Thursday, 12 April 2012

Blekingeleden: Ronneby to Kristianopel Part 2


I left you with the vision of an early morning view of Stora Alljungen, I had arisen before sunrise, and it was cold and clear, I was immediately torn between taking photos or cooking breakfast, ultimately I found a way to do both. As I ate breakfast and drank coffee I watched the mist on one side of Stora Alljungen and the rising sun on the other.

  Moment in the morning


As the sun gradually engulfed the entire lake, fragments of mist hung to the banks on the eastern side of the lake.
  Stora Alljungen

With a long day ahead I finally packed up and moved on, soon stopping to look back over the lake to one of the two accommodation houses. I was feeling great having spent a wonderful evening in a wonderful location, one cannot ask for much more.

  Across Stora Alljungen
I continued along the path around the lake and followed the markers as they pointed up hill. Then the trail decided it was time to head south, problem. There was a massive blow down of trees in front of me, my estimate was there was a width of 100 metres of flattened pine trees to the clearing on the other side, this was compounded by the fact that the blow down continued almost down to the lake (about 400m away) and for an indeterminable distance up the hill. It must have been one massive wind storm that had passed through the recently cleared pine plantation flattening what had been left standing by the timber cutters.

I was left with 2 choices up the hill or down the hill, consulting the map it seemed that the trail was in the middle of the blown down trees, and would eventually come out on the other side, so I chose to go down the hill get around the flattened trees and then climb up the other side. This plan worked though a stumble and fall led to the destruction of one walking pole, no problem I did not need them for my shelter this trip, but it did make me think on my dependence on the poles and the "what if situation" on a long trip. After further climbing, tree clambering and other fun activities I finally found the light at the end of the tunnel, and was happily relieved to be back on the trail, with a minimal number of obstacles.

  Light at the end of the tunnel
From there the trail returned to its normal pattern of pleasant forest sections, quiet country roads and the occasional bitumen highway, however, it was mostly quiet forests and country lanes that ultimately led me to the bridge across Lyckebyån.

  Lyckebyån
I was taken by the light on the pine trees and the contrast between forest on one side of the river and farming land on the other. I wandered across the open farmland before crossing on the stile, in doing so I heard a number of strange sounds from the guy standing on the stile. Now I am not sure what language he spoke but I am guessing he was angry that I came from the wrong direction and I did not pay him. Be warned, he may get aggressive if you meet him face to face.

  Dont forget to pay the bridge elf
After surviving the encounter with the bridge elf I walked through the hamlet of Strömsberg where the local school children were out enjoying lunchtime in the sun. Leaving Strömsberg I rounded a corner on the trail and came to a delightful lake and with a sloping rock face, I needed no encouragement to sit down, have lunch and lay out in the cool sunshine. No I did not fall asleep, but it was tempting.

Leaving the sun drenched rock I headed to Mörtsjöåsen crossing the river that connects Olljungen with Stora Åsjön.

  Rushing Waters
Passing through the holiday village at Mörtsjöåsen I was relieved to find that I was going in the right direction to Kristianopel.

  I am going to Kristianopel
By now it was getting late and I was looking forward to getting to camp and relaxing, so an upwards pointing arrow was a little disheartening, and whilst the climb was not steep, I was ready for relaxing not climbing.

  The arrow points the way
I soon found myself back on the country lanes, wondering about the significance of a helmet sitting on top of a sand box. Do you need a helmet on to put sand down on the road?

  Helmet Sand Sign
Before long I was at Älmtasjön and after inspecting the shelter I found a camp site overlooking the lake and settled in for my final night on the trail.

  Shelter Älmtasjön
It was a colder night than the previous night and the condensation inside the Moment was in the form of ice, whilst eating breakfast two geese arrived and commenced paddling in the water below me. As I was on the sunny side of the lake my assumption was they had come for some warmth. I also expected them to move on as soon as I started packing up but they seemed oblivious to me.

  Geese Älmtasjön
According to the track notes accompanying the map of the Blekingeden, there was nothing special to see for the remainder of the trip, so it was with some trepidation I set off. However, what is special for one person may not be for another, having completed a pleasant forest section then a long road walking section I came upon what is known as a Cellar House.

  Cellar House
Here workers were provided with free accommodation and were required to work for a certain number of days a month. The conditions would have been harsh and once inside it would have been dark, especially during winter time.

  First and Second Door
However, what I noticed was how much warmer it felt inside than it was outside. This particular house was occupied by Per August Olausson who was born in 1882 and lived there tíll 1942, he died in 1975.

  Through the second door
Once again for me it was thought provoking to be able to reflect upon the life style of these workers living in these small huts undertaking the tasks set down by the landlord whilst also surviving in what at times must have been very harsh conditions.

  Inside the cellar
Having spent considerable time admiring the hut, I set off. One of the big problems for farmers in the area is the prevalence of rocks which make it difficult to cultivate the land and over many years the boulders have been moved to the perimeters of the fields to form stone fences. Now stone fences are not uncommon but what took my eye with this particular stone wall was its width, it must have been close to 2 metres wide, amazing.

  Wide Stone Wall
Ultimately I reached Kristianopel which also has many stone fortifications as it was once part of Denmark and it was not until 1658 that it was returned to Sweden.

I had reached the end of the trail and all that was left to do was to look out to sea and contemplate what I had seen and the options for my next wanderings.

  Looking out to sea