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Whoever wanders the mountain plateau will form time to time hit upon old mountain summer farms, with solid old stone sheds, half sunk into the ground; a building tradition that has roots into prehistoric times. When we have been satiated with untouched Nature, it is somewhat comforting to come upon the old mountain chalets - they represent a type of human encroachment that we not only accept, but appreciate. They arouse a feeling of recognition and are a distinct witness to how people in the rural communities have made use of even the most remote resources.
The transport exchange on the farm Vik in Eidfjord was an important part of the communication network in older times. This is where people secured transport by boat out in the fjord, those travelling across the mountain from east and down into Måbødalen. The transport exchange was situated at “Wiige grund”. Today the highway cuts through the farmyard; the main farmhouse from the 1800s lies on the upper side of the road, the large sea-house, with a bakery in former times, lies close to the fjord.
In the steep hillside in Hjølmodalen, a small side valley from Øvre Eidfjord (Upper Eidfjord), which has been a key entrance to the Hardanger Plateau, the hamlet of old farmhouses still lie clustered together. The yard is empty today, some of the houses are used in the summer, but the grass grows round all the corners.
Måbø is the uppermost farm in Måbødalen. This narrow and steep mountain valley has been one of the routes from the fjord communities up to the mountain plateau from times immemorial. We are not certain of the meaning of the name Måbø. Perhaps it has its origin in an Old Norse male name Mávi, from the name for seagull, már. The last syllable “bø” means farm. Today Måbø gives us a compact close-up of the subsistence economy: the small farm with the clearance piles, stone walls and a lane that guided the animals into the yard, at the foot of the great mountain expanse.
Hernar is a small group of islands northwest of Seløy, an old outlying harbour on the western route. This is where ships were lying in wait for favourable weather before heading out west, and this is where the ships from the western Isles came in. Hjeltefjorden is proof of this. The fjord is named after the people from Hjaltland (Shetland).
On the farm Hjelmo, furthest north in Øygarden, in the innermost part of a long bay, there is a fine boatshed collection with a church beside it. From times immemorial this has probably been the fish-shed location for these farm units and this was also the landing place for the churchgoers.
When the workers came to Kollsnes to start on the work with the landing for the gas terminal from the Troll field in the North Sea, they found the ruins of an old farm mill at Kvernapollen.
Frekhaug has been a large farm with well-off owners through many generations. The main house, a two storey building with a hipped roof, must have been erected about 1780.
If you come by sea to Bergen and come up the Herdle Fjord, the yellow ochre marine shed at Holmeknappen is a well known landmark to starboard as you come close to the little shore settlement. In olden days Holmenknappen served important functions as a centre for a wide hinterland of the surrounding farms, warehouse, landing point, country store and later a steamer quay, a hotel (1896) and a dairy (1909). But today Holmeknappen is no longer a focal point. Transport and commercial routes have changed the old pattern