- This is Bulandet -
See also: Some local history
The island/farm Gillesøy/Gjelsa
further Down on this page.
Bulandet is the westernmost island group and fishing village in Norway. It is inhabited the whole year ;-)
This gem of a village is located in Askvoll municipality in Sogn og Fjordane. It consists of 365 islets and reefs, surrounded by narrow sounds and shallow straits. Though at times it may seem bare and windswept, it is still a paradise of wild flowers in bright colors and a wide variety of birdlife. Even the otter has returned.
The population is spread over a part of the islands, which are linked by roads and bridges.
In 2005 the road project "Nordsjøporten" was opened. This road links together Bulandet and the neighboring village in east, Værlandet. While previously the ferry sailed all the way to Bulandet, it now sails only as far as Værlandet. The main gateway to Bulandet is therefore different from the past and the rest of the journey is completed by car or bus.
The road “Nordsjøporten”, Rv 365, also won the "Most Beautiful Road`s prize" in 2006.
The 365 islets in Bulandet makes a very special landscape.
"Bulendingane", the inhabitants of Bulandet, number about 270 people.
They are characterized by an optimism and unmistakable sense of humour.
There is surely a lot of viking blood left in at least some of them. ;)
People out here speak a unique dialect, that is not always easy to understand. ;) There is a danger that it will be lost over time. We all have adapted through the years, yet it survives to this day..
The "Bulendingane" are a rare breed. We try to take good care of what we have out here - both people and surroundings, and hope that others will come here and experience this special place. If they take into consideration that the weather can change suddenly and dramatically, I am certain that they will not regret it. There is nothing alike elsewhere. ;)
Bulandet - a small country in the wide world,
but a big country in our hearts! ;-)
All the islets of Bulandet are composed of conglomerate, which contains an incredible variety of stone types and
Conglomerate is a sedimentary rock which is a composition of rock, stone or gravel bound in a matrix of sand, silt and / or clay that has petrified. The name comes from Latin that means mixture. The pieces that form conglomerate are usually rounded in contrast to the angular pieces that form breccia.
The history of Bulandet is long. It has been inhabited for a very long time. The first time it has been found mentioned in writings is in "Eigil-soga" (one of the old Norse tales) - where it was told that there were people who lived of fishing in a small village called "Vitar", located west of "Alden".
Later the eastern part of this area was called Værøy, named after the biggest island there, and the western part was called Bue.
But this created a lot of mess when the official post/mail`service started up. ;-) The mail to Værøy vas sent to Verøy in Lofoten (in the northern part of Norway, and the mail to Bue whent off to Bud, located in Møre. (a bit further north on the west coast)
Therefore a decision was taken to call the two island communities Værlandet and Bulandet.
After all that name, Bulandet, tells exactly what it is: (bu = live, landet = the country)
A country it is great to live in! ;-)
Fishing is still an important industry in the island community. Several vessels in the coastal fleet are based here. Also a sea longliner. We also have "a local" fishing industry..
Bulandet a thriving community and independent society, with its own 10-year school. You can also find the museum "theme park". consisting of "exhibits" from many years - The people out here have donated willingly of the exciting things that appear.
"It gets early late out here."
some Local history. The island/farm
Gillesøy / Gjelsa.
The island Gjelsa is one of the largest islands in Bulandet and is located near the middle of the archipelago.
Refering to written records dated from the early 1500s, and from what I know of the family and land owner
history, Gjelsa was until the end of1800`s
a single farm. But since there at times lived more than one family here, there were probably some very small
"rented places" within the main farm. They could of course not have included much farm land ;-) so the tendants
were simple fishermen, who probably "paid" the rent to the main farmer by working for him for parts of the year.
Again, like so many other places along the coast, the islands were "controlled" by the wealthy mercants. Mainly traders
in towns, who had jurisdiction over these areas, to raise taxes for the king. Even though the people
had been living and working here for centuries, they still held no title to the farm they worked and lived on.
In the late 1800s this was changed, when it was decided that the families who were working and living the ground were granted
title to the land. However they had to pay a sum for this right. ;-) I believe that many were not able to afford this.
My family came to it in this way:
My Great-great grandparents, Katrine and Knut, who farmed the land at that time, had many children. Most of them
traveled to America, with the exception of Marie, the second child. She was married to a teacher, Ole - and for a while they
lived on a different island in Bulandet, where the eldest children were born.
The oldest son of Katrine and Knut; Andreas (my great grandfather) also traveled to America. I wondered for a long time why he
returned, until I found out about this situation. Andreas came back with his fiancee (who was from Værlandet) - in 1894.
They lived the first years at the home of his parents. They were given permission to purchase the farm and along with
Marie and Ole they took up a loan to seal the deal. ;-) Marie and Ole moved back to Gjelsa at this point. In the document dated
18 - 24.jan.1898, the farm was split between Andreas and Ole in equal shares.
In 1898 Andreas also started to build a house on the northern part of the island and he relocated there in 1900, with his wife and
now three children. The island was then divided into two parts/farms/ - but nothing was concluded in writing until 1930;
"divided; into equal share, farm #1 Søre (Southern) Gjelsa, and farm #2, Nordre (Northern) Gjelsa, sheets. 10/24/1930."
Gjelsa has changeed name several times - between Gillesøy, Gjelsøy and Gjelsa. It is probably mostly as a result of changes in the language.
The first written used name I can find, is from the beginning of the 1500s - and has been recognized as Gillesøy. (Gilsøen) There have been
many discussions as to what the name suggests/means. And the many shifts between Gil and Gjel has confused many people. Some has gotten
the idea that Gjel is the original, therefor going back to Hjal in Norse, meaning rope (shouting) - but that makes no sense at all. ;-p
No one has come up with what I see as the most logical explanation. ;-)
Here is my "Not expert-approved" but very simple explanation for the name of this island;
The word Gjel, (from Old Norse; Gil) "drain or deep groove, narrow gorge"
This island is divided up in a special way. You can say it has the shape roughly of an uneven H. ;-)
At the Southwestern part of the H, is a steep "Håg", as we say (Height), and a gorge runs from the North
and South into the middle of the island, allowing the sea to get in.
Everything is related to a small area in the middle of the island - that can only be crossed at low tide. At high tide the sea went
straight through it all. On both sides of the northern part, cliffs go directly into the sea, and gives the feeling/view of a small gorge.
(*After the road was built, we can walk on dry land now, without thinking about the tide. ;-))
To the South
I have to say that a better example of a gorge "at sea" than on this island - is difficult to find. It was a natural passage to sail/row
through at high tide - and when low tide came, no one could get through with a boat. And there was instead an entire island, where
you could walk between the two sides of the H. ;-)
Because of this high/low tide cercumstances, it can be discussed if it shall be seen as one or two islands. On some maps
(as the one underneath on this page) you can find the names "Indre Gjelsa" (Inner) and "Ytre Gjelsa" (outer) sat as to be two islands.
Anyway, there should be no doubt about this; Gjelsa is "the island which is divided in two by a long gorge / gil / gjel."
So ... Gil - the Norse word is then the originally. Gilsøy/Gillesøy - easily turns into Gjelsøy - and then into Gjelsa - by changes in
the language. But people here went several times back to the prefix Gil - so I assume they once had a better understanding of all
this than we have today. We have to such a horrendous extent "made a mess" of our original language - Norse. ;-)
More local history; See also under "Pernillestø Guest Harbour".
One thing is for sure, had my great grandfather not returned from the Americas - I would not be here. ;-)) -
Ingrid A. Gillesøy -