Northern Sweden

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Sunset at Hallan

The last few weeks were spent travelling to the US for a wedding and from there straight to Sweden for a few weeks holiday. The picture above probably says it all. It was no doubt one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen and apparently nothing like those in the few weeks before we arrived. This was out at, Hallan, a little seaside summer house on an island.  We went fishing, swimming, spent lots time in the sauna and during the day hit the mainland for a run or two. We even made our own yoga/gym in the woods near the house, just to stay moving while eating more than usual, which was nice. We ate perch, caught fresh during the day and enjoyed all the usual Swedish dishes as well as the all important Fika once a day. Coffee, but coffee Swedish style. They really make the best coffee in the world. I have been turned! A massive thanks to Emma’s folks, Runar and Lotta, for being the greatest hosts and we really enjoy spending time with them. We had some fun picking blueberries and finding mushrooms while on a cloudberry hunt. All part of the Swedish adventure.

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Dinner time! At least I managed to cook the veg.

The weather was excellent the first few days and it wasn’t until my return from a nice 24km run on the mainland that the rain arrived. I got a nice soaking but it was good getting a few miles in after a week or two of very low mileage. This being said I needed the break and I worked on strength most days making sure I am strong and healthy with the big one just around the corner.

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More Fishing !

It is hard to stop me fishing in Sweden. The views, the crystal clear waters and the prospect of some great fish make it a unique place to spend time.

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Fishing Saxnas, Dry fly for Grayling.

Our next stop was a 4 hour drive north to a little cabin by the Vindel River, more commonly known as Vindelalven in Swedish. I won’t go into detail but in order to make River status in Sweden you have to be pretty bloody big. This river is a tributary of the Ume River and the Vindel itself is 445km long. There are so many Swedish rivers of this length and longer it is hard to get your head around the amount of water and then the vast mountains where these rivers find their source. Many of the rivers originate in the mountains in Northern Norway winding their way all the way to the sea along the Swedish coast.

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Result, dinner served.

I would stick to fishing the area just on front of the cabin and had some great fun catching lots of grayling and one trout over the few days. After a few days by the river the mountains were calling so off to the Kungsleden we went to recci some of this famous trail for a bigger trip hopefully in the next year or two.

We drove North to a little town called Ammarnas, famous for trout and grayling fishing as well as being a stop off for skiers and hikers on the Kungsleden. Here we parked up and started our hike towards Servestugan.

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Well marked Kungsleden, start at Ammarnas.

This section of the Kungsleden is the last section if travelling North to South and is called the Ammarnas-Hemavan section. You could start in Hemavan and hike the entire trail, south to north as well, 450km north to Abisko. In general the times given to hike on the Kungsleden are generous as most people hike with 15kg plus on their backs. We only had about 7kg so we were able to power hike and make the 26km in 6 hours which was good going. The elevation turned out a lot easier than I expected, the Irish and English, not to mention the recent hills on La Palma being huge mountains compared to this hike. We topped out at around 1100 metres and would spend the night at around 600metres. There are of course massive mountains in this range but our hike was one of the more forgiving in terms of elevation. The panoramic views were incredible, vast wilderness as far as the eye could see, once the rain lifted that was.

On our final descent towards our stay for the night we met a heard of reindeer, coming closer than usual according to Emma. They made a U shaped journey around us as we stood and admired these fabulous animals. The vastness of these mountain ranges means you rarely get this close to the animals so we felt lucky with our encounter. We didn’t manage to spot a moose or meet a bear on this occasion! There is a short clip including our reindeer encounter in the video at the end of this post.

Our return hike was less interesting with long sections of boardwalk in the woods. The woods were quiet and beautiful for the first hour but after a while I wished for a little change in the view. Finally I was rewarded with this.

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Return hike to Ammarnas

And this was the view looking back up along the lake we had hiked along coming from Servestugan back to Ammarnas. Emma looking fresh as could be after hiking over 11 hours in the two days. We arrived back to the car in the early afternoon giving us most of the day to make our way back to Umea. It was sad to say goodbye to the Swedish mountains for possibly a year again. Some day we will spend more time up there in the vast clean landscape of the North.

So after three weeks of fun it’s back to job searching and then there is the small matter of the CCC in exactly two weeks to the day. What do I do training wise, taper wise now? Will I risk injury by training more? Have I lost some fitness on holidays? Have I raced too much this year already? Am I perfectly ready for it? These are the questions to be answered in my next post early next week. I’ve some thinking to do on the matter!!

 

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