"With its strange situation (surrounded by high mountains), this city has the advantage of a beautiful port and considerable shipping, but also the disadvantage that once on land one cannot get to the city without great inconvenience. This is because the weather in the vicinity of these high mountains is extremely unpleasant and rainy. There has even evolved an expression that is always rains in Bergen, and we have not experienced anything to counteract this saying." (a quote by the Dutch professor Fabricius after a visit to Bergen in ca. 1780).
When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.
Many mountain plants are well prepared to face cold and wind. Some would surely rather face an easier life in the lowlands, but they cannot compete with the higher-growing plants living there. Most mountain plants manage to compete for light and space only if they cling to the bedrock and gravel in the harsh high alpine climate.
Few other places in Hordaland, or even the whole country, get as much rain as in the Samnanger mountains. The mountains here simply attract wetness. The weather station on Kvitingen has continuous measurements all the way back to 1900, and the measurements have documented several records for the county. The station is therefore much used as a reference for the rainfall in western Norway.
Mountain plants with their beautiful, colourful flowers are common in high altitude areas in Norway. On the coast there are not so many of them. But, here and there one nonetheless finds mountain plants, and this makes some coastal mountainsides a little bit different. Perhaps the growth on these mountainsides gives us a little glimpse of a distant past?
Børtveit is known to be a place with a lot of rain. We must go to Samnanger or Indre Matre to find a higher rainfall. The average rainfall on Børtveit is 2871 millimetres, Slåtterøy has only 1328 millimetres and Fitjar 1610 millimetres.
Folds are to be found everywhere in the remains of the Caledonian mountain chain. Some were formed during the collision with Greenland, others stem from the time when the mountain chain collapsed. Few can compare with the giant fold that remains in the mountain area around Tørvikenuten, Vesoldo and Hellefjellet.
From Kinsekvelven river and inward to Lake Veivatnet, we can wander through one of Hardangervidda's many fertile areas. A number of finicky plants grow here, and there are plenty of birds and fish. We can thank a lime rich soil for the diversity.