Dalstuva and Gjøvågsfjellet are the dominating forest hills on Reksteren island (37,2 Km2) northwest of the larger island Tysnesøya. Located centrally in the "Sunnhordland" region, the views from the two tops are extensive. Both tops can be reached easily and quickly, via forest paths.
Dalstuva is found among the top 100 "primary factor" mountains in Hordaland, while Gjøvågsfjellet is found near the very bottom of the same list. Sauahaugen (302m) is another forest hill exceeding 300m, located just north of Dalstuva and you will find "Storavarden" (302m) just short of Gjøvågsfjellet.
Muddy paths is the common theme for Dalstuva and Gjøvågsfjellet. The Gjøvågsfjellet path has recently been maintained and is properly marked by Reksteren IL.
The below myth tells the story how Reksteren got its name. The source is
stud.hsd.no and the language is Norwegian:
På friarføter (Tysnes)
For lenge sidan, før det blei avgjort at menneska skulle bu på jorda, heldt det til ein Rise på Tysnes. Han budde heilt åleine på øya, og kvar morgon så spaserte han ned til vasskanten og spegla seg i sjøen. "Flottaste risen i Sunnhordland" sa han kvar dag til speglbilete sitt, for det var ein svært sjølvgod rise. Etter kvart som åra gjekk, tykte tysnesrisen at det blei meir og meir stusseleg å gå slik å tusla for seg sjølv. "Ei kjerring er det du treng" sa han til seg sjølv.
Så ein dag han gjekk ned til sjøen for å spegla seg, gjorde han seg ekstra flid. Han vasskamma håret og sette ein raun i knappeholet. Etter morgonstellet sette han så kursen mot Kvinnherad, for der skulle det visst bu ei gygra. Då han kom over til fastlandet, gav han seg til å kalla etter gygra, og det tok ikkje lange tida før ho kom springande. I det same tysnesrisen fekk auga på gygra, tagna han. Ikkje ein lyd kom over leppene hans, og han blei ståande å gapa. Gygra frå Kvinnherad var så stygg, at han aldri hadde sett det verre. Håret hang i uflidde tjafser ned etter den skitne serken og hendene var som store klubber, fulle av hår og med gulbrune negler.
"Så du vil bli kjærasten min?" spurde gygra så smørblid og kom nærare risen. Men den stanken som kom av kjeften på gygra då ho prata, vekte risen til liv. Han ville ikkje gifta seg med den stygge kjerringa, og han kasta seg rundt og gjorde eit byks tilbake mot Tysnes. I det same fekk gygra tak i halen på risen og heldt igjen, men risen han drog så godt han kunne han også. Gygra ville ikkje sleppa friaren så lett, så ho sette hælane i Kvinnheradslandet og tviheldt i riserompa. Så hardt sleit risen for å komma fri at landet brast og sklei ut i fjorden, og gygra blei så forfjamsa at ho sleppte taket i risen. Risen var ikkje sein om å komma seg i tryggleik på Tysnes, men gygra blei så sint då ho såg han kom seg unna at ho tok ein god klump mold og stein og kasta etter risen. Gygra kasta med slik ei voldsom kraft at skittklumpen hamna vest for Tysnes, og slik blei Reksteren til. Den delen av Kvinnheradslandet som brast og sklei ut i fjorden blei til øya Stord. Korleis det gjekk vidare med risen frå Tysnes seier soga ingenting om, men det gjekk nok ei stund før han gjekk på friarføter att.
Dalstuva (1115-II: 336m, Ø.K.: 335,88m) has a primary factor of 336m as it is the highest point on Reksteren island.
Gjøvågsfjellet (1115-II: 306m, Ø.K.: 305,53m) has a primary factor of 103m towards the higher Dalstuva (336m). The saddle is found N of Brutveitmyra, and is the only place (ref. 1115-II) where you cross the 200m contours. Looking at Økonomisk Kartverk (5m contours), you cross the 205m contours on the high route, but not 200m. The saddle height has been interpolated to 203m.
Notes: Class ratings are in reference to YDS. Click here for more information.
The trails described below are not necessarily the *easiest* trails to this mountain.
Access to Reksteren island
From Bergen, follow highway E39 southbound (Stavanger) towards Halhjem. Take the Halhjem - Våge ferry (check hsd.no for ferry schedules).
From the "Gjermundhshamn/Stord" junction in Våge, drive southbound 6,5Km on highway RV49 and then turn right towards "Reksteren". Drive 12,2Km (follow signs towards Reksteren) to the "Flygansvær/Gjøvik" junction. See below how to get to the Dalstuva and Gjøvågsfjellet trailheads from here. The road to and on Reksteren is narrow, so drive carefully.
Alternative route from Bergen is highway RV7 (Oslo). Turn right towards "Tysse/Mundheim" just after Bjørkheim by Samnangerfjorden. Follow highway RV48 to Kilen where you turn right towards "Sævareid/Baldersheim". Follow this road along Bjørnafjorden until you join highway RV49. Follow RV49 towards Tysnes and Våge.
Haukafær - Dalstuva (summer/autumn)
From the "Flygansvær/Gjøvåg" junction (see Reksteren access above), drive 1,8Km in the direction of Gjøvåg, and park by a graveyard on your right-hand side.
Walk 100m down the main road and turn left on a forest trail signed "Dalatuo". The trail runs northbound for 160m before it turns east and heads towards a creek. You will follow this creek (in a valley) most of the way to Dalstuva. There is a trailfork just after the creek. Stay left.
When you see the "Setramyro" sign, be focused. The path continues northbound along the creek and the path is visible within 10 meters from the sign. Do not follow a more visible path westbound! The path up along the creek is muddy and parts of the path actually runs in the creek!
Out of the valley, the path turns northeast and runs across wet-ground before the path becomes more distinct towards the top. The summit is marked by a broken trig. point.
Daleelva (near Gjøvåg) - Gjøvågsfjellet (summer/autumn)
From the "Flygansvær/Gjøvåg" junction (see Reksteren access above), drive 12,3Km in the direction of Gjøvåg. Find parking on the right-hand side just before the Kaldafoss exit. You may see a yellow container for sand on the right-hand side of the road and the "Gjøvågsvarden" trailsign on the left-hand side of the road.
Follow the marked path all the way to the top. The path is marked by red sticks. Parts of the route is very boggy. The summit is marked by a broken trig. point. A vague path runs southbound (300m) towards "Storavarden" (302m) where you get a better view towards Tysnesøya.
What a morning..
It was supposed to rain in the afternoon, so I got up early. The plan was to visit a decent mountain before the rain sat in. As usual for this time of the year, I stumbled out of bed with my eyes closed. Half-way to the bathroom, my left knee gave way and I fell across the table in the hall. The phone, the ISDN modem and the broadband router was spread across the floor. I ran a toe into this table and stepped on a sharp end of one of these boxes before I fell over. It was 06:30AM, I was laying on my back, staring into the dark room. My left foot hurt like hell and I was off-line. Worse, the dog was too tired to come around for comfort.
The pain in the toe went away, but I had severe problems walking because of my knee. Well, it wasn't actually the knee, but something .. beyond. The hopes of a decent mountain disappeared and while the sane thing would have been to spend the day in the sofa, I started scanning maps for lower - "limpable" mountains. The plan was to "walk the knee back into shape", and I chose the Reksteren forest hills as the place to do so.
I left the city in sunshine, and headed towards the grey belt of clouds moving in from the southwest. This felt wrong, but the decision had been made. A friend of mine said; "If it hadn't been for bad luck, I would had no luck at all". The bad morning seemed to continue when I was taking pictures of Tysnes from the ferry to Våge. "Out of the blue" and without any kind of warning, the sea slammed in across the cars on the front deck. As I was partly covered, I only got wet from my chest and upwards, But the camera needed cleaning from sticky saltwater.
Some time ago, I did some research about the Reksteren hills and learned about the Dalstuva trailhead. As such, I had no problems locating it. 12:10PM, I was on my way upwards with my dog "Troll" in the backpack. The forest road was easy to follow. "At last, things are looking up", I mumbled while heading upwards. The knee only bothered me for the first 10 minutes. "Walking it off" seemed to work.
At "Setramyro" (a large, boggy meadow), I lost sight of the trail, but followed an old track westbound. After a while, I realised that this track was not heading towards the mountain, and I went off-trail. From 120m to 280m elevation, I had one of my worst forest walks ever. Juniper bush everywhere. My GPS informed me about my whereabouts, and when I reached the top of the hill (Hovdakampane), Dalstuva was still 1Km further to the east.
From distance, I noticed a meadow and hurried towards it. A thick belt of bush made the dog cry out in discomfort, although I tried to protect him as best as I could. The meadow turned out to be a small lake with a grassy surface. After getting absolutely soaking wet on my feet, I had to crawl back up to the bushy ridges.
I reached the top of Dalstuva 13:25PM and there was a gale on top. Taking clear pictures was extremely difficult and seeking shelter became a priority. Staying up here was no fun, and I turned back around immediately. I had found the trail and let the dog walk. The trail was however too boggy for him, and I carried him under my arm half of the time during the forest descent. We were back at the car 14:15PM.
Being soaking wet and partly demoralised, I felt for heading back home. But since I was here, I might as well visit Gjøvågsfjellet as well. I drove to Gjøvåg and let the GPS navigate me towards the trail. I rang the doorbell on the nearest house, and the family informed me that this was private property and explained where the official trailhead was. They were not too happy with the map trail, as hikers from time to time had blocked the road with their cars.
I chatted with the family for a while, as they found it strange that someone from Bergen had taken the long trip to visit this hill. I explained my business, which must have been "noble" as I was welcome to park and hike from there. But I wanted to follow the public track, allowing me to document it. I said goodbye to the folks and drove to the trailhead.
With Troll on my back, I headed out 15:00PM. The trail was easy to follow, but muddy. That didn't bother me much as I was even more muddy and wet than the trail was. But my knee had turned painful again. Coming up from the north, I didn't notice the strong winds until I reached the top 15:30PM. I let the GPS stabilise while I shot a quick round of pictures. After 5 minutes, the GPS reported 302m and nothing else. It didn't even "wander" up and down as it normally does. This struck me as odd, as I had faith in Økonomisk Kartverk and the map height was 306m.
I wondered if there was a mix-up of the summit points and headed over to the high point 300m towards the south. According the family I spoke to, this point was called "Storavarden". The GPS now reported 306m, but I didn't believe that the two points had been mixed-up. I headed back to Gjøvågsvarden (I had to pass this point anyway) and checked again. The GPS now reported 306m for a minute, before it dropped down to 303m. At least I had seen "306" on the display, but I wasn't too happy with the inconclusive results.
It started to rain, and even the dog wanted to get back down. I let him out and he left without me. After a fast walk down the mountain, we were back down 16:10PM. I had written down the ferry schedule before I left in the morning, but had forgotten the list back home. I seemed to remember that the ferry left 17:05PM, and if I didn't waste time, I would reach it. When I arrived Våge 16:55PM, I asked some bikers when the next ferry was leaving. "17:05PM", they replied and I felt that bad luck had been defeated. 17:05PM, no ferry was in sight and then one of the bikers came around and said "the ferry is leaving 17:45PM and I apologise". Oh well.....
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