A detailed study of a proglacial bedrock site and a subglacial cavity of an outlet of Øksfjordjøkelen, Norway, is presented together with observations from the foreland of Konowbreen, Spitsbergen. Striation directions and subglacial observations indicate that local ice-flow paths were highly variable, deviating at angles of approximately 90° from the main ice-flow direction. Stepped bedrock topography appears conducive to the production of highly variable ice-flow paths, because the high bed roughness creates a locally variable stress regime within the ice, including low-pressure, lee-side areas into which ice can flow. If ice flow is sustained along a specific path and the ice contains debris, then abrasion should produce an erosional bedform. Models are proposed whereby locally variable ice-flow patterns could produce erosional bedforms, which would be described as p-forms, purely through mechanical abrasion.