheim in 2024 ;)
Sadly the Norwegian pilegrimsleden.no do not have a GPX file for the St. Olavsleden, only for the Gudbrandsdalsleden at the moment. Luckily the Swedish page Stolavsleden.com have the file you are looking for.

Thanks for your reply and help Toralf!

Regarding my limitations i won't know until i try to walk the Olavsleden; I have walked a Camino so have some idea of what i might have to overcome on my next one!

By June 2024 i will have planned /learned all that i can about the Olavsladen without taking that first physical step;after that it's adventure!
If it gets to difficult i am in an amazingly beautiful place to have a great holiday :)

I have that Track!!!!

Yesterday the link above was the one I found ; I only downloaded the GPX track onto OSMAND app on my mobile ;at the time it only covered 126 km and not the full path so thought it was just the Swedish side! (tried several times with no luck)

This morning I installed same track on my Samsung tablet and this time there it is all 578 km so now good to go!
All the best and have a good Christmas.

Woody
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Are there any of the paths that you would consider suitable for someone who has a severe sight impairment?
@woody66, this is perhaps best answered by observing that the two St Olavs Ways that I have walked had sections that were challenging to a person with normal sight. In terms of the Australian Walking Track Grading System I would classify these as at least Grade 3 walks, tending towards Grade 4. I have been trying to recollect whether all of these difficult sections had useful alternatives, such as a stretch of major road a sighted walker would otherwise avoid or a cycling alternative. I think most must have had at least a cycling alternative of some sort or other.

The range of track types is far greater than I found on the Camino de Santiago routes I have walked. There is far more narrow dirt track, effectively little more than a single footprint wide. If you have done much walking in the UK, you might be familiar with this type of walking track on more remote walks, It goes from there up to walking on the verges of major roads, including some sections of the E roads.

There were also places where I found signposting, or the lack of it, a challenge. Part of this is that in many places the St Olavs Way marker is quite small, about 25mm square, and is placed on what I would call tall garden stakes, and that can blend in well with the background until one is quite close to it. There are larger signs that might have been 75mm or so square, and these were fixed to a similar width stake fixed into the ground, or a short length of wooden board and hung from a tree branch or the like. These were more easily seen.

I took the inner route from Stiklestad, so I cannot offer you anything specific about the outer route.

All the best in planning a route that you will be able to undertake. I clearly expect that there will be useful alternatives to these more challenging sections that you will be able to use, even if I haven't personally explored these.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
@woody66, this is perhaps best answered by observing that the two St Olavs Ways that I have walked had sections that were challenging to a person with normal sight.
I have walked all of the ST Olavsleden and the southern half of the Gudbrandsdalsleden. I would second what @dougfitz has said. Large parts of these routes are on narrow "unimproved" trails - often barely discernable on the ground and potentially quite hazardous in the forest sections where there are many large rocks, tree roots and other obstacles. There are also a few steep sections over uneven ground.
 

woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Hi Dougfitz!
Thank you for such an informative and helpful post.
I am limited/reliant on my walk by the accuracy of the GPX track as even on Camino i missed lots of markers if it packs up i still have my mobile.
(i scan constantly but only have to be a couple of inches out and the arrow/marker is not there. Sitting in front of my screen now and looking directly at A _______B is not visible to me! and no sight in right eye)
But as the saying goes in the Kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king; that's me :)

I have followed this Italian guys video and others of the Olavsleden and there are several points where he goes of road on narrow woodland tracks. (
)
That immediately made me think i cant do that bit light levels changed to quite low and if raining would be problematic.

For me light is crucial.
On the Spiritual way on videos the Route of Stone and Water was meant to be the highlight of my Camino however it was so much darker than i could cope with and very hard.
I walked the first few kilometers by the river under the trees at 9 am with my 450 lumen head torch on and still could not see; the camera on my mobile phone with it's enhanced imagery got me through oh and some Portuguese guys.

However there appears to be in Claudio's video lots of accessible road and path walking only at this time i can't quantify the distance.
I will defo have to skip stages i think and i am also aware of the remoteness and scarcity of accommodation.
(have downloaded accommodation Pdf from website also an itinerary of the stages for 31 days )

.I don't know if you can answer this was there the option of a taxi when you walked or is that unrealistic!

I try to be realistic about things and never say i cant until i am proved wrong

For example on my Frances i will walk the Valcarlos way my room is already booked and at this moment i intend to walk the road . ( would have liked to walk the Napoleon but if fog/rain comes up there i would probs be stuffed i know i can follow n135 even if foggy)

I will also not walk the path down into Zubiri,El Acebo or Molinaseca the idea is to get to the end still standing.

Once again thanks Doug
All the best
Woody
 
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woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Hi Bradypus!
Thank you i would be stupid to ignore both you and Dougfitz your the boots on the ground guys!
I have plenty of time between now and June 2024 to figure out my options Toralf thought the Olavsleden was probs most suitable for a VI regarding terrain i will have to work out which stages are feasible and then and see if they become viable stages to walk and combine instead of the whle way.
Listening to Lovingkindness's posts were humbling and inspiring and as the saying goes he who has never failed has never tried.
But like i said in my first post Norway is beautiful and the glass is still half full if i get a holiday not a long walk!!!!
Woody
 

filly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
After hiking the non-religious and ‘artificial’ Kungsleden trail in northern Sweden, heading in to the Arctic circle, I have to say that the Gutbrandsdalsleden was not a problem. The waymarking was very good, dare one say in parts even too enthusiastic! Walking over the ‘dovre’ was challenging but exhilarating. There were other pilgrims, even a group on an organised trek but a different ‘spirit’ to Spanish caminos.

However, some of the wooden churches encountered were simply stunning as was the west front of Trondheim Catherdral on 29 July with the statues of St Olav and Santiago duly garlanded...
 

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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
.I don't know if you can answer this was there the option of a taxi when you walked or is that unrealistic!
I only contemplated taking a taxi once in Norway, for a relatively short distance, a bit under 7 km. At the time (2012) the cost estimate provided by the local taxi service was 700NK. I passed! I took a taxi in Sweden, and it was a little less expensive, but nowhere near the level one might expect in Spain or Portugal.
 

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