July 24-28th were important and exciting days for Magma UNESCO Global Geopark – the revalidation process of the UNESCO Global Geopark status was started. In order to implement the process, two experts were invited to Magma UGGp with a mission to write a report. A huge work has been done in preparing an informative and representative programme in order to show how the Geopark operates, coordinates its activities and collaborates with the local communities.
We meet Jose Maria Barrera Martin-Meras from Villuercas Ibores Jara UGG in Spain and John Zhao Zhizhong from University of Beijing at the Sola airport. We started at once and drove our guests so we entered the Geopark from North through the spectacular Gloppedalsura. Here we had a brief introduction to Bjerkreim’s attractions and geology before entering deeper into the Geopark and the municipality of Eigersund. After arrival at Grand Hotell, the dinner was served at Grand hotel – an active partner of Magma Geopark, where the guests from County, municipalities and stakeholders had an opportunity to taste local dishes from the GEOfood menu.
A natural continuing for presenting the Geopark was a trip to Ytstebrød – the most typical anorthosite landscape with a view towards the lighthouse. After that, the guests visited our active partners in Egersund: took part in a chocolate tasting experience at Chocoladefabrikk, tried out another GEOfood menu at Hos Veli under lunch and had a creative wool workshop with Aurora Wool Workshop. After a city walk, the guests were taken to Magma’s visitor center, collocated with the tourist information and the office of the Geopark. Here the staff and several partners presented the work and achievements of the Geopark for the last four years, since the status was first granted by UNESCO in 2015. The day ended by taking a relaxed hike to one of the most recent and famous locations of the GEopark – Trollpikken.
The next day two other municipalities were visited – Sokndal and Flekkefjord. The day started by taking the alternative route to Sokndal via cultural and maritime landscape in Nesvåg following the Geobike route and a visit to Blåfjell mines and the biggest rocking rock in North Europe – Ruggesteinen. Local active partners warmly welcomed the guests: honey producer Geir Arne Berg showed around his farm, the story of Sokndalstrand kulturhotell was told and then a boat took the guests to Jøssingfjord, where the famous Helleren houses were shown and a plan for the new museum was presented. Beautiful Flekkefjord was the destination for the afternoon, presented a possibility for a unique activity of draisine biking and a city walk with Flekkefjord museum and dinner at Grand Hotel, Flekkefjord.
Third day was dedicated to the municipality of Lund where the historical and cultural museum packed with many exciting stories was visited first. A hike to Liland then gave an overview of nature and geology in the area and a glimpse into the mining history. After lunch packed by proud owner Moi hotell, a cultural trip to Sandbekk and Velferden and Rosland followed. Then dinner at Sogndalstrand Kulturhotell, paperwork and the day ended with a beautiful view to The Red Moon from the Moon eclipse!
Magma Geopark would like to thank its owners, active partners and all the other contributors that made this revalidation programme a success which was widely appreciated. And last, but not least, we thank the evaluators for coming to the geopark and engaging in the activities that were prepared. Now we are looking forward to the next step – final recommendation from UNESCO.