In the sea west of Bømlo lies Espevær, half an hour’s rowing trip across the sound from Vespestadvågen. This is a well-run and well-maintained local community, established on the back of the rich herring fisheries in the 1850s. It is fishermen, skippers and the tradesmen who have made their mark on the culture in Espevær, with their contacts to the south towards Haugesund and across the North Sea to the British Isles.
The trading post down by the fjord at Kyrping does not belong to the oldest group of trading posts from the 1600s and 1700s. It was only after the liberalisation of the trading legislation that trade was established here.
There are only two buildings left of the old trading and guesthouse settlement in Skånevik. They are in the centre, close to the main road passing through the settlement. The other buildings that belonged to the place, the lodging house (“Holteriet”), the bakery, the courthouse, the boathouse and the sea house with the store, were pulled down in the last century.
For more than 350 years Engesund has been a place for hostelries and trading in the Fitjar islands. The place is centrally placed in the shipping lane, with a sheltered harbour close to the exposed Selbjørnsfjorden. Engesund was once part of the great network of historical stopover places on the coast.
The old trading post lies at the sound between Stord and Færøy in Langenuen. There was a country store and steamship forwarding agent up to 1964. The trade was then moved over to the new ferry harbour of Sandvikvåg.
Mountain plants with their beautiful, colourful flowers are common in high altitude areas in Norway. On the coast there are not so many of them. But, here and there one nonetheless finds mountain plants, and this makes some coastal mountainsides a little bit different. Perhaps the growth on these mountainsides gives us a little glimpse of a distant past?
Already in the Middle Ages the good harbour at Leirvik provided a connecting point. Here was a court of law, and a guesthouse was established here in the 1600s. But Leirvik never achieved the status of a trading post or a ship-loading place. In the census of 1865 parts of the farms Nordre Bjelland, Leirvik and Orninggård are mentioned as the “Coastal district of Lervig”. And the community grew around the old guesthouse location early in the 1800s.
The old hostelry centres were strategically placed with good harbours and anchoring conditions where people travelled. GODØYSUND, or Gøysundet, as it was called, was in the middle of Tysnes Parish, with easy access from the sea, also for the local population. Gøysundet is amongst the oldest hostelries in Sunnhordland.
Kubbervik, or Vikjo as it was known colloquially, must have been established as a trading post under the farm of Håland some time around 1600. The reason for this was probably the thriving trade on Scotland. Every year ships from the islands in the west came to buy lumber in Bårsund. Vikjo was the harbour in use, as the place is ideally situated on the route through Bårsund, the sound between Reksteren and Tysnesøy.