Nature wakes up – is there a better place to be than in a kayak silently paddling listening to and observing the birds? We launched at Medevi Brygga – an old steam boat landing stage – and paddled one of our favorite tours – along the islands Gopön, Grepaträdet and Gopön. The temperature is rising in the end of May, the water is still a bit cold and we are alone in the archipelago. The northern part of Lake Vättern has an archipelago which a lot of islands and it is perfect for kayaking as there are few people around.
Typical spruce by the shore
Finding a small passage
Old dead pine tree
Goldmoss stonecrop in buds
Rock formation called sheepback - created by the passing of a glacier
A moraine line breaks the water surface
It’s a crispy, clear morning – almost no wind. We paddle between the mainland and the three islands that give shelter from west winds. Suddenly a Eurasian Hobby appeared flying just over our heads. It breeds on one of the islands.
A sheltered sandy beach
Brooding Common Gull
Barnacle goose family
Close and calm photo position
A short cut over the rock
Ready for a swim
After a refreshing morning swim we enjoy our herb tea and sandwiches. The rock is nice and warm and we are in good company of gulls, terns, mergansers, geese and a lot of singing birds on the island.
The ospreys' nest
On our way to the west side of the island
Observing four Goosanders
Eventually the osprey shows up. For some years a couple has had its nest with successful breeding and we are anxious to know what will happen this year. Sadly the nest by our launching point Medevi Brygga is abandoned.
Southbound again - now on the west side of Gopön
Rough rocky coast line
A fishing boat in the distance
On our way back
It was a perfect day to paddle west of the islands towards open water and admire the rough rocks.
Sound between the islands
Cobbles by the shore line
Rust red Bog Myrtle in blossom
One of three wrecks close to the island
Through the clear water it is possible to see what is left of an old boat
Sunset - end of the paddling and another memorable day
We are fortunate to live in a country with so many lakes and a long sea shore line. The right of public access is unique in our country and gives many opportunities for outdoor life.
Medevi is situated close to the northern part of Lake Vättern between Motala and Askersund.
Bright sunshine and almost no wind tempted us to visit the nearby nature reserve Ulön Dannemark by kayak. A wonderful day in May gave us astonishing experience of blue sky, blue sea and lots of plants in blossom. The air was full of sounds from different birds that just had arrived. Spring is in the air!
Crossing the fairway towards the nature reserve
Ideal launching beach
Admiring the meadow
Cowslips in full blossom
Can you feel the smell?
We went ashore on a sandy beach for a walk on the island. The shell shingle beds were studded with thousands of cowslips. You could even feel the smell of them by walking around.
Perfect day for sailing
Skagerack - the ocean
Log for a little rest
Rock polished by the ice 10 000 years ago
The path meandered in the little valley and took us to the far west of the island where we met the open sea. Impressing!
The sandy beach which connects the former islands Ulön and Dannemark
Silently grazing sheep - they are here until June when the tourists arrive.
Japanese Oyster shell on shore
.. and here in the water
Sheep are grazing in the nature reserve to keep the landscape open. Perfect gardeners.
Another beach - filled with oyster shells
Different shells on the beach
Tempting to continue the trip out on open sea
Lichens lightens up the rock
Seaweed - a perfect environment for small sea organisms
We launched again and rounded the island to find a new sheltered beach. This part of the island invited us to another walk with new views.
Sea Thrift can grow in very nutrient poor conditions
Another rock plant - Sea Campion
New spruce shoots
Is there a better way to cook than by a camp fire?
By the campfire we had a nice meal and a perfect end of the day.
Soon time to leave the paradise
Bare granite rocks
Comfort tail wind
Heestrand's boat houses
In a slight tail wind we headed back to our starting point Rådalen Heestrand – a miniature little settling of boathouses and a great place to start a short or a longer kayaking adventure.
We really enjoy being outdoors anywhere in wild. Our focus for our guests has so far been kayaking and nordic skating, but now we are expanding and want to offer guided hiking trips in different environments. We find unspoiled, quiet areas from deep old forests to marsh land, lakes and old cultivated places. Every habitat has its own “personality” with its own birdlife, animals and plants.
Entrance to Brurmossen Nature Reserve
On the footbridges
Stem in decay
Pine cone resting in haircap moss
Bog with bog-myrtle
The Brurmossen area is located in the border of counties Dalsland and Värmland. The reserve consists of marsh forests, rocky mountain impediment with pines and open marshes and moss fields. The area has a great value because it has been untouched for a long time.
Old and dead but still upright
Old birch with lichen
Tassel of "Usnea" hanging from the bark of the tree
Bark of a very old aspen tre
A giant burl on a tiny birch tree
Birch polypore with its velvety cut surface
The old trees host a great variation of lichens and polypores. The great amount of beard lichens indicates clean air.
Fallen pine tree as a result of Carpenter ants and Black Woodpckers
Carpenter ants' nests consisting of chewed out galleries
Nature forest - not planted
Edge of the mire
Witch's broom in pine tree
We ramble in a huge, green “cathedral”. There is no sound of human activity. Only the wind, the birds and in between a total silence. A perfect location for “Forest bathing”.
Forest lake in the distance
Very old pine trees similar to Acacias
Mystical little tarn
Ice is still by the shore
Cloudberries and cranberries waiting to grow
A mirror in the deep forest
On a little rock next to the tarn we had a nice stop for our packed lunch. The woodland lake named “Särkspännet” was there like a golden eye of the forest. We wondered about the name. The translation is an old kind of brooch – just the shape it is. Who named it and when?
Soft and easy trail
All ages of trees
Wolf dropping with elk hair
Wolf dropping with remains of bones
Tracks and droppings of wolves, moose and squirrels show that we are not the only ones who have been here.
Mere in the bog
Buds of Hare's-tail cottongrass
Anthill by the trail
Just starting to work
The woodpecker has been here
The beginning of April is a wonderful month when nature awakens bit by bit. The life in the anthill above ground level awakens by the warm rays of the sun. The ants have spent the winter several metres below ground level.
Warm and cosy
Traces from beavers on our way home
Beaver dam - intelligent and great work
High water level because of the beavers
The beaver path
Is there a better ending of a forest walk than to start a camp fire, grill some sausages and listen to the enormous choir of birds singing in the April evening?
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
Northern county Värmland and Dalarna was covered with snow in the end of November. Some lakes hiding black ice. We were waiting new lakes to freeze as the temperature was below zero and the weather forecast promised really cold weather. By studying the satellite we headed to lake Tisjön, Dalarna the 1st of December. Were we right in our expectation?
First joy on diamond ice
Another group who had caugth the moment
Giant boulder hiding among the pine trees
Fairy tale landscape
Rhime roses growing
Osprey nest covered with snow
Beautiful stop in the sun
Beautiful contrast between frosty birches and the black ice
After som hectic weeks with guests from abroad we were ready for another new exploring adventure. This time we were heading east to our neighbour country Finland. It has been a dream for many years getting to know and to paddle in the “Country of the Thousand Lakes”. We didn’t have much time, but time enough to realise that there are lakes enough for a life time. An eldorado for kayakers. We just spotted the right time for nature showing up in its “Golden costume”. Our destination was huge Lake Saima.
Some of the millions and millions of Silver Birches
Birch bark - art of nature
Punkaharju - the road meanders on the ridge between the lakes
View from the ridge over a little part of Lake Saima
Leaving Oravi Canal for Haukivesi
Towards Linnansaari National Park, hoping to meet a Ringed Seal
Huge rock - bowlder reminds us of the ice age
A little stop on an island for some hot tea and sandviches
Sedge is on fire
Forest is on fire
Between some of the islands in Linnansaari National Park
End of the day on Haukivesi
Red yellow palette - like a fire
Aspen trees preparing for winter
Bye bye Finland
We arrived to and left Finland in sparkling autumn colours. What a visit!
We will be back for sure – and then for a longer trip.
Nordic EcoTours has its main geographical area from Lake Vättern to Lake Vänern and onwards westbound to Skagerrak. This summer we wanted to extend “our territory” and explore new water systems. In July we headed to Lake Sølen, Rendalsfjällen in Norway – a place we have visited before, both winter and summer. A place that we love. Lake Sølen has a circumference for about 65 km with a few islands in the south west and south of the lake. This time our departure point was close to Fiskevollen, Norway’s oldest inland fishing village, which is situated in the north part of the lake. West of the lake the massive Midtre Sølen with three summits rises – its highest peak is 1755 meters above sea level.
On our way to Fiskevollen
Old chalets by Skånborket
Nice view towards the summits of Sølen
Base camp on a sandy beach
Kayaking in blue waves
Interesting meeting - changing experiences
In total harmony
Pond Water crowfoot - sheer water plant
Happy and relaxed paddler
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) protecting her chicks
Yellow Wagtail - a characteristic bird in the mountains
Hiking in the mountains
Tiny heath in a harsh landscape
Purple Saxifrage - little jewels
Alpine Bartsia - grows on calcareous soil
Summit 1755 meters above sea level
Back home to our little island - the smallest of Vioddholmene
End of the day
The Sølen area is a magical location for kayaking, fishing and hiking. A place where you relax, recover and replenish your energy. We are willing to join you in an outstanding experience.