Bakken farm, also known as Songesandsbakken, is a mountain farm located on a plateau 173 meters above Lysefjorden. The farm has a rich history with many interesting personalities, including siblings Johannes and Gjertrud, as well as Ole Olsen Sangesand, better known as Pilt-Ola.

Bakken farm, also known as Songesandsbakken, is located on a plateau 173 meters above Lysefjorden, a stone throw from Bratteli. The buildings on the farm are not visible from the sea, but there is a pier by the sea where the ferry stops for visitors. Bakken farm is considered a mountain farm, as life on the farm was linked to the mountain wilderness.

The farm was first used in the late 1700s by the parents of Ole Olsen Sangesand, who later became known as Pilt-Ola.

At Bakken, life was in harmony with nature. The cultural landscape with stone fences and fields bears witness to hard work to provide food. Despite the fact that Bakken farm never had horses or machines, it was a daily struggle to keep the farm running. Nevertheless, the people at Bakken welcomed hundreds of visitors every year. From the end of the 1800s, tourists began to visit Bakken. The largest number of tourists came in the 1920s and up to World War II.

The farm had its own sawmill in Skurvåna and its own power plant that provided electricity to the farm. In the 1920s, Bakken became its own operation, and at the same time, a new residential building was built. The last users of the farm were siblings Johannes and Gjertrud Bakken. After Gjertrud died, it became lonely for Johannes, and he chose to leave the farm one morning in the fall of 1973. He walked to Songesand and moved in with the Hatleskog family, and after this, he gave the farm to Forsand municipality. Johannes never returned to Bakken farm again.

Stavanger Tourist Association took over the farmyard from Forsand municipality in the fall of 2018. Today, Bakken farm is a tourist attraction, and the former farm has now been rehabilitated and upgraded to a functional tourist cabin, including its own wood-fired pizza oven.


Ole Olsen Songesand, known as Pilt-Ola, lived a fascinating and adventurous life. Born in 1779 on the small mountain farm of Bakken in Lysefjorden, he spent his childhood in close contact with nature and the wildlife in the mountains around his home. As a child, he participated in the hunt for predators, which would become a passion that would follow him throughout his life.

While serving in the military, Ole injured his left foot and was discharged. When he met people, he used to greet them with “Here I come limping,” which earned him the nickname Pilt-Ola or “limping Ola”.

After his military service, Pilt-Ola moved to Stavanger and became part of the business community. In 1808, herring was discovered in Stavanger, and Pilt-Ola began trading it. He also developed a method for salting herring at sea, and made good money in the grain trade. He sailed to Denmark and Russia to sell his goods, and with the money he bought several farms and churches in the region.

But Pilt-Ola was not satisfied with just being a successful businessman. He was an entrepreneur and initiated many projects around the country. He tried to create jobs in Lysefjorden and founded a nail factory in Songesand, a stamping mill in Lysebotn, and salt factories in several places in the Lysefjord. Not everything was equally successful, and Ole encountered a lot of resistance, especially in the herring industry.

Pilt-Ola was also dedicated to fighting reindeer predators, particularly wolves. He was largely successful in eliminating wolves in southern Norway by strategically placing poisoned bait. He borrowed money from both private individuals and “Selskapet for Norges Vel” to buy a herd of domesticated reindeer in Finnmark and establish a reindeer herd in Ryfylke. Half of the animals died on the way south, while he walked all the way home with them. These animals became the origin of the wild reindeer herd in Setesdal-Ryfylke.

Pilt-Ola also dreamed of going to America, but not by boat. He walked through the Soviet Union to Korea and all the way to the Bering Strait, where he faced open water. He walked back the same way he came, and seven years later he was back in Stavanger.

Pilt-Ola was not only a businessman and adventurer, but also a caring and helpful person. He saw opportunities everywhere and had an incredible ability to put his ideas into action. He was a man with visions and an entrepreneurial spirit, and although not all his projects were successful, he had a strong belief that everyone can create a better future.

Johannes og Gjertrud Bakken

Johannes and Gjertrud were siblings who spent their entire lives on the Bakken farm in Lysefjorden. They were the last to maintain the traditional ways of farming that their ancestors had passed down to them, and they were mostly self-sufficient. Johannes was an excellent student who excelled in all subjects, was a thinker, and wrote poetry and stories about his experiences living between the fjord and the mountains.

Gjertrud hardly ever left the farm, and although a suitor once offered to take her to America, Johannes destroyed the ticket because he didn’t want to be alone on the farm. They had several farm animals, fished in the fjord, and during the winter, produced crafts.

The farm was known for its hospitality, and old guestbooks indicate that hundreds of people visited every summer. Johannes was a versatile individual who built his own power plant and sawmill in Skurveåna, hunted extensively, was involved in the resistance during World War II, and actively participated in local politics for many years. He also contributed to folk life investigations, ethnological surveys, and the registration of local names for plants. 

Gjertrud passed away in 1962, and Johannes in 1982. The collection of objects accumulated over several generations on the farm now forms an important part of the Forsand rural museum’s collection.

Visit Bratteli & Bakken

The Bratteli farm, located along the north side of Lysefjorden, is known for its steep mountainsides. With a history dating back to the 1600s, Bratteli is an important cultural landscape with a fantastic view of the fjord. Perched 173 meters above Lysefjorden, Bakken farm, boasts a rich history dating back to the late 1700s and was once home to intriguing personalities like Pilt-Ola (Ole Olsen Sangesand) and siblings Johannes and Gjertrud. Today, Stavanger Tourist Association has transformed Bakken into a functional cabin, complete with its wood-fired pizza oven, along the Lysefjorden Rundt Trail.

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