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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

Satellite showed us black ice

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?

  • Amazing sunrise

  • Giant boulder hiding among the pine trees

  • Beautiful contrast between frosty birches and the black ice

  • What a window/mirror!

  • Morning trip following the shore line

Sattelite picture:

https://apps.sentinel-hub.com/eo-browser/?lat=60.9218&lng=12.8890&zoom=12&time=2019-11-30&preset=IW-DV-VV-DECIBEL-GAMMA0&datasource=Sentinel-1%20AWS%20(S1-AWS-IW-VVVH)

Video:

https://youtu.be/uz6txfmNqxs

Nordic Kayaking Inspiration – Finland

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
  • Leaving Oravi Canal for Haukivesi
  • Camp fire
  • End of the day on Haukivesi

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.

Where to start next time?

Nordic kayaking inspiration – Norway

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

  • Kayaking in blue waves

  • Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) protecting her chicks
  • Summit 1755 meters above sea level

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.

A magic area in Hedmark, Norway.

Glimpses from Summer 2019

Summer 2019 gave us loads of great nature experiences together with new wonderful people from various parts of Europe. Following is a summary of some golden moments.

  • Summer evening in the reeds

We never give up searching for beavers. Spring and early summer are the best conditions for beaver scouting.

  • A short walk for launching

We had a Full Day Archipelago Paddling booked for our French guests. The wind conditions was not with us, so instead of paddling singel kayaks in the sea we trailed our tandem kayaks to a lake in the forests and all ended up with a wonderful kayaking experience in wilderness.

  • The entrance is under the water

All our tours are “On request”. Beaver Safari in Bohuslän made us scout for beavers in land. And we made it! A skating tour last winter “hinted” us to the right lake.

  • Heading towards the first beaver lodges

Silent search for beavers in their habitat. Calm, peaceful and many traces from beavers and beaver huts – but just one splash this night.

  • Getting ready

Time again to paddle with our devoted “Girl group” – mostly from Norway. The wind cheated us again so we had a quite tough expedition this year.

  • Heavy head-wind

Practice makes perfect. Good paddlers in heavy wind!

  • The kayaks are waiting for a ride

Norwegian “Kick Off” starting from our boat houses.

  • Use of floats makes the ride safer in open wavy sea

Refreshing Sunday paddling is a good start as Team Building ahead of a new work week!

Beaver Safari Offers More Than Beavers

Krokstad Herrgård – situated close to the estuary of River Byälven/Lake Vänern – is a perfect starting point for exploring and experience the beaver habitat from the kayak. An impressing oak alley, in bright green spring colors, invites us to Krokstad herrgård. The late May evening was sunny, a bit chilly but probably too windy to make the beavers in the mood to show up.

  • The entrance to Krokstad Mansion

We had the pleasure to scout the surroundings together with family Say from France and Switzerland. A short walk down to the river before its time for preparations before embarking.

  • Preparations

Three double/triple kayaks and one single kayak is awaiting for the safari. The triple kayaks are really stable and to paddle these you don’t need any paddling experience – perfect to be able to concentrate on wildlife, birds and search for beavers.

We crossed the river and went behind “Ile des Castors” – habited by a beaver family last year – now the hut is abandoned. It made it possible to paddle into one of the narrow “beaver canals” to watch their hut.

  • Silent paddling

Windy and sunny. Expectant. Even the birds were withdrawn this evening though we observed and heard thrushes, wagtails, some geese and mallards.

  • Time for a little forestwalk

We decided to go ashore for a short walk and to investigate traces from beavers. Now the sun set and suddenly we heard a sound we had longed for. Three souffles from a bittern marking its territory in the reeds. It is a sound that is similar to blow in a bottle. That sound followed us now and then all the evening.

  • "Beaver time"

After a small “picnic” with hot tea and some snacks we continued paddling south towards the huge Lake Vänern. In strong headwind we paddled towards a canal behind an island – but sadly no beavers. We had the luck to be in near contact with a crane – who probably had its nest in the weeds – grey lagged geese, gulls and sterlings. Now and then the european reed warbler sang wonderful tunes for us. On our way back in the dark we heard the spooky sound of a Tawny Owl.

No Beaver Safari is like the other. Even though you don’t meet beavers it’s always a treat to be out on the water in near contact with nature. BUT – in our very last minutes a beaver showed up – just with a big SPLASH – but a sign of a beaver.
To share these moments with people you have never met is a great gift for us. Thank you family Say!

Two Days on lake Vättern – part 2

We couldn’t resist to continue our discovery along the north east coast of Lake Vättern. The weather was with us so instead of what we was thinking making a short trip morning trip we were out all day – discovered the coast south of Tokanäset, passed Lemunda Bay and the exciting “Mill stone coast”, rounded Island Åholmen, had a wonderful swim by the sandy beach Lilla Hals and returned home in the evening. Full of new energy and impressions – again!

  • New day - what will happen today?

We followed the shore line and were amazed by the remnants from an industrial era about 100 years ago – mill stone making.

  • Forgotten mill stones produced by sandstone. Hard work in vain.

The sandstone shore line and the bottom below the water surface was “decorated” by loads of mill stones for kilometers. This masterpiece is now like a huge installation of arts which reminds us of very clever and hard working people. Sadly many of them died too early because the effects of their work.

  • Thankfulness for being a part of great history - but sad for unused work

We can’t get enough of this clear, drinkable water!

  • Struggling alder tree - a survivor in the water zone

We were very excited to investigate “our” new island. And we got a great reward – birds showed up we never had dreamt of.

  • The island was covered with trees and as we had hoped the opsrey's nest showed up in a pine tree

An inviting sandy beach was our our next goal.

  • Looking back admiring our beautiful island

With the afternoon sun in the back we had a wonderful trip back.

  • We paddled into a shallow, sandy bay with water lilies coming from the bottom and loads of fries - an interesting loop.

Total length of this trip was 28 km – in a relaxed paddling.