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Location of Lofoten in Norway


Lofoten is an archipelago and a traditional district in the county of Nordlandmarker, Norwaymarker. Though lying within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago experiences one of the world's largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.

Etymology

Lofoten (Norse Lófót) was originally the old name of the island Vestvågøyamarker. The first element is 'lynx', the last element is fót 'foot'. The shape of the island must have been compared with a foot of a lynx. (The old name of the neighbouring island Flakstadøyamarker was Vargfót 'the foot of a wolf' - from vargr m 'wolf'.)

History

Vågar is the first known town formation in northern Norway. It existed in the early Viking Age, maybe earlier, and was located on the southern coast on eastern Lofoten, near today's village Kabelvågmarker in Våganmarker municipality. However, the Lofotrmarker museum with the reconstructed 83 m long longhouse (the largest known) is located near Borg on Vestvågøymarker, which have many archeological finds from the Iron Age and Viking Age.

The islands have for more than 1,000 years been the centre of great cod fisheries, especially in winter, when the cod migrates south from the Barents Seamarker and gathers in Lofoten to spawn. Bergenmarker in southwestern Norway was for a long time the hub for further export south to large parts of Europe,
The Lofotr Viking Museum; Borg in Vestvågøy
particularly so when trade was controlled by the Hanseatic League. In the lowland areas, particularly Vestvågøy, agriculture plays a significant role, as it has done since the Bronze Age.

Lofotr was originally the name of the island of Vestvågøymarker only. Later it became the name of the chain of islands. The chain of islands with its pointed peaks looks like a lynx foot from the mainland. In Norwegian, it is always a singular. Another name one might come across, is "Lofotveggen" or the Lofoten wall. The archipelago looks like a closed wall when seen from elevated points around Bodømarker or when arriving from the sea, some 100 km. long, and 800-1,000 m. high.

During 1941, the islands were raided by British Combined Operations commandos during Operation Claymore in March and a subsequent diversionary attack to support the Vaagso raid in December.

Geography and nature

Lofoten is located at the 67th and 68th parallels north of the Arctic Circle in North Norway. It is well known for its exceptional natural beauty within Norway. Lofoten encompasses the municipalities of Våganmarker, Vestvågøymarker, Flakstadmarker, Moskenesmarker, Værøymarker and Røstmarker. The principal islands, running from north to south, are whilst further to the south are the small and isolated islands of Værøymarker ( ) and Røstmarker ( ). The total land area amounts to 1,227 km², and the population totals 24,500.
Lofoten and Vesterålen
Many will argue that Hinnøya, the northern part of Austvågøy and several hundred smaller islands, skerries and rocks to the east of Austvågøy are also part of the Lofoten complex. Historically the territorial definition of Lofoten has changed significantly.Between the mainland and the Lofoten archipelago lies the vast, open Vestfjordmarker, and to the north is Vesterålenmarker. The principal towns in Lofoten are Leknesmarker in Vestvågøymarker and Svolværmarker in Våganmarker.The Lofoten Islands are characterised by their mountains and peaks, sheltered inlets, stretches of seashore and large virgin areas. The highest mountain in Lofoten is Higravstindenmarker (1,161 m / 3,800 ft) in Austvågøy; the Møysalen National Parkmarker just northeast of Lofoten has mountains reaching 1,262 m. The famous Moskstraumenmarker (Malstrøm) system of tidal eddies is located in western Lofoten, and is indeed the root of the term maelstrom. The sea is rich with life, and the world's largest deep water coral reef is located west of Røst. Lofoten has a very high density of sea eagle and cormorants, and millions of other sea birds, among them the colourful puffin. Otters are common, and there are moose on the largest islands. There are some woodlands with Downy birch and Rowan. There are no native conifer forests in Lofoten, but some small areas with private spruce plantations. Sorbus hybrida ("Rowan whitebeam") and Malus sylvestris occur in Lofoten, but not further north.

Climate

Winter temperatures in Lofoten are very mild considering their location north of the Arctic Circle; this is the largest positive temperature anomaly in the world relative to latitude. This is due to the Gulf Stream and its extensions: the North Atlantic Current and the Norwegian Current. Røstmarker and Værøymarker are the most northerlymarker locations in the world where average temperatures are above freezing all year.
Winters are slightly colder in the northeastern part of Lofoten; Svolværmarker has a January average of -1.5°C (30°F), but summers are a bit warmer, with both July and August 24-hr averages of 13°C (56°F). May and June are the driest months, while October has three times as much precipitation . Typical daytime temperature in May is 9°C (48°F), in July 15°C (60°F) and in September 11°C (52°F). The warmest recording in Svolvær is 30.4°C (87°F). Strong winds can occur in late autumn and winter, but are rare late March - mid-October. Snow and sleet are not uncommon in winter; the mountains can have substantial amounts of snow, and in some winters, avalanches might come down from steep mountain slopes. Two of the top ten deadliest rainstorms ever recorded passed through Lofoten.

In Svolvær, the sun (midnight sun) is above the horizon from May 25 to July 17, and in winter the sun does not rise from December 4 to January 7. In Leknesmarker, the sun is above the horizon from May 26 to July 17, and in winter the sun does not rise from December 9 to January 4.The temperature in the sea has been recorded since 1935. At 1 m depth in the sea near Skrova, water temperatures varies from a low of 3°C in March to 14°C in August; some years peaking above 17°C; November is around 7-8°C. At a depth of 200 m the temperature is near 8°C all year .

Mountaineering and rock climbing

Nusfjord


Lofoten offers many rock climbing and mountaineering opportunities. It has 24 hours of daylight in the summer and has Alpine-style ridges, summits and glaciers, but at a height of less than 1,200 metres. The main centre for rock climbing is Henningsvær on Austvågøya.

The main areas for mountaineering and climbing are on Austvågøya and Moskenesøya. Moskenesøya is the most complete area for climbing. For more information, see the books by Dyer and Webster (see references).

Cycling

There is a well marked cycling route that goes from Åmarker in the south and continues past Fiskebøl in the north. The route is part public road, part cycle-path with the option to bypass all of the tunnels by either cycle-path (tunnels through mountains) or boat. Traffic is generally light, although in July there may be a lot of camper vans. Some of the more remote sections are on gravel roads. There is a dedicated cycling ferry which sails between Ballstad and Nusfjord, allowing cyclists to avoid the long, steep Nappstraum tunnel. The route hugs the coastline for most of its length where it is generally flat. As it turns inland through the mountain passes there are a couple of 3-400 meter climbs.

The Lofoten Insomnia Cycling Race takes place every year around midsummer, possible in the midnight sun, but surely in 24-hr daylight, along the whole Lofoten archipelago.

Communications



Lofoten is served by three small airports: Leknes Airportmarker (84 215 passengers in 2006), Svolvær Airport, Hellemarker (63 787 passengers in 2006), and Røst Airportmarker (7 755 passengers in 2006), which mainly offers flights to Bodø. There is a heliport at Værøymarker (7 923 passengers in 2006). Stokmarknes Airport, Skagenmarker is located in Vesterålen. Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenesmarker has direct flights to Oslomarker and Trondheimmarker. Bodø is often used as a hub for travel to Lofoten; in addition to air travel there is a ferry connecting Bodø to Moskenesmarker. There is also a ferry connecting Svolvær to Skutvikmarker in Hamarøymarker, with road connection east to E6. Hurtigruten calls at Stamsundmarker and Svolværmarker.

The European road E10 connects the larger islands of Lofoten with bridges and undersea tunnels. The E10 road also connects Lofoten to the mainland of Norway through the Lofast road connection, which was officially opened on December 1 2007. There are several daily bus services between the islands of Lofoten and between Lofoten and the mainland along E10.

In Popular Culture

In the film Maelstrom, Lofoten is where the ashes of Annstein Karson are distributed.

See also



External links



References

  1. Viking necklace
  2. Røst Reef, 40 km long
  3. Temperature scale in Lofoten
  4. 24h Temperature scale in Rost II
  5. Temperature scale in Værøy
  6. Temperature scale for Vågan
  7. Geography of Norway
  8. Hydrographic station
  9. The Lofoten Insomnia Cycling Race



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