Monthly Archives: February 2020

Three days’ skating in Finnskogen

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.

Lake Knon

  • Inviting and hopeful
  • Difficult to get on shore
  • Admiring the giant boulders

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
  • Lots of edible lingon berries left
  • Finally the sun breaks through

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 … “.

Lake Naren/Nain

  • Leaving early, - 8 C
  • Morning has broken
  • Today's rock painting is "art photo" - leave nothing but a shadow
  • Up ridge

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!

Three National Parks in Finland – part II

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
  • Frozen wind shaped snow in the ice

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
  • The last family at Linnansaari croft. They lived here until 1962.

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
  • Looking for the perfect lunch stop

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
  • Black and white
  • Another sign from the ringed seal - a breathing hole

Epilogue

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"

Three National Parks in Finland – part 1

“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
  • Winter trail on ice
  • Shifts in grey - a little snow on the surface

Kolovesi National Park

  • Icy road leading to Kirkkoranta - Kolovesi National Park
  • Strong tail wind - about 10 m/s
  • We had to struggle in the strong head wind
  • What a joy following the shore line in tail wind