The ice run was built mainly of thin towers and started in a valley or depression. The foundation plunged a height of 2200 Fod (old measurement equivalent to a foot, or ca. 30.5 cm) over sea level, over the farms Reisæter, Måkestad and Bleie, down to the shipping bay. The length is roughly 8000 Fod, the slope from 1 to 3 to 1 to 4. At the sea the track ended in a big curve, as it turns along the fjord and ran along with it for approx. 300 Fod until it ended in a 2 story pack-house 100 fod long, 40 fod wide, which was built for the temporary retention of the ice." («Bergensposten», 23rd of August, 1874). Illustration from «Illustreret Nyhedsblad» (Illustrated News Magazine) 1875.
ICE TO ENGLAND
"What an adventure it was, that big ships came from foreign lands, to collect something so simple as ice. They came like a gust from the wider world, to a little, forgotten village society", wrote local historian Knut L.Måge.
Bleie in Ullensvang and Bondhus in Kvinnherad were the setting for an untraditional industry in the 1800s: sale of glacial ice for export. Most ice was shipped out from Skiparvik at Bleie. The ice here was most easily available: from Fonna ice raced down, at least 100 metres, and gathered in an ice field. From there, the terrain sloped evenly down to the sea.
Loads of ice left from Bleie to England from 1825 until 1875, but the harvest was irregular. The transport work was hard, since much of the ice was carried by backpack. In 1852 the ship "Countess" from Warwick collected 300 tonnes in one load, with 276 local women and men engaged in the transport work.
Even though some loads gave a good income, it was never a big industry. Effort was made to breathe new life into the industry with the construction of an ice track, mainly of wood, in 1874. It was a fiasco: the construction was too weak, and the track was dismantled a short time after. There are still iron remains from the ice track.
- Ingdal, S. E.; Torske, T.; Kvale, A. 2000. Geologisk kart over Norge, berggrunnskart Jondal 1:50 000. Norges geologiske undersøkelse.
- Måge, K. L. 1959–1961. Istransporten frå Bleie. Hardanger Historielag Tidsskrift. Bd. III.
- Torske, T. 1982. Structural effects on the Proterozoic Ullensvang Group (West Norway) relatable to forceful emplacement of expanding plutons. Geol. Rundsch. 71:104–119.