A dugnad is a uniquely Norwegian experience, whereby members of the community come together to work on a common goal. Last Saturday, as part of the Nordic Pillar of the college programme, a group of students were lucky enough to take part in raising a boat, the Bakkejeta, out of the water for the winter, with the nearby villagers of Holmedal.

The Bakkejeta is a replica of one originally built in the eighteenth century, to carry supplies such as flour, fish and cows to Bergen. Normally such boats would be jointly owned by several local farms; however, a particularly wealthy farm known as Bakke owned the original boat. The original is in a museum in Førde, so it was obviously built well! In the winter it is important to take wooden boats out of the water, to undertake maintenance and protect them from inclement weather. The RCN students were glad to help out.

The day started with a boat ride down the fjord to Holmedal. A scenic half an hour later, it was time to get to work. The first job of the day was to remove the ballast from the boat. Between everyone involved, over a ton of rock was shifted, which is testament to the team work displayed throughout the day. This team work was needed even more later on, when the time came to pull the boat from the water. Under the direction of Øystein, who took charge of the operation, the team maneuvered the boat from the water into its shed for the winter. Even though it was hard work, the team pulled together and succeeded.

On the day we were also given a tour round Holmedal, which was a brilliant opportunity to explore the local area. The man (Per Arne) leading the tour had ancestors in the village from the fourteenth century, so there was certainly a lot of heritage to explore! Overall it was a fantastic day out, and a chance to experience some Norwegian heritage. Thank you to Ragnhild for organizing the trip – we can’t wait to help take Bakkejeta out in the spring!

Lauren Trumper