The old pack road had 1500 steps, where cars today gas through the mountain. The time of this hard work is over, and of getting used to the steep terrain, as well; only the view from the top is much the same as before. Vøringsfossen in summer is one of Western Norway’s biggest natural wonders. It marks the transition between the older, open part of the Sysendalen valley and the younger, narrow and winding valley of Måbødalen.
The steep drop by Fossen cliff has been the biggest challenge for those who wished to make a road over Kvamskogen through the years. Leave the car by the monument on the old road and take a walk down to the bend by the waterfall that Bergen-folk call "The bridal veil". Why is there a waterfall just here?
Much rain, a steep drop and nearness to Bergen meant that the power-making potential of the Samnanger water system was exploited early. Samnanger was thus one of the first power-producing municipalities in western Norway. With its subsequent expansion and new power stations, about 400 gigawatts of electricity per hour were produced on average each year. This is enough to meet the energy needs of 25,000 households.
The large coastal waves that crash down on the islands west in the sea gather their energy from storms and winds all the way out in the North Atlantic Ocean. The most common place of origin is nonetheless the North Sea. When these waves break over the skerries and islets along the shore, or on the rocky outermost islands, their energy is released. This takes the form of turbulence in the water and sea spray up on land. Can the enormous energy contained in the waves be exploited?
As early as 1906 the Matre and Haugsdal waterway was bought up by the businessman Blauuw from Bergen; the first “waterfall speculator” in the Matre area. He immediately resold it to Fr. Hiorth, who transferred all the rights to the company Matrefaldene in 1908. Behind A/S Matrefaldene were German interests, Badische Anilin und Sodafabrik, which wanted to start production of saltpetre fertilizer with nitrogen and electricity.