Pilgrimage on the Borg path
The pilgrim path through the counties Østfold and Akershus lies like a beautiful string of pearls through a varied and fertile landscape.
It starts on the Swedish border by the Elgåfossen waterfall and crosses the counties of Østfold and Akershus before reaching Oslo. It has been called The Borg Way, for it goes through the historical region of Borgarsysla and the Borgarting legal jurisdiction. Halden and Moss are on The Borg Way, as is Sarpsborg, founded by St. Olaf in 1016. Typical for the Way are its idyllic villages, farms, medieval churches, manor houses, museums, and countless ancient monuments from the Bronze and Iron Ages. Information signs about the sites of interest have been erected along the Way. Each leg of the journey is also easy to cover by public transport, and large parts are ideal for cyclists.
Elgåfossen – Bakke: 22 km
Start at the Elgåfossen rest stop (Enningdalsveien). There are good parking facilities here. From Elgåfossen, on the Swedish border, you can choose to continue south into Sweden along the Kuststigen (Swedish Coastal Path) or Bohusleden (The Bohus Trail). As you head north towards Gribsrød Farm you have a view of Elgåfossen which, according to Wikipedia, is Østfold’s highest unregulated waterfall, with a fall of 46 metres. The Borg Way brings you to Svingen/Bråtorp Camping and Søndre Enningdalen Church. At Svingen it crosses highway 22 and the Enningdal River and continues on the east bank for the last kilometres to Berby. Berby is an old manor with a rich history; there was a battle here between Swedish and Norwegian forces in 1808. The road down to Iddefjord follows the river, popular among salmon fishermen. Following the idyllic east bank, we eventually pass through Folkå Nature Reserve and Bakke Camping.
Bakke – Halden sentrum: 15 km
As we start this leg, it follows the route of Kyststien (the Coastal Path), an area marked by old quarrying activity. The Pilgrim Way passes the medieval Idd Church, then continues along and beside highway 22. In the summer of 2014 a medieval pilgrim badge was discovered here, a good indicator that pilgrims passed this way. From Øberg to Fredriksten Fortress the Way follows an old main road. The fortress is a majestic sight in the landscape, crowning its hill, with views in all directions. Its museums are affiliated to the foundation Halden historical Collections – Østfoldmuseene. The fortress also includes the upgraded Barracks formerly used as Hostel Accommodation “Kaserna”, now known as Fredriksten Hotel.
Halden – Sarpsborg: 33 km
Having reached Halden by train, go to the starting point of this leg, the Immanuel Church, prominent on the town skyline. Cross the River Tisla and wander past old wooden houses up to Rød Herregård (Manor), with its beautiful garden park and fine views of the fjord. This leg of the Borg Way proceeds through built-up areas and farming land to the medieval Berg Church. A short detour from the Way brings you to the charming Østgaard Farm (accommodation). A similar landscape, mixed with wooded areas, brings you to the medieval Ingedal Church. From here, follow highway 118 until the Way turns off into woods and hilly terrain, offering fine views to the west. Look out for an ancient sunken road, remains of crofters’ houses, and Bronze Age graves before passing the main road again on the way to the medieval Skjeberg Church. From here you pass through wooded terrain, then a residential area, on the way to Hafslund Church and Hafslund Manor with its large park. Finish off this leg by crossing the River Glomma and the Sarpefossen waterfall to arrive at Borgarsyssel Museum, the ruins of St. Nikolas Church, and St. Olaf’s town of Sarpsborg. Accomodation at Scandic and Quality Hotel.
Sarpsborg – Råde: 22 km
There are good connections by road and rail to today’s leg. Start from Borgarsyssel Museum and proceed through Sarpsborg by the pedestrian St. Mariesgate. As you leave the town you pass Tune Church, the Tunevannet lake, built-up areas and woodland. The Opstad Site, one of the largest Bronze Age burial sites in Østfold, is about 100 metres off the Way. The route takes you along the old Royal Road, where there is a St. Olaf spring. You pass Solli Church with the nearby historic Queen Desideria’s Grove, a nice place to make a stop. Utne Camping is also near the church. Continue to Soli Brug and gallery. From here, follow the Aagaard river, then signposts for Råde. The Pilgrim Way through Råde offers stunning rural landscapes along the Østfold Ridge. Many heritage sites testify to the fact that people have settled here and cultivated its rich soil for thousands of years. Among these are the impressive stone circles at Lundeby and the medieval Råde Church. Before reaching Råde Church, accommodation is possible at Grønn Pause – Skaugen Gaard.
Råde – Moss: 27 km
Train to Råde Station. Follow Stasjonsveien, and keep straight ahead on Tesalaveien. The Way goes through beautiful agricultural landscape with farms and fields. You come alongside the railway line, passing burial mounds and war memorials at Sognslunden. Near Rygge Station you see the medieval Rygge Church on raised ground. From the church, follow first the main road, then a changing landscape of woodland, built-up areas, burial circles and other heritage sites. One of these is Telemarkslunden, a protected nature reserve with a beech wood and burial site. The Way goes through more woodland before approaching Moss town centre, where the view opens out to the Oslo Fjord. Before reaching the town centre, accommodation is possible at Kallum Søndre Farm. Approaching Moss town centre and Moss Hotel the Way follows the same route as Kyststien (the Coastal Path).
Moss – Son: 12 km
Begin this leg of the journey at Moss Church, go through the town centre and out to the Moss Woods. Having passed the Akershus county line, take the road down to the fjord village of Son, known for its wooden houses from the 17th and 18th centuries. The village centre is charmingly situated by the fjord and here there is a Coastal Culture Centre, restaurants and shops; alternatively, enjoy the peace and quiet of the Solåsen Pilgrim Farm, with its fine views of the Oslo Fjord.
Son – Ås: 23 km
There is a bus to Son, and in summer weekends there is also a ferry from Aker Brygge in Oslo. Start this leg from the centre of Son, proceed through lovely wooded landscape and gravel paths. Continue to Vestby, where the neo-Gothic church is from 1886. This leg continues towards Ås through beautiful agricultural landscape with expansive fields. Urtegården is between Ås and Vestby. In Ås the Way goes through the University park, past the Museum of Agriculture and onwards to Ås Church and Ås Guest House.
Ås – Mastemyr: 22 km
Ås is easily reached by bus and train. Start at Ås Church and continue along the banks of the Årungen lake. You then turn up onto the Nordby plateau and proceed to Nordby Church. Cross the motorway on the Leonardo da Vinci Bridge. The Pilgrim Way takes you through the Nøstvetmarka – woods and ancient landscape, in which there used to be many crofters’ holdings. Through Oppegård the Way follows the old Royal Road, and also the old route across Grønnliåsen towards Prinsdalen. Here there is a historic resting place, the ‘King’s Table’, described by Bishop Jens Nilssøn in the 16th century. Accommodation at Quality Hotel Entry, Mastemyr.
Mastemyr – Oslo: km 16
From Mastemyr and down to the Oslo city boundary there are several burial cairns from the Early Iron Age. On this stretch the Way alternates between tarmac and forest trail, much easier on the feet. It is well worth while spending a little time in the Ekeberg Sculpture Park, with its fascinating statues, before travelling on hard surfaces into Oslo and Lovisenberg. At the Oslo Pilgrim Centre there is wealth of information available about St. Olav ways in Norway.