... people per square kilometer

October 31, 2013  •  5 Comments

 

 

_MG_7467blog_MG_7467blog

We’re in our winter quarters now, a comfortable flat in a tiny village – Vormsele – by a big, big river in southern Lapland.

 

Lapland is vast. With very few people. It holds about 1.2% of the 9,000,000 or so Swedes, in 26% of Sweden’s land area. This works out to roughly 2 people per square kilometre – they are heavily outnumbered by reindeer in most areas. We are 15 kms from the nearest shop and 45 kms from the nearest town, Lycksele. The roads are wide, smooth and untroubled by traffic although they do have a speed limit of around 60 mph. You wonder at this until you see an elk, a great grey monolith at the side of the road.

 

An elderly aunt of my treated traffic with utter contempt, and would start her journey across a busy road by fixing the driver of the nearest oncoming car with a formidable stare, and waving her stick around vigorously. She continued across the road thus, oblivious to the sound of expletives and screeching brakes in her wake. An elk crosses your path in a similar way, albeit without the stick. If the elk is really curious then it might stop half-way across and watch you fish-tailing towards it on smoking wheels.

 

Unfortunately, and unlike my aunt, an elk can weigh 700 kg. You really, really don’t want to hit one, so perhaps the speed limits are a good idea …

 

 

I’ve never seen a reindeer near to a main road. This is good as they outnumber elks by a long way and are still big enough to total your car. The reindeer are not really “wild” animals as they are owned & herded by the indigenous Sami people. They spend the spring & summer in the mountains then are brought down, in lorries, for the winter. In the early spring, whilst the river is still frozen, the Sami herd the reindeer along the river and back to the hills. Thousands of them will pass through the village.

 

The locals use the frozen river for ice-fishing, to which we’ve already been invited. They bore a large hole through the ice and dangle a line through, pretty much like the eskimos do. They also use it as a highway for snow-scooters, skiing etc.

 

The winters here are long & severe. We’ve had a couple of little dustings already and the real snow will come in a week or so and will remain until April/May of next year. They have recorded temperatures of -40oC but -20 is common and the locals treat the winter with respect. Snow-tyres are being fitted, logs stacked, snow-scooters readied and snow-poles are in place. These, snow-poles, are 3 meter tall red poles, at 50 meter intervals to mark the safe edge of the road.

 

We saw the Northern Lights last night ….

 


Comments

Mal O'Neil(non-registered)
I take it part of the hire agreement for the flat is to help Santa. Enjoy the experience and don’t for get me on the night, I still believe! Merry Christmas.
veronica stocker(non-registered)
wow sounds amazing!! Keep a look out for santa! Have fun stay safe and warm xxx veronica and family
David Mottershead(non-registered)
Looks and sounds wonderful (if very cold). Great images of the Aurora by the way. Enjoy!!
Denis Binns(non-registered)
Pleased your having a good time. Reminds us of the trip we did in the motorhome round Norway a couple of years ago. We were on the Russian/Norwegian border for the midnight sun. A most unforgettable experience.
Ed(non-registered)
Excellent!! Dig out those goosedown sleeping bags, and the Helly Hansen underwear. Now where did I put that Petzl head torch and the complete works of Dickens? Stay warm!! Ed
No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February March April May June July August September October November December (3)
January February (2) March April (1) May June July (1) August September (1) October (1) November December (1)
January (1) February (1) March (1) April (1) May June (2) July (1) August September October (1) November December
January February (1) March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December