Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sölvesborg to Östafors

Just back from a 2 day walk in Sweden, the beauty of this walk is that it is accessible by public transport from Copenhagen. It is a 2.5 hr train trip approx from Copenhagen Main Station to Sölvesborg and the return is a 20 minute bus trip to Bromölla and then a train trip of a little less than 2.5 hours back to Copenhagen. Note that Bromölla is on the the same line as Sölvesborg so the trip can be reversed if preferred.

Sölvesborg to Östafors is the easterly commencement point of the Skåneleden Kust till Kustleden with Sölvesborg being the most easterly point of the trail. According to the maps the trail commences at Yndre Rest Stop on the E 22 highway at Sölvesborg, however there is now a 2.5 km orange marked trail starting at the front of the Sölvesborg Railway station which leads you to the trail head at Yndre Rest Stop. Sölvesborg is also the starting point for the Blekingeleden a trail which heads north then east to Kristianopel and meets up with the Kalmarsundsleden which takes you to Kalmar.

After alighting from the 9 am train at Sölvesborg station and spending a few minutes adjusting the gear and acclimatising to the sunny but sub zero temperatures I commenced my walk following, and trusting, the orange markers as they led me through the central shopping area for any last minute food purchases before swinging north to meet the trail proper then enter the forest north of the E 22. The trail wanders around the easterly flank of Kopannan before ascending past a view point with extensive views to the east over Blekinge to Ryssbergsstugan a large cabin ideally situated on the trail (booking is required) water is available at the cabin as well as a spring about .5 km before the cabin. After passing the cabin the trail follows the ridge line firstly through the forest and then along a number of forestry roads. The cold but sunny day ensured that whilst I did not linger long it was apparent how quiet it was, it reminded me of my trip through the Simpson Desert (Australia) where at night time all you could hear was nothing, as strange sensation in this busy noisy world of ours.

As I approached the campsite for the night, Grundsjön, this silence was penetrated by the sound of chain saws and machinery, sadly many of the trails on the Skånleden pass through the forests which at one time or another will be harvested thereby impacting on the outdoors experience that we go for. However, the chain saw like many other human activities soon dissipate at "knock off" time and the area soon returns to its peaceful self. Upon arriving at Grundsjön and looking over the lake coated in sheets of ice my attention turned to water and whilst the provided tap was not working the well nearby was fine albeit a 4 metre drop of the bucket to get water. Having set up my Integral Design Crysallis bivy for the night with accompanying down quilt I was left to ponder the sunset along with the increasing cold.

Of interest also was the accompany wood shed which contained sufficient firewood for many days as well as a hand splitter for those who wanted a large fire to keep them warm, for me I was happy with my caldera stove and esbit tablets.

The next morning arrived with a crystal clear and cold sunrise, I was happily warm, but the wardrobe contained no more spare clothes. Walking quickly helped to warm the body and allowed the removal of a couple of insulating items. However, the day remained cold with frozen ground the order of the day. The days walk commenced with walking along forestry roads and trails but after about 7 km it diverted into forested areas with only the orange marked foot trail to follow, which was to set the pattern for the remainder of the day. Wandering though the forests to sound of ice crunching under the shoes was a pleasurable experiences given that warmer weather would have also meant mud. A climb to the highest point of the trail in Ryssberget provides a wonderful viewpoint of Näsum and surrounding countryside including Ivösjön which shone brilliantly in the sunlight. From this vantage point the trail descended gradually along footpaths and forestry trails before arriving at Route 116, where it is possible to catch bus 561 back to Bromölla or continue along the trail to the Östafors shelter on the banks of Holjeån and then beyond.