The warm winter with no skatable ice in “our regions” – southern part of Sweden – brought us further north with our Canadian Skating Friend. The region “Tiomilaskogen” between county Värmland and Dalarna felt like a coincidence – skating in the tracks of Finnish people. Our last skating trip was to Finland and this is the region to where the Finns emigrated in the beginning of the 17th century. There was famine in Finland and our king Karl IX offered land in this part of Sweden which was totally inhabited. Nowadays the journey from Finland to this region is less than a day and night. It took a couple of years for our immigrants to reach their new settlements.
Inviting and hopeful
It goes on ...
... and on
Difficult to get on shore
A golden eagle in the sky was attacked by ravens. It just got out of our sight - and there the beautiful sky
Admiring the giant boulders
Moss on boulder
All these lakes are parts of regulated water systems to extract electricity. It means that the water level differs a lot during the year (between 2 – 5 meters). The eco system is affected in a negative way. Fish species that migrate can’t do it anymore because of the dams, tubes and locks. Earlier these lakes had lots of salmon, eel and trout. Nowadays you find pike, perch, roach, whitefish and different carps. The beavers can’t build their lodges by the lake because the water level fluctuates. Beavers mean a lot to biodiversity.
System Lake Lövsjöarna
Ready to skate in snow fall
Smooth black ice without cracks under thin cover of snow
This is what the ice age left
Lots of edible lingon berries left
Beautiful shore line
Respectful distance to the inlet
Richard's skating improves
Finally the sun breaks through
In the marshes
Beautiful evening light
Where the whoopers rested in the morning
Findings of Stone Age settlements at Nain indicate an early settlement. The Stone Age families depended on good access to trout, eel and salmon. This was probably also one of the reasons for choosing a place of residence for Finnish immigration in the 17th century. Per Hakkarainen came to Nain around 1635 from Savolaks in Finland. “From a distance he saw a lake and it was Lake Nain he had seen. He liked the surroundings. There on the west side it was very beautiful and he thought that in this lake there should be a lot of fish … “.
Leaving early, - 8 C
Entering the ice in moon shine
The sun is on its way
Purple hour - no wind
Easy and attractive
Morning has broken
Skater in the dawn
The best days are gone
Just one of all boulders
Today's rock painting is "art photo" - leave nothing but a shadow
Old stump - a remnant from the forest generation
Along the swamps
The moon is still up
The ridge meets the peninsula
Morning break in the middle of the lake
Interesting bolder shore line
Giant boulders on top of the hill
3 days, 3 skaters and 3 lakes in 3 different ice and weather conditions are invigorating and fills your soul and body with loads of energy!
Linnansaari National Park, in the heart of the Finnish Lake District, is an ideal place to spot rare lake seals and majestic ospreys. Right now the ospreys are in Africa but the seals are here. The waters of the park are dotted with lush green islands and rocky islets. The maze-like archipelago is ideal for nordic skating. Haukivesi is a part of the huge Lake Saima with a shore line of 14 850 km and about 13 710 islands. Our base for skating was Oravi, about 41 km north west of Savonlinna.
Our last day was spent in Linnansaari National Park Archipelago – an absolute Grande Finale! Sunshine, black ice, no wind, wonderful nature, peaceful, vast areas of shining smooth ice and traces from ringed seals in the ice. The only people we met on our 42 km tour was one fisherman on his way to his nets and one ice skater – our hostess at Oravi Village.
Planning the day - just before sunrise
Admiring the morning sun
Crack in the ice
Frozen wind shaped snow in the ice
Nice pattern of frozen ice floe
"Morning has broken"
Giant boulder - small person
Our first break was at the old settlement by the island Linnansaari. We enjoyed the sunshine and the well kept area – an inviting open museum. At Linnansaari Croft traditional slash-and-burn farming practises are preserved.
Linnansaari croft - first break
Map of the homestead
Savusauna - smoke sauna
Riihi - grain drying barn
The last family at Linnansaari croft. They lived here until 1962.
The heart of the house
Tools for everyday life
Light and coffee
Thanks for our wonderful visit
After the break we headed north in the fairy tale landscape – following the best ice. Just like heaven!
Wonderful meeting - discussing the ice with our hostess at Saimaa Holiday Lakeland Resorts
Breathe in, breathe out ...
It just goes on and on - black smooth ice
Along one of the rocky islands
Sunshine and blue sky
Just incredible between the islands
Looking for the perfect lunch stop
An osprey nest
Perfect for a stop
Karjalan piirakka and mint tea
Can't resist to contact our skating friends
Linnansaari National Park provides a protected home for the endangered Saima Ringed seal. It is prohibited to visit many islands and islets where the seals live. We were lucky to find different traces of seals on the ice.
The ospreys and the ringed seals are symbols for the park
What a luck - traces from a ringed seal
Can't stop admiring
When was he/she here?
Restricted area - no net fishing.
The seals need to be undisturbed
Black and white
Capturing the small details in the vast ice landscape
Along the fascinating rocky west shore of the Linnansaari island
Last break in the evening sun
Another sign from the ringed seal - a breathing hole
On our way back home in the evening light - blue hour
Short rest by the navigation mark
Just today the winter trail from Oravi to Linnansaari was marked - ready for skaters!
When we arrived to Oravi the ice conditions for skating were poor. We had spring ice, which means weak and hazardous ice. Too long period with temperatures above zero. We had a try the first day but had to leave at the east shore of Linnansaari main island because the ice was too dangerous. Following morning the temperature was above zero with strong winds.
We had a strengthening head wind with lots of water on the ice. During the day the water disappeared and offered us a wonderful surface. In the evening the temperature decreased and we could skate again on fresh, dry ice.
"Another brick in the wall"
Ice changes hour from hour
We reached Linnansaari but decided to go back in our our safe tracks
Next morning the wind and the + degrees melted the snow and created fantastic ice
Strong head wind
Smooth ice under some mm:s of water - very skatable
“The Country of the Thousand Lakes” attracted us to skate on the immense water areas. Out of Finland’s 40 national parks we chose 3 which – after investigating ice and weather conditions – were suitable for our skating adventure. North and Southern Savolax with Konnevesi and Kolovesi National Parks were first in turn.
Southern Konnevesi National Park
The park was inviting with its many islands
In snowy weather we skated out in company with a fisherman.
The Finns are prepared for lake summer and winter
A skater's dream
Winter trail on ice
Traditional winter fishing
Immense open skating area
Boulder - remnant from the ice age
Shifts in grey - a little snow on the surface
Time for a break
Slush on perfect black ice
It's getting colder - the slush begins to freeze
Kolovesi National Park
Icy road leading to Kirkkoranta - Kolovesi National Park
Not only skating and nature - history as well
Early morning sun and splendid ice
The thickness of the ice was at least 10 cm. The bubbles tells us a mild period before the cold again