Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lapland days


It was time to cut my losses and look forward to some gains. The weather did not look like it was going to improve. Ideas of going to Nordkapp (the furthest north you can go on the European mainland), bagging Halti (Finland’s highest point) and/or Kebnekaise (Sweden’s highest point and another Ultra) just did not seem attractive in the rain. I realised that if I went south this would probably result in a heatwave in the northern part of  Scandinavia the moment I left, but that’s life. And anyway those three options give me a perfect reason for returning one day. 

Plus there were things to look forward down in the south where there is not 24 hour daylight.
I left the campsite at Skibotn and fairly soon was crossing the border into Suomi/Finland’s Lapland on the so-called Northern Lights route in the Tornedalen. 

Only 53 km from Halti

Found, almost by chance the starting point for Halti at Kilpisjarvi – as the sign shows it is 53km. I would have tackled it using a shorter route from Norway, though.

Saw my first moose/elk – it was grazing right at the roadside. By the time I saw my fourth I was less excited.

It wasn’t long before I crossed the river Torne at Karesuando into Sverige/Sweden’s Lapland. Not that there was much difference, Lapland seems to mainly consist of trees, lakes and the occasional moose or reindeer. And in the countryside the houses are still largely  that red colour. I have now discovered that the colour is called Falu red and the paint contains a by-product from the Falun copper mine at Dalarna in Sweden. Apparently, it is a cheap and effective wood preserver used since the 16th century. Houses painted yellow or white indicate people who were wealthier.
Trees and water - Finland

Typically, as I approached the turn off for Kiruna – and the start point for Kebnekaise – the weather cleared and tempted me to divert. I resisted the temptation – bagging Kebnekaise  takes at least two and half days. As I pondered the options my iPod shuffle played ‘It’s gonna rain’ and  ‘Have you seen the rain?’. And, when I stopped for the night by the river Lule in the Muddus national park – in the Laponia World heritage site there was a violent thunderstorm. And a lot of reindeer and unfortunately mosquitoes.

No distance shown from Karesuando to Slaithwaite, though

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