"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).
Fjøsanger is known among ice age researchers from around the world. Under an excavation in 1975-77, geologists from the University of Bergen found layers from the last interglacial, ca. 115 000 to 130 000 years old.
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”.
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.
Lurekalven is an unpopulated island of heather moor which is a part of the wilderness belonging to the five farms on Ytre Lygra. Between the two islands there is only a small sound. As late as the 1920s, milking cows were rowed over the sound from Lygra in summer – a form of farming that was adapted to the coastal landscape.
On Vollom, northwest of Seim, we find the only natural beech forest in Western Norway, which is also the most northerly of its type in the world. Beech grows also many other places in the county, but these trees are totally lacking in history compared with those of Vollomskogen Forest.
Otterstadstølen lies in an idyllic grassy plain surrounded by rich forest, but also with high mountains close by. The mountainsides are steep and typical of this part of the county. The same cannot be said about the forest. This spruce forest has been able to develop freely for hundreds of years. Otherwise in the county, only Voss has spruce forest.
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.