Lake Vänern is one of a kind – a paddlers dream. With its 22 000 islands and islets the lake has unique archipelagos with shallow waters in a wild and untamed environment – perfect for adventurous kayakers to explore.
Mostly Nordic EcoTours start their 1- 4 day guided kayaking tours from Ekenäs – the south end of the peninsula Värmlandsnäs, Säffle community. Here you find the biggest archipelagos of lake Vänern – Millesvik and Lurö. Hundreds of uninhabited islands will welcome you in an unspoiled environment.
The horizon can be seen in east and west direction. Southwards the archipelago is waiting with its islands and islets. It’s an amazing freshwater world to explore and also to discover its beauty.
The weather can change dramatically in a very short time, from no waves at all to one meter high waves in half an hour, out in the open waters.
Skilled instructors will guide you the safest track protected by islands. We adapt the tour to the groups ability and interest.
Time for lunch after some hours paddling passing unnumbered islands with spectacular names such as “Tyskland” (Germany), Hökön “(The Hawk island”) and “Hammaren” (the Hammer).
Long time ago in the early 18th and 19th century som people lived here all year long. They were fishing and farming and some were working as lighthouse keepers. You will also find an old boat station at Aspholmen, service station in olden days for small ships that were loaded with cargo. Today it’s a little harbour adapted for tourists.
On the east side of the island you can visit the remains of an old church. The monks’ pilgrims route passed here in the Middle ages.They came from the south side of lake Vänern, from monasteries (eg Varnhem) on their way to Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim. .
Happy kayakers after a day in the nature reserve Lurö Skärgård (archipelago)
Krokstad Manor park lies beautifully along the old Vikings route by river Byälven. 19 persons from UMV Coating System AB met up for an adventurous kayaking trip. For most of them it was their first time to test a See Kayak.
Before launching we had to do some basic settings in the kayaks. Then a short “dry” lesson on shore about how to paddle and discussions about safety off shore.
Birgitta is giving some advice how to move/paddle safely together in a group. After a while we could start paddling with one instructor in the lead and one backing up the group from behind.
The guided tour followed gently down the stream to the turning point – a little island covered with trees. Then up stream behind a bigger island in a reed canal with a lot of singing birds around. We saw a lot of beaver tracks such as felled aspen trees and beaver paths on the shoreline.
Thank’s for good company! You learned very well in a very short time!
The first of June delivered extra good weather conditions for our premiere kayak course at Duse Udde lake Vänern. Five young men from Herrgårdsgymnasiet with their PE teacher made our day. After introduction about the kayak, canoeing and saftey on water we were ready to launch.
After some practise in the bay the guys felt comfortable to leave for a trip close to the shoreline.
Gentle paddling across the mouth of river Byälven, close to the reeds and rocks. After a while we had a nice break for snacks.
From sheltered waters we headed to more open waters. The group tested paddling in different wave and wind conditions. They developed their skills and began to act like a homogene group.
Time for lunch break! After the rest it was time to test the floats as we decided to make an open water crossing back to the starting point.
After 5 hours training the group had tested the basic tecniques of paddling and did very well. Thank you for nice company!
Lake Vänern is a huge, unique lake resembling the ocean with its sea like character with bare cliffs and islets and a free horizon without land in sight. With its 22 000 islands, islets and skerries it is the largest sweet water archipelago in northern Europe.
There are shallow inlets and bays rich in fish, sandy beaches, islands and shores with interesting flora and fauna.
No wonder a lot of birds thrive here. More than 30 000 gulls and terns are found here. The most common bird of preys are marsh harriers, ospreys and hobbies but in the areas we paddle the white tailed eagle is common. Imagine sitting in the kayak with the eagle above you in the sky or sitting by the camp fire in the evening watching and listening to the magic sounds of the loons.
A whole summer awaits us on lake Vänern. From the middle of June to the end of August we are ready to Search Explore and Discover! Are you ready to join us? Our Kayaking Base Camp is situated at Duse Udde camping Säffle and we also operate from Krokstad Mansion Säffle.
After miles and miles of skating we were longing to get out in the kayak on open waters. It was both winter and spring in the air. The bare rocks were covered with a thin layer of snow, nice slush on the shore but we got our reward of spring – special meetings with different migrant birds and the joy of paddling in a calm archipelago apart from calling sounds of eiders and plovers.
The kayak is ready – the snow is brushed off
From ice to water!
Towards the sun
There was almost no wind, -5 degrees C and clear sky. Could it be better? Our goal was the seal colony about 4 km south. After paddling a couple of kilometers over oyster and mussels banks we spotted a welcomed guest – our first Oyster Catcher! Yipppeee – spring is arriving.
We are still reminded of winter
Our first three Ringed plovers for this year on rocky islet
Crispy clear air
Slowly, slowly and silently we approached the seal colony. From a distance we saw them lying on the islets but sadly they were too shy for us. All of them dived down and curiously they observed us from the water. BUT – to our delight we came really close to about 15 purple sandpipers. Some purple sandpipers stay in our region over winter but most of them migrate to southern Europe before they come back. Were these migratory birds or had they stayed here all winter?
One seal left on the islet – the others are in the water
Foraging Purple sandpipers
Masters of flight
Resting on a snow covered shelf
The sandpipers flew south – we turned back to our starting point in tail wind. So fantastic.
Only a 7 km trip but it gave us so much inspiration, energy and hope for new experiences and adventures and a feeling of the wonderful spring season which is already here.
As we say – the big adventure is sometimes just by the corner. It doesn´t have to take too much planning and effort to experience if you have the right equipment and be open to use all your senses to take in what nature offers you.
Would you like to join us? Please send us a mail to email@example.com and we will plan your dream experience in unspoilt nature!
Starting point Heestrand Bohuslän and Medevi Brunn Östergötland
Nordic Skating offers you exclusive experiences, from desolate lakes in deep forests to populated areas in cultural landscapes with buildings reminding us of days gone by. Our last great trip took place on Lake Båven, situated in county Södemanland, south west of Stockholm The lake is formed like an octopus, with a lot of islands, which makes it very interesting to skate around. We were skating on magic black ice and made our tour between castles and mansions from 1600’s. It’s a very special feeling to admire the beauty of all these buildings from the “water front”.
Straight in the direction of a castle
Beach house , Edeby mansion
… and a little playhouse by Edeby Mansion
The rooster guarding
Övre Torp Mansion
Spying falcon – Rockelsta castle
We couldn’t resist a short early morning trip on lake Mälaren to see Gripsholm Castle in the crispy and fresh sunny morning. The castle is known as our first king Gustav Wasa’s castle. He founded the castle in 1537. The colourful ice yachts were a special contrast to the solid castle. Close to the castle another beautiful building showed its inviting frontage.
View over Gripsholm Bay
Sometimes pictures tell more than words……
Inviting ice and golden sun
Alder trees on tiny island
Miles and miles of perfect ice
Happy in the sun after lunch break
You never cease to marvel at the beauty of the ice.
Perches left by ice fisher
Different ice patterns are never boring
Who is the painter?
Nice pause in the sun
And if you get tired of looking down on the ice , you can always look up at the sky and find new phenomenas.
Along the reeds
Feeling of spring
Crossing the sun
Beautiful end of the trip
Being out in nature is always something new. You can never imagine what you will experience!
Sommen – a lake in the borderland of Östergötland and Småland – with an area of 132 square kilometers and as many islands as the number of days of the year. Formed as a shape of an octopus. The tale tells that the lake is created by the hoof of the prehistoric cow. With miles and miles of untouched shorelines. To skate in the numerous bays, over ice of clear waters and under steeps is an adventure. In summer lake Sommen is an eldorado for all kinds of outdoor life but now in winter you can experience the total tranquility.
The first sunny day in a long time. Ready for skating
Sunny side of the hill
Low water level
The surface couldn’t be better
Mjölon (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Under the steep hills
Our pictures show that the day was fantastic. Blue sky, almost no wind and perfect ice!
Safe ice along a crack
Meandering around erratic blocks
Time for a break
Skating in this area takes you back to prehistoric times and you feel the giant forces from the inland ice.
Large blocks – small man
Well placed boathouse
Steep hill – even smaller man
On our way home
The final count down
Today’s skating was only a little, little part of the lake. There is so much more to explore!
We are always ready to search, explore and discover together with you!
County Östergötland offered us wonderful skating conditions. Two days’ skating on Lake Stråken and Lake Regnaren in wild and silent nature. No cars, no noise – just we and nature.
Our first tour around Lake Stråken was mysterious. The fog enveloped us like a soft, warm blanket.
Smooth hard ice
Loads of aspen trees – beavers’ favourite food
Into the fog
Mansion Olivehult appears
Finding our way back home
Two days later we found a new favourite lake – Lake Regnaren. Hidden in the forest lies this gem with many islands, bays and sounds. A culture lanscape in a mining area since the 1700’s. We started our trip around the lake near Regnaholm Manor– a storied mansion and even a botanical interesting place. The original family tree to a Swedish famous apple variety “Gyllenkrok Astrakan” grows here.
Rock with gull’s nest. Regnaholm Manor in the background
Rock covered with a Sphagnum “pillow”
Ice formed from Sphagnum “sponge”
We had a quiet and restful skating marvelling the richness of nature. For a while we were accompanied by two Sea eagles. Now all small lakes are frozen. Where do they find food? Do they fly to the Baltic Sea for which is not far away for fishing or do they find other food as hares, minks and carcasses?
Ice pattern – smooth as a curling alley
Ice formed after frozen drain hole
You never stop being amazed by different ice
We met some happy skaters
Narrow passage to Övre Hävla Bruk
After 5 hours on ice we headed back home looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure – Lake Sommen in the southern part of Östergötland.
“We really loved and enjoyed the skating in the fairytale scenery and the perfect ice conditions.” These are words from two Dutch skaters and nature lovers. The dates were set and most of the lakes in Sweden were covered with snow. BUT lake Vansjöen in Norway offered solid ice and good skating conditions. Unfortunately our first day, Wednesday 11th January, was stormy and the rain poured down. Nothing stopped us – we made us ready to force the weather.
Happy skaters defy the weather
The storm howls and the rain pours
Wonderful surface with a bit of water
After a short skating we went into our car to check more ice inland. Unfortunately it was snowing, so the desicion to go back to lake Vansjöen next day was right. We were a bit worried that there should be “overice” but the surface was hard, solid and dry. It couldn´t be better!
Ready steady go…
Thick shiny ice
Satistied after some kilometres skating
Off we went following the west shore of the island Dillingöia. Almost at the southern point we were stopped by thinner ice. We had forced the headwind and the tailwind on our way back was pure pleasure.
Behind the island
Here we go!
Silent glide in tailwind and sunset
Hot drinks in the sunset
After a nice break we were ready to skate back to our starting point.
Looking forward to the last kilometres
As we said the first days – it can only be better. And it did! Some degrees below zero, almost no wind and blue sky. We went back to the same starting point as the day before hoping for even thicker ice after a cold night. We were right. Where we couldn´t skate yesterday it was possible this day. But as always – we had to watch out. After so heavy rains the water has to flow out in the sea and there are many exposed places where to pay attention. Especially points and sounds.
Beaver hut! Wonder if they heard us.
Glide, glide, glide…
Towards the south again
Desicion where to continue
After a good time of skating we stopped for a break, had a nice fire and were waiting for the dark. It was full moon night. We waited and waited for the moonrise but the forest and the hills concealed the moon. We had a nice skating with our headlamps and arrived back to our car in dark. After less than 1 km we met the yellow, full shining moon. A good end of three wonderful days out on ice!
Is there a better way than starting the new year on perfect ice? New years day 2017 blessed us with 46 km fantastic skating around lake Mökeren, just by the border to Sweden.
Sunrise over the tree tops
Black grouse’s droppings
We captured the moment to be out on the ice just before sunrise. To our luck we heard the wonderful sounds of black grouse on the other side of the lake. Droppngs on the ice showed that they had been here before.
Fantastic skating surface
Quick stop for filling up water bottle
Nordic skating isn’t just the joy of skating. It gives you such wonderful nature experiences. We met a squirrel, followed some ravens and passed by a beaver hut. You could see the activity of chopped birches and the open water outside the hut. The beavers are really social animals. Inside the hut the family has different rooms where they spend their days and nights during winter time. The entrance to the hut is below the water surface to keep predators away.
Newly chopped birch
Open space outside the hut
Gnawed piece of wood frozen into the ice
After some nice refreshing pauses we were happy to skate round the lake on perfect ice and were back to the car just at sunset.
Shoes need to tighten
The winter solstice 2016 was December 21st. Now the days are getting longer and longer. We are looking forward to many skating tours 2017!