- the Birds Island

Runde Lighthouse in Norway

Runde is a small island, actually a small natural pearl, with millions of seabirds, counting an exceptional variety of species.

It is located at the coast of Sunnmøre, in Møre and Romsdal county.  Runde island is part of Herøy municipality with it's 8 islands. 6 of them are connected by bridges. The community center of Herøy is Fosnavåg, the only town in the municipality.

The island has only 150 inhabitants, and is part of Herøy municipality at the border of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the largest bird-island south of the Arctic circle, and it is said that all species of Norwegian sea-birds nesting in colonies are represented here at the birds island.  From February to August it's about 500.000 of them.

Runde and the birds

The great favourite among tourist are the puffin, hiding its nest in screens and holes in the ground.In the season you find about 100.000 of them here.

In the steep cliffs you find thousands of pairs, maybe even hundreds of thousands.
The second biggest colony is the kittiwake, represented with about 50.000 pairs.

And then there is the beautiful gannet, blending white with orange lines across the head. The colony is the biggest and oldest in Norway, one of only about 40 gannet colonies in the world.

From the homepage of Herøy municipality we can see that Runde has been designated as a protected area.

There are daily guided tours by boat around the bird cliffs, guided hiking tours and easy access to the cliff on well-marked paths enable visitors to experience the teeming bird life at first hand.

Here, one can see colonies of puffins, guillemots, gannets and razorbills, 200 species all together, and the impressive white-tailed eagle among them.

The Environmental Centre

The Environmental Centre is an international research station, as well as an information centre and with interesting exhibitions, open for all visitors.

In the main building of the Environmental Centre you will find the tourist information office and here you will get information regarding the island and the municipality, as well as the surrounding region.

The environmental centre is offering accomodation, and has 8 modern and fully equipped apartments for 3-5 persons each.  There is also a cafe in the building.


The Lighthouse

The lighthouse was established in 1767, because the increasing ship traffic along the coast of Norway had led to several accidents, and the ocean around the island was very dangerous.

Between others, in 1725 the Dutch merchant vessel Akerendam sunk close to Kvalneset, where todays lighthouse is located.

In the beginning the lighthouse was not more than an open fire, but as the government took over the responsability in 1826, the more modern, coal driven lighthouse was build.

In 1858 a big iron tower was raised, and the remains of this is still standing.

In 1935, the concrete lighthouse tower was build some higher up , and the first time this was lighted was on August 27. the same year.

The first lighthouses had to be looked after 24 hours a day, and the lighthouse keeper had to live close to where he worked.

Normaly, the lightkeeper used to have his whole family with him; wife, children, housekeepers, cattle and all needed.

Later, most lighthouses along the Norwegian coast became automated, and the last lighthouse keeper moved out from the lighthouse station in 2002.

Go from Runde to read about the city Ålesund that is quite close.

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Coat of Arms for Herøy

Herøy municipality is the center of an extensive offshore shipping industry in the region. The coat of arms was approved in 1987 and shows 2 opposing bows of ships in silver on a blue background.

Herøy municipality has 8750 inhabitants, and impressing 8 offshore shipping companys with more than 100 offshore vessels, besides beeing one of the largest fishing communitys in Norway.

Herøy is located south west of Ålesund, and the village of Torvik has daily calls by the coastal steamer, Hurtigruta.