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Panorama picture from Stryn Municipality in Norway




LOEN

Loen and its valley are at the heart of the beautiful and dramatic region between the inner end of Nordfjord, and the great expanse of snow and ice of the Jostedalsbre. The village eomprises a cluster of farms and dwellings arond the white wooden church and some scattered houses between fjord and church. Further along the valley small groups of farms have their own names - Tjugen, Haugen, Sæten.

Ancient burial mouods found in the district indicate that the lower valley was inhabited in the Bronze Age. Before the first church was built worshippers met by the bord around the stone cross which now stands in the churchyard. The present church, the third on the site, was erected in 1837.

The green glacial waters of Loen river rush through the middle of the fertile valley, the banks bordered with cultivated fields and orchards. Thick birch woods shade the lower slopes of the mountains Skåla (1848 m) and its horseshoe ridge rise to the east uf the valley and dominate the views of Loen from the west and the south. On top of the mountain is a circular stone lower, built by local farmers in 1891, which offers shelters for those who reach the summit.

There can be few more impressive journeys than through Loen valley up to the Kjenndals glacier. The road follows the course of the Loen river and then skirts the eastern shore of the lovely Loen Lake into Kjenndalen. The last stage of the journey, along the wild upper valley, must be made on foot. At the head of the valley, great mountain barriers intersected by glaciers, permit only experienced climbers to proceed further.

Three times this century nature has taken a hand in remoulding the physical features of the area, twice causing great loss of life and property. The source of these disasters is some nine kilometres along the west side at Loen Lake opposite the hamlet of Bødal, where Ramnefjell (Raven Mountain) rises nearly 1500 metres above a narrow strait. On the 14th January, 1905, loosened by the expansion of water freezing in cracks, a great mass of rock hustled into the lake. The resulting wave swept over low Iying farms, killed 63 persons, demolished buildings and lifted the lake steamer from its moorings to a point 400 metres inland. Two-thirds of the inhabitants on the 13th September, 1936. Mercifully, no lives were lost when there was a third fall of rock on the 22nd June, 1950. The flank of Ramnefjell shows a great scar left by the falls of rocks.