Historisk joggetur / Running with history

Uploaded by kulturnettvestfold on 06.06.2009

With Tor Bjørvik
The municipality of Larvik offers wonderful scenery with many historical remains of past times
For many years I have arranged what I call historical runs
Every Saturday we meet in Larvik and run for between 90 minutes and two hours
We run on old tracks and lanes, pausing at as many cultural remains as possible
We look for ruins of smallholder farms, potato cellars, summer farms and ice storage houses, charcoal pits and so on
People who lived here before made good use of what nature provided
They were much better than us at using what they found
Rolf Kvifte and Øyvind Grøn have joined us on today's run
This time we are only three, usually about six or seven come along
We are on our way up the Kisaker hill in search of the first charcoal pit, which I know is here somewhere
You mustn't mind a bit of shrubbery and prickly bushes
-Look at this enormous charcoal pit
We have reached the charcoal pit
It is on top of the hill, is quite big, about 12-13 metres in diameter, quite flat and perfectly round
This is one of the kilns where they produced charcoal for the ironworks in Larvik
The iron works were the largest in Norway for 200 years and needed huge amounts of charcoal
Try to imagine the equivalent of one horse cart load every three minutes
-What we are looking for right now is the hut where they stayed while the pit was burning. It took 14 days to burn the charcoal
Next to the charcoal pit are remains of the cabin where people lived during the carbonization stage
The pit burnt for two weeks and it was vital to monitor ventilation and to prevent burn-through
-This next charcoal pit has a much better hut
I had to check whether there really is a charcoal pit here
You have to dig a little and then you find the black charcoal
-Yes, here it is! To be absolutely sure, I take a small nibble of it
-Yes, it is quite crunchy
-This must be from 1758!
When I come home from the woods with black lips, then it's been a successful run
-There is obviously coal here
-Here it is
These are clearly the remains of a hut
-The farmers were required to provide a certain amount of charcoal every year
-The count owned the farms, and if they couldn't deliver, the farmers just had to leave
-Poor people. The count determined the price. It was a convenient way to do business
-How long did it take to construct a kiln?
-You had to reckon with one hundred man days to cut the timber and build up the kiln
-The logs were placed upright, tightly, as we can see, and formed a giant mound of logs
-With a channel down the middle. Then they lit it and left it to burn for about 14 days
-14 days?
-Yes, a huge kiln could produce about 50 horse cart loads of charcoal
On this run we actually got a bit lost
And that's often when you discover something new, as when Øyvind found another charcoal pit
Also in the Skisaker forest. That was the highlight of the day
-Yes, this is also charcoal
-A new pit discovered today!
It is plotted carefully on the map
Fortunately, there are many fixed points around with several precipices
This is an excellent map, one used for orienteering, so it is easy to pinpoint the new pit
-Great. Thanks!
-We found it because I ran the wrong way
-Some of the farms here in Tjølling were built on clay, which means they dug out potato cellars in the woods
-Their size suggests that they were intended for more than one household. There are many remains of potato cellars around here
-Another interesting story. This is where the Tenvik boats were built. The boats were used by sea pilots
-The finished boats were transported to the coast on wagons pulled by both horses and people
-That was quite a strenuous job
The harbour at Ula is very sheltered and has lots of interesting history
The old settlement of Ula is on the east side of the harbour
Now we are at sea level by the parking lot built on the shallow beach
And just behind the beach was the famous Ula Strandhotell with its lively restaurants
There are very few sheltered coves on the outer side of Torsøya
Which explains why they settled in Ula early. People made their living from fishing, shipping and piloting
These days Ula is mostly a summer place. A few people live here year round
But it's definitely more lively here in the summer time
-Ulabrand did love a drink
-Erecting a statue of him in Ula was not very popular
-People regarded him as a good-for-nothing who only fought and drank
-This is just the spot to commemorate a sea pilot
-That small white cottage with the chimney over there
Ulabrand lived in the little house we see to the west
He had a short walk down to his ship in the harbour, well sheltered behind the headland
This is an old picture from Ula, showing the old houses
Most of them still standing, and with Ulabrand's house in the foreground
The memorial to Ulabrand is perfectly located
We see him gazing out to the sea that eventually took his life
There were many pilots who perished at sea, and it was in treacherous weather the pilot's services were needed
-We go on a historical run every Saturday
-Just come along and join us, we meet at the Nanset Club house
Up here were the firing positions to defend Ula and Norway from the English invasion
Something the Germans feared, naturally
Everything the Germans did, and which had a huge impact on the scenery
And that they spent a lot of time and manpower on, was quite wasted
Like so much that has to do with war
Perhaps everything
North of the beaches at Ula there is a beautiful area around Refsås lake with old settlements
We have found remains from the Stone Age around here and the whole area has been nicely cleared
I have to admit I'm not much good at botany, zoology and stuff like that
So I don't hear the birds singing, I don't notice the flowers, all I see is history
At the end of our run we put on a spurt and got a bit hot and sweaty
And that's the point, to get some proper training
So you see, that is our business idea, to combine history and keeping fit
-This is very good, Tor!
-We have spent a bit too much time, though
-Great run
-We started at about four thirty? We've been gone about two hours then
-And so many cultural insights. And a new charcoal pit!
-Yes, that was the best part. Thanks very much, Øyvind, I don't know how to thank you
-You just need a bit of charcoal in the corner of your mouth
-I guess I licked it off
Translation Karin Erlingsen
Tor Bjørvik has registered more than 20 000 cultural remains throughout the county of Vestfold!