Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article

Published 07. July 1999

Last update 07. July 2021




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The old road between Rimstad and Berstad

Between the farms of Rimstad and Berstad there used to be an old road, used by pilgrims, postmen and local people alike. There are still many traces of this road. In 1991, a march was organized along the old postal road from Selje and Bryggja.

From the road above Eide in Selje we can see across to Berstad with the ascent to the strip of land called Berstadeidet.

From the road above Eide in Selje we can see across to Berstad with the ascent to the strip of land called Berstadeidet.

Owner: I Årbok for Nordfjord 1991.

Date: 1991.

Photographer: P. Eide.

New road in the 1820s

The old postal route between Bergen and Trondheim passed by way of Utvik. Selje and the other western villages of Nordfjord were not included. In 1820, a new route was added along the fjord so Selje could be included as well. This route followed the valley of Rimstaddalen which was probably an old pilgrim's path. With the arrival of steamboats the postal routes had to be changed. From now on the post was more and more transported by boats. The old postal routes further inland went gradually out of use. The postal routes had to serve the general public too, not only high-ranking officials.

Between Berstad and Rimstad

Across the strip of land called Eidet between the farms of Berstad in the Moldefjord and Rimstad in the valley of Rimstaddalen there was an old road. From the farm gate of Berstad and up towards the lake, the road is laid mostly on bare rock. Wherever there was any soil or bog in between the knolls, big stone slabs were laid to keep the road dry and firm enough for people and horses to pass. Along the northern side of the lake much work has been done to clear and level off the passageway in the screes. From the lake up to Løypinga the road has been dug into the ground to a width of two ells (about four feet), which was the minimum width (the length of a spear) for riding trails in former times. Further along the strip of land towards Rimstad, traces can be found of bridges and built road. These traces are best seen along the lake of Vaulevatnet. These traces are a clear testimony that in former times this was a road where a lot of effort was made to keep it in a good condition.

Not by boat or car

In the 1920s, Francis Bull and Sigrid Undset were on their way to the monastery at Selje. They did not think it right to get there by noisy car or motorboat. For this reason they went from Bryggja and followed the old road across the strip of land called Berstadeidet. The first postal route in the outer parts of Nordfjord was established by royal decree on 2 December, 1823 with Eide in Selje as its only post office. The fist post master was Lars Hansson Eide.

In winters with heavy snowfall, it must have been heavy going for the postmen. In 1842, Lars Hansson Eide applied for a financial increase in his job of delivering post from 36 to 60 shilling per 10 kilometres. This was accepted by the municipal council. At the same time, the council pointed out that it was necessary to improve the road standard across Eidet. Different persons delivered the post; frequently men from the Sammel farm at Rimstad did the job. Later on, special postmen were employed, wearing uniform and carrying sable and post-horn.

The postman Jacob Pisani

Stories still circulate locally about Jakob August Pisani who for many years in the 1860s was postman on the route between Ålesund - Vanylven - Eide - Bryggja - Utvik. He was of Italian descent, big and strong with an impressive beard. At Lemmane on the northern side of the lake of Berstadvatnet there is a spring with excellent drinking water, open all year round. To this day people at Berstad still call this the Pisani brook. At Øyra there are remnants of a lot which is called the Pisani lot. Formerly there was a small cottage there where he could spend the night whenever he needed to. On the municipal border between Berstad and Rimstad wild pine trees grow and there we also find a bog called "Futemyra". The origin of the name is said to be one of the Danish bailiffs who got stuck in the bog there. At the anniversary of the Bryggja post office in 1991, a march was organized along the old postal route both from Selje and Bryggja.

The Dale boathouses at Totland

Formerly people from Rimstad had their boathouses on the farm of "Indre Totland" where they had the right to tether their horses whenever they used the boathouses and boats. Behind the Dale boathouses there is an enclosure used as a pasture for the horses when their owners were out at sea. The old road from Rimstad and down to the sea went down the valley of Rimstaddalen and across the flat fields of Totland. When the trading post of Bryggja was established, the road line was moved to Åsen, then down the valley of Langedalen in an undulating terrain until the ascent at Runnshaug. It is highly likely that the pilgrims who came by boat in the olden days, landed at the Dale boathouses and then followed the old road up along Rimstaddalen. There are also many stories about young men from Bryggja who went to church at Selje along this old road, and some of them even found their future spouses this way.

See geometric position on detailed map at Fylkesatlas or on a 3D-map at Google Maps by clicking on the 3D-button down to the right at the Google-map.


Årbok for Nordfjord 1991.