Dalsland Log May - June 2008
Friday 23nd May- Evening drive to Kilmarnock, stayed at Howard Park Hotel. Whisky o'clock.
Saturday 24th May- Up at 6.15 for breakfast, drive to Watson's Ayr Park, Monkton, then shuttle to Prestwick airport. Check in with Ryanair and arrived Goteborg City airport on time. 2 minutes at passport control, 5 mins wait for baggage and then unusually long wait for Shuttle bus (60kr single, 110kr return) to Goteborg central train/bus station which meant we missed the first train to Ed, grrrrr.. . So we parked our luggage in the lockers (40kr) and had a stroll through the open air maritime museum and then, dodging the trams, through the shopping area. Then we got our train and arrived at Ed on time with Bertil waiting for us. We then got ourselves organised in the Wooden tipi before we walked back up to Ed to get milk and breakfast and then for a beer and a pizza, returning back at sunset for guess what - Whisky o'clock.
Sunday 25th May- Up at 7 for tea in sunshine and then breakfast. Then we got our kit out of Bertil's store and began organising the equipment for first trip - 6 people 5 nights. 3 x 3 man boats (5.25m Linders), plus everything we need for 5 nights. Once we have the packing layout sorted, we try to get everything into the barrels we have- sounds simple, but it never seems to be! Then we go up to Konsum (the Coop) and buy everything on our list except for the fresh veg/fruit/bread, and frozen or cooled food.
Monday 26th May- Normal start and then we go to Konsum again (this time Bertil lets us have his car) for all the fresh stuff etc. Now we wait to see which train our guests will arrive on and it turns out they will be on the last train arriving at 7.15. This is when we throw away the clock and go on to Jinaka time, so we go for a paddle fix and stop by the small harbour to decide which boat we like and get chatting to a Swedish couple living in Thailand who have just bought a Finnish version of an English narrow boat with a sauna. There you go. Now back up to the station to meet our guests, and guess what Bertil appears like a genie with the van. Paul takes Dad to Konsum for beer essentials and then we meet up at Canodal for drinks, Danish pastries and packing. The children have been up since 4am, but are still going. At 9.30 we set off into the sunset. Its mirror calm and we reach our first wild camp as the sun goes down. There's a flurry of activity to get the tents pitched in the forest, get our tarp shelter up and meal cooked. We start with a traditional Swedish meal- Senapsill and ice cold schnapps, followed by Frigadellen and then ice cream- but- the children don't want it! Its been a long day for our guests so they turn in. We tidy up and then realize we need to get our boats out of the water, so we paddle them round to a suitable place before whisky o'clock.
Tuesday 27th May- A leisurely start bathed in sunshine filtering throught the trees. Breakfast is at each person's own speed and then we outline the things we can do. We have a northerly light breeze and will be paddling into it, so we will stay on our side of the lake. After we have decamped and removed all evidence of our stay, we set off. Ian and Sarah, in one canoe, Paul and Sam (11) and Jim and Ben (6) in the others. The canoes are well loaded so we stick to the shore looking out for wildlife and teaching paddle strokes. Lunch o'clock soon comes. Cheese, salami, rollmops, ragorbrod, juice, tea, coffee and fruit. We check our plan and decide on Scotton as our next stop. We haven't seen any one else yet when we arrive at the DANO site and there still isn't anyone. So we have it to ourselves.
Wednesday 28th May- In the morning, we have a slow start and then our guests decide they would like have a competition to see who can create fire. We split into two teams and take it in turns to forage for fire making stuff or to fish. Time flies and it is soon lunch o'clock. Afterwards everyone experiments with fire making with good success. later we go off exploring the inlets to see what we can find. There is evidence of fresh beaver activity, so the children collect beaver chips as souvenirs. The chopped down trees aren't small either. On the way back we have a race and then bet on how many strokes it will take us to get back. We sit and watch a lovely sunset .
Thursday 29th May- Today we are moving on up the lake and want to travel about 8 miles as the crow flies. There aren't many crows about, but we see Ravens, Golden Eye and Goosanders. Surprise- we have vistors - very rare, but then we are on a designated DANO site where there are two wind shelters at opposite ends of the island (500m x 300m). Two Austrians (60ish) in an Ally folding canoe on their way to Amal, Stockholm and Finland. Just a short trip! We had an interesting chat in English (aren't we spoilt) over Swedish coffee. We then decamp, load the canoes and have our last check before setting off. It is mirror calm again, so each canoe explores where they want without getting too far apart. We get together for lunch, the boys light the fire for the volcano kettle and we sit in the shade admiring the view and listening to the silence. We set off again and find an Osprey nesting site and watched for some time from a distance- each one has an exclusion zone around it. We paddle on and take silly pictures of children abandoned on tiny islands and then arrive at our next site. Now our guests choose their tent sites while we get the meal going on. There is a sheltered bay where anyone can canoe by themselves safely. We watch the colours change as the sun goes down.
Friday 30th May- Mum and Dad leave the children with us and go back to watch the Ospreys. The boys have a go at paddling a canoe by themselves and do pretty well for 12 & 6, and then our 11 year old succeeds in solo paddling a 5.25m canoe - not easy. Our 6 year old decides making a fir cone ambush for Mum and Dad is much more interesting, and then we are all roped into the plan. Time to leave gets nearer and we have to rendezvous with Bertil and he is always punctual, so, after out final check, its full speed ahead to get there. Its very hot, so we find some shelter and have lots of drink. Sure enough, Bertil arrives on the dot and suddenly we are back in the real world. In the evening, our guests treat us to a meal in Ed in appreciation of the enjoyment they have had. We enjoyed ourselves too as they were good fun to work for.
Saturday 31st May- Up earlier so our guests can catch the early bus to Goteborg, and after we have sen them off we wander back for a mixture of a lazy morning and packing up kit that we won't need any more. In the evening we go round to Bertil & Marita's house for beer, pizza and whisky.
Sunday 1st June- Today we are off into the forest to visit Bertil's new hut. We take some paint and start on the side in the shadow. Its very hot- 28c they say. As the sun goes round we drink beer and keep up with the shadow. We try and identify the butterflies we see- one's like the Scotch Argus. Later, Bertil apppears and we have coffee and then he takes us on a tour around the raised bog (@200 sq. km) where the moose have their calves.
Monday 2nd June- We meet Emma & from the UK who are here for a week, give them a few helpful tips (we hope) and see them off. Then we set off ourselves. We are getting a lift from Bertil beyond Nossemark so we can have another recce further north. We embark @ 2.30 and decide to paddle up to Guppvikson where we shelter fom the sun and have a kip. Later we paddle on agin to Trollon, but the wind has got up so we use the shore as shelter. We haven't been here before. Its obvioiusly well visited and there is not a lot of wood. We have dinner and experiment with a bannock recipe and an oven Bertil has given us. They taste OK but are a bit hard. We also do some fishing, but have no luck. We sit and listen to the northern diver' eerie calls well after sunset, but its still light.
Tuesday 3rd June- Its much windier today, so we decide to go on up to Foxon to see what its like there. It is a much wider part of the lake and with the wind from the east could be quite choppy. We pass a couple of guys from Berlin fishing and wild camping and have a chat. Then a Golden Eye duck with its chicks comes very close to the canoe and we get a bit of video. It doesn't seem too bothered, but the chicks aren't so sure, jumping on mum's back when they aren't. We continue, fishing and catch a couple of perch (one we put back) and then go up to the south end of Foxon where we get more good views of Ospreys. Its too windy to bother with exploring Foxon, so we cut across the bottom end and are surprised by a moose swimming between islands while we are sailing - we found a couple of poles and with a tarp were moving quite swifty until, of course, the wind dropped. Fishing on and off, we made our way back to Guppvikson where we watched another pair of Ospreys, before going on to our next site. We'd been here before and hoped we might see moose. Instead we found major engineering works left by wild boar. We didn't see any, probably because we smelt of smoke, but the baked perch tasted really good.
Wednesday 4th June- Onwards back towards Ed. We fished and one trout had two snatches, but missed. We visit one of our favourite wild campsites before we get to the ferry at Nossemark. We stop to leave some rubbish, but find there are no facilities there any more; doesn't matter we'll take it back to Ed. We want to explore the other side of the lake and there's only a little wind in our face, so we decide we'll take a diagonal rather than the shortest route. Typically the lake shows us whose boss and the wind increases sharply which means we suddenly have to concentrate hard and watch out for the big waves that come out of nowhere. We paddle hard for an hour to get to an island in the middle. You wouldn't want a group doing that. We find it odd that almost all the trees on the island are marked with blue - we ask Bertil later and he says they have been valued and the forest auctioned off. The wind hasn't really dropped, so we take a different route to our next wild campsite, sailing downwind to start with to take advantage of the shelter of another island, but soon meet the wind and waves again meaning we have to 'tack' to manage the waves. As soon as we get in the shelter of the group of islands at the edge of the lake, its calm again. Our campsite is as we left it a week before and we watch shoals of minnoes going round our island cleaning its edge with the lake. After another stunning sunset, we set off for a night paddle, taking photos. We find a little inlet and explore to find Daubenton's bats flying around and between us, feeding on insects.
Thursday 5th June- We pass our Ospreys again and spend the day following the shore in an area we have always passed by. We are intigued by some birds making a lot of noise and turn a corner to come upon two male Northern Divers fighting over a female. They are very aggressive and apparently will kill geese if they invade their space. They beat the water and each other with thier wings and travel a good kilometre while they are at it. We find some lovely bays with reeds, dragon and damsel flies and see big fish so we have a go but don't manage to catch any. Eventually we arrive at Scotton and see our first power boat. There are some, but its rare to see them. It soon leaves and we have the island to ourselves again. There is a red notice in Swedish about fire, so we assume thay now have a ban on fires. We had seen the fire spotting plane everyday. We had mentioned to Bertil a week back that it was very dry and had taken a Trangia stove just in case. While we cook dinner, a skein of geese flies in front of us completely silently. Later a heron lands on the rock 30ft away, probably knows some people wash their plates there. Its come for the minnoes that clean up. After sunset we set off to see something else, but we'd have to kill ourselves if we told you.
Friday 6th June- Its back to Ed today. We follow the shore again, looking for suitable wild camp sites. There are quite a few wind blown trees from the storm 2 years ago. We see more Golden Eye chicks and also some geese with goslings. Today is Swedish National Day and we see a few more boats, but they are miles away. We fancy an ice cream so decide to visit the cafe at the marina and finish up with a brisk paddle just for fun. Unfortunately its shut!, but we have a chat with the Swedish owners of the Finnish ---- you know how it goes. Back at Canodal, we have a bear with Bertil. He's had a good week. We wander up to town for a pizza and watch the parade of large amercian cars that Swedes love to drive in patrolling the main street. Nobody gets too excited, its all very laid back.
Saturday 7th June- Our last day. We pack everything up and put it away for our next visit. We find out that the trains aren't running on Sunday, so spend time making sure we can get to City Airport on time for our flight.
Sunday 8th June- Bertil gives us a lift to the bus station. We get the 8.45 to Amal and then the train to Goteborg. Unfortunately the airport bus has already left, so we have to take a taxi. Everything else goes to plan and we arrive at Prestwick on time, pick up the car from Watsons Ayr Park and have a pleasant drive home.
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