Monday, 31 May 2010

Back from Vålådalen

I have just returned home from a wonderful trip to Vålådalen Nature Reserve with fellow Scandinavian Bloggers Hendrik, Joe, Jörgen and Martin and Gustav. It was a damp trip with powerful rivers, beautiful old growth forests, heather, snow, wood burning stoves along with many humorous moments. Reports on the trip along with gear used will appear in the coming days on all blogs.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Blekingeleden: Ronneby to Åkeholm

Continuing my wanderings along the Blekingeleden I caught the train to Ronneby station which is located about a kilometre north of where the trail crosses the Ronnebyån. Initially I followed a path along the western banks of the Ronnebyån, it was raining a little and very windy, but the walk was very pleasant.

Soon I found myself approaching Ronneby Bruunspark with its large gardens, lakes and waterfalls it is a picturesque spot there is also a large hotel there and undoubtedly in sunny weather it is very popular, with the wind blowing and the occasional rainshower it was very quiet. Having found the trail I followed it through the gardens and then up onto ridge before dropping down to Trollsjön.

The trail continued along well made paths, finally exiting the park on the western side near Bustorp. The trail then follows minor roads and footpaths through the forest passing small hamlets along the way, before climbing up onto Lånkkarraberg, which seemed like a nice place for lunch. What followed was a gradual descent through the forest a short road section before returning to forestry trails and foot trails. Soon the sounds of the rapidly flowing Vierydsån were heard, the Vierydsån drains Nässjön into the Vierydfjorden 10 km to the south.

The river is crossed on a small wooden bridge close to the original 19 th century bridge, and near to where King Christian IV of Denmark rested in 1618 on his way to Ronneby. Climbing away from Vierydsån through stands of beech and pine forest the trail skirts Stiasjön before entering the small hamlet of Hakarp, what then follows is a long road section through farmland with a couple of minor diversions through the forest. Ultimately the trail takes you into the forests of Järnavik Naturreservet, and almost with out warning you come over a rise to be greeted by expansive views of Järnavikafjorden. The elevated rock platform makes for an ideal view spot and provides a 180 degree panorama of the fjord with views to the sea, and it was possible to hear the sound of the ocean crashing onto the rocks a couple of kilometres away, a wonderful end to a long day.

The next morning I awoke to a misty start, the predicted overnight rain and thunderstorms had not eventuated. After a quick breakfast with a long day planned I was gone before 7 am, walking firstly through the quiet holiday township of Järnavik before returning to the Naturreservat, and leaving the coastline behind.

As the morning progressed the fog lifted but it remained overcast. A pleasant walk along a gravel road through the forests takes you to the E22 motorway, with the accompanying sound of vehicles travelling at high speed. Passing under the freeway the trail returns firstly to farmland and later forests as it wends its way north. Lunch was had on the banks of N Öllesjön, and one thing I have learnt is that it is always breezy on the sides of the lakes and at this time of the year it means cold.

After lunch and walking around the northern edge of the lake a road section takes you through along the northern side of O Kroksjön, passing a number of small cottages along the way. Crossing a canal connecting V Kroksjön and Björkesjön the trail climbs and then descends to Långasjön Naturreservat (home for the night)

I found a spot just large enough for the bivy and the Grace Solo tarp and proceeded to cook dinner and watch the setting sun acroos St. Kroksjön.

The following morning it was another a misty drizzly start as I headed towards the southern section of Långasjön, the water was calm with the only movement being ducks swimming across the lake.

Adjacent to Bruksgylet is a weir as well as the remains of a mill.

I quickly passed through the popular holiday area and headed north along the banks of Långasjön, it was an enjoyable walk with pleasant views across the lake.

Leaving Långasjön, I followed the trail through a variety of forest along foot trails and forestry tracks, ultimately arriving at Åkeholm, where I had started from on the previous trip, not wanting to wait the 4 hours for the one bus a day, I followed the Laxaleden south along the western bank of the Mörrumsån to Svängsta, from there a twice hourly bus service runs to Karlshamn and then train home.

It had been a long but enjoyable trip.

I was very pleased with the performance of my modified Aarn Mountain Magic 55 (using smaller balance pockets converted into a 40l pack) the Rab Demand Pull on (which kept my dry and cool) and the Grace Solo Tarp combined with the BPL Vapor bivy worked perfectly as expected.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Back from one trip off on another

Just back from a trip along the Blekingeleden (report to come) and I am now preparing what should prove to be a memorable and educational experience. A group of bloggers from Scandinavia will be meeting in Stockholm in a couple of weeks and taking the night train to Undersåker then setting off the next morning for a 2 and half day walk around Vålådalen Nature Reserve in the mountains of Jämtland, Sweden. Undoubtedly there will be much talk about gear, talk about past trips, future trips and so on.

There is an interesting mix of participants there is Hendrik of Hiking in Finland , Jörgen and Martin from Fjäderlätt, Gustav from the Bearable Lightness, Joe from Thunder in the Night

I am looking forward to meeting the group and learning a lot more about hiking in northern Sweden.

My gear items will include:
MLD Trailstar (that makes at least two yellow shelters in Vålådalen)

Be prepared for the many reports on the above mentioned blogs after the trip.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Bushbuddy backup stove

Stoves are as much about personal preference as they are about fuel usage, weight, type of fuel etc.

I have been pondering on which stove to take with me to Lapland in July as well as other trips. Readers of the is blog will be well aware of the stoves I have and mostly I have used Esbit or alcohol stoves with wood stoves also featuring. Often I need to "stealth camp" and as a result wood stoves are not appropriate though my preference has always been for wood with a backup fuel such as Esbit or alcohol. Recently however, the availability of the larger Esbit tablets (12 gm) in Copenhagen has decreased and this has made me rethink the types of fuel to use.

This afternoon I decided to play with back up stove options for the Bushbuddy and I found that my Mogo Firefly stove with 30 ml of alcohol easily boiled 600 ml of water using the Bushbuddy pot stand surrounded by an aluminium wind break. The stove will easily fit in my Bushbuddy which fits nicely in the BPL 900 ml pot. So for my next trip that will be hat I am carrying a Bushbuddy combined with a Mogo Firefly .

I will report back on my experiences.

Oh and yes I really should do something about the garden.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Thanks Hr XXL

A little while ago to celebrate his new blog Hr XXL ran a little competition which asked about lightweight cooking and meals, there were some very informative entries from around the world. I was fortunate to be the winner and received the snow peak mug an Esbit folding wing stove as well as a trek and Eat meal.

The blog is well worth a visit as it provides a european perspective to lightweight hiking.

Thanks HrXXL