History of Sagmestereidet

See also the History of Bindalsbruk and Plahte’s properties.
(E-book by Arvid Sveli)

The property is called the disused farm, the remains of which we see close to the cabin here. The place has also been called Sagmestereidet, a name that tells that there was once a sawmill on the Eide river. Ner-Eide (Nedre Eidet) is also a term that has been used, especially by people in Vassbygda who traveled through this waterway to the main village. There is another eide further in, Øvereidet, between Fjellvatn and Eidevatn.

The narrow passage between Harangsfjellet and Tuvfjellet, from Øvereidet and out to the fjord, has been a gateway from the inner area. At first it was probably the ice sheet that formed a glacier arm out here. We can clearly see the scour marks in the mountain sides from Øvereidet and beyond along Eidevatn. Especially in the narrow mountain pass at Øvereidet, the marks after the ice scouring are very clear, and there must have been a very strong tidal current there later, while the sea level was higher than now. The huge potholes there testify to that. Most of what is now called Vassbygda was once below sea level, and connected to the fjord outside only through this narrow rock gorge.

The village of Vassbygda was completely without a road connection until World War I. There were only footpaths out the mmmmerfløiting. The flute teams always had long stays here. Fjøyting in the river could take time, because one was dependent on proper water flow. A floating pond was built at the outlet of Lake Eidevatn, but it did not come until the post-war years. In the past, they had little to do in “open water”, or a makeshift dam was set up from timber they “borrowed” from the boom – (the term for a section of timber that is ringed inside a boom by logs joined together with iron chains). When the timber had landed in the sea, it had to be “mushroomed”. That is to say, it was pulled together in large rafts (mushrooms) for towing to sawmills or wood sanders. The timber was cross-laid in many layers and lashed with wires. Sopping was labor intensive and took a lot of time.

In some years, larger batches of firewood were also flown, which were thrown ashore and piled on the rocks along the sea. It was sold to people on the forestless islands and out on the coast, or to buyers who took boatloads for resale. The wood-whistling had to wait until the timber-whistling was finished, and it could drag on until well into the autumn.

Forestry and logging on a larger scale started around 1875, when a steam sawmill was built on Risøya a little further out in the Harangsfjorden. During the 10 years that Risøbruket was in operation, large quantities of timber came out of this watercourse every year, and it was timber of huge dimensions from primeval forest that had never been cut in before. We do not know how big the lots were at that time, but as recently as in the 1940s, about 5,000 m3 could be flown every other year from Bindalsbruk’s forests in Vassbydga.

In Risøbruket’s time, there were many visiting forest workers and pipers at work, and there was a mixed gathering of people from many parts of the country and from Finland and Sweden. Every summer when the chord was finished they held thunderous parties with liquor in abundance. Then things could go pretty wild. During one such party, there was a giant from the flute team who went berserk in the living room at Eidet. The elders in the flute team couldn’t do anything with him, and people were beaten depraved and thrown out, while the furniture in the house was about to turn into stickwood, it is said. The man on the farm then ran to the emergency room for help. Old Ola, the farm boy who was in his 80s, had been a giant of completely unusual dimensions, and he still had strength to spare. He didn’t let himself be asked twice and strolled over to the main building where the demolition was going on. When the berserker would not listen to warnings, the old man grabbed his neck and buttocks, held him with outstretched arms, shook him like an empty sack and threw him with tremendous force straight out the door. It suddenly became quiet on the farm, and the choirmaster took his staff and strolled calmly and contentedly back to the choir room.

The Fløiterlaget spent many weeks at Eidet each year, but they had no household here until the late 1930s, when the “Fløiterstua” was built. The dam you see remains of today was also built at this time. The people were allowed to lie on the barn floor on the farm. There was no possibility to dry clothes there, but they usually arranged themselves so that they had dry underwear that they could put on when they were going to sleep. When they went to work, they had to put their wet clothes back on. I myself have been involved in this when I was 15 years old, in late autumn with a lot of rain and sleet.

We do not know when a sawmill was first built at the Eideelva, but the materials for the construction of the Risømill were cut here – whether it was a sawmill built for the occasion, or an older mill. The first water shed we know of in Bindal was built around 1650 by Sheriff Tarald Gaupen. We do not know where it was located, but it is not unlikely that it was here at Eidet. There is no watercourse on the farm Gaupen. In 1770, an extensive discretionary forest assessment was held, i.a. in Vassbygda. Driving to waterways and whistling is described as a mode of transport, and the rate must have had a connection with sawmill operations or plans for such at the waterway here.

Milling has been done by the Eide River since ancient times. An incident from the 1740s testifies to that. then there was a boat team from outer Bindal that had been to Eidet and had grain ground. On the way home, they made a fire by the beach on Hovøya in Harangsfjorden to cook porridge. The result of this was a forest fire that scorched the entire 1,600-acre island. It is part of the story that a bear that was there was surrounded by the flames and sought to enter a cave where it perished. The skull of this bear can still be found at the site.

The last user on the site, Axel Eide, was a versatile man. In his youth, he spent several years in Finnmark, where he had his own boat and went fishing. After he took over the operation of the small farm here with his brother, he was also a forest worker, carpenter and boat builder and a typical handyman. At the age of 78, in 1973 he was captain of a Bindal boat, a six-ring, sailing from Harangsfjord to Oslo. It was all organized by the weekly Vi Menn in an attempt to save the thousand-year-old art of boat building in Bindal, which was then on its way to disappearing for good. His crew was Alf Imøy from Bindal and Ragnar Thorseth – the later famous Viking ship sailor and polar explorer. This trip was widely discussed in the media at home and abroad, and afterwards orders for Bindals boats poured in from all over. The old boat builders could once again find their tools, and courses were held to train new ones. In the wake came the Bindals boat regattas, and the popularity of this unique boat has since grown steadily.

At that time, Aksel had left Eidet. His brother and family moved in 1967. Aksel lived alone at Eidet for half a year, then he also moved. He bought a small farm in Gaupen and lived there until he died in 1983. Since Aksel moved, the Eidet farm has been deserted. The lorry has replaced whistling in timber transport, and for most of the year it is only the dure from the Eideelva that breaks the great silence. The infield is overgrown with forest and only the large piles of stones from old-time tillage tell something about the struggle of generations for a living in an age of subsistence farming.

The Eide river has been known as a good sea trout and salmon river. It happens that the occasional sea trout goes up into the river. The Bindalsfjord is considered to be the sea trout’s southern limit.
– “When mother put the pot of potatoes on, the children and I went and cleared the ground, ran to the river and got the dinner”, Aksel once told us.

Leilendingsgarden Eide had the right to fish in the river, and they took good care so that no unauthorized persons got in. There was good supervision that kept any predatory fishermen away. They fished with nets in the water above the outlet. They never gave any information about how much fish they got, but there are certainly significant quantities of sea trout and salmon that have gone to buyers on the other side of the Bindalsfjord.

This is not the waterway for large salmon. The biggest fish we have heard of from this river is a sea trout caught on a rod in July 1990. It weighed a whopping 9.8 kilos, and I’m sure not many bigger than this have been caught in the whole country. There are otherwise many who have had pure dream catches in this river, so the possibility is probably still present if the weather and water level are suitable and the fishing luck is good.

But should your fishing luck fail for a few days, there are opportunities for other nature experiences, such as mountain hikes in magnificent, albeit demanding, terrain.

Aksel Eide told that for a time there lived a silversmith at Eidet. He retrieved the silver from his own mine somewhere inside Urstjønndalen. On Eidet there were silver spoons that this man had made, but no one has yet found his silver source. – Maybe it’s waiting for you?

And in the mountains, somewhere between Eidevatn and Øvre Ursvatn, there are supposed to be cave deposits of unknown extent. They have never been unsearched.

A final remark: A large part of the names on the new topographic maps have been confused and the meaning in them misunderstood by one or another name expert.

Written by Arvid Sveli 1992

The author, former forester Arvid Sveli, was associated with the property’s forest department for some early working years. As Vassbygding, as an outdoorsman, as an expert on forests and natural resources, and as someone who has traveled almost everywhere in forests and fields in the areas around here, he knows much of this better than anyone. He has written a little about many places we rent today out for hunting and fishing; – places which in many cases have a long and different history.