The scientific explanation
The huge hole, or natural tunnel, measuring 160 metres (520 ft) long, 35 metres (115 ft) high, and 20 metres (66 ft) wide, was created during the ice ages. Ice and water slowly eroded the looser rock strata, leaving the harder rock on top of the mountain, which resisted erosion. The result was a hole as big as a mighty cathedral.
The real explanation
According to the legend of the Helgeland mountains, Torghatten was formed when the troll Hestmannen, disappointed in love, shot an arrow after the young girl Lekamøya who ran away from him. The Troll-King in Mount Sømnafjellet saw this and threw his hat between them; the arrow went straight through the hat and formed the hole. The sun rose, and everyone was turned into stone.
An easy walk
The most frequently used route up to the hole goes along the east side of the mountain. There is a well-made path, and it takes about 30 minutes of walking at a relaxed pace. The oldest steps on the path were made in the 1870s. As the path climbs higher, it enters a chasm with sheer rock walls. The best view into the hole can be had from the top of the scree.
Sisters and a myriad of islands
If we turn towards the north, we can see Brønnøysund and De Syv Søstre (The Seven Sisters mountains) in the distance. The views are breath-taking, taking in the coast of Helgeland at its most beautiful, with hundreds of little islands. This sight alone is worth the ascent to the hole.
Through the hole and out to the other side
The hole itself is an enormous space. The path winds between the boulders right through the hole, and on the other side you can see out over the far-flung shores with all the little islands to the south towards Leka, where according to the story Lekamøya ended up. Looking inland, you will see Heilhornet, at 1,058 metres (3,471 ft), the highest mountain in the area. If you make the walk in the afternoon, you will see the southward-bound Hurtigrute vessel swing out in a loop to allow the passengers to view the hole from the right angle.
A detour from the Kystriksveien
Torghatten is on the island of Torget directly south of Brønnøysund. Across the Brønnøysundbrua bridge and further along highway no. 54, it is only a short walk to the foot of the mountain. The walk itself is easy for everyone who is fully mobile, and is also great fun for children! From Brønnøysund you can travel out to the World Heritage area of the Vega Archipelago, and continue northwards along the Helgeland coast on the immensely beautiful, scenic and varied Kystriksveien coastal route.
The local tourist board Helgeland Reiseliv’s website, www.visithelgeland.com has all the information you will need about the island of Brønnøy and the rest of Helgeland.