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  1. #71
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Örnsköldsvik to Honoberget via Skuleskogen.…

    Back on the road and with the number of vehicles who were not using any fog lights it was a constant scenario of ‘Now you see me’…...

    ‘Now you don’t!’…

    Then a few miles further on as the clouds/mist were lifting we spotted this sign at the side of the road and turning right we found ourselves at…..

    While in English a sign engraved into the glass on the front of the building was a comment: “A little star at the side of the boring E4” and it was very true!...

    Parking up in the very large car park…..

    We set off into the building to find a number of interesting displays giving information about the area of Skuleskogen….

    While during the Ice Age the Ice covered the Mountains…..

    Then we saw this information..…

    And ‘pressed the button’ to be presented with a display of what happened when the ice melted……

    The 3 Meters Thick Ice Sheet covering the Mountains….

    The start of the ‘Meltdown’……

    Time to head off outside for a ‘Climbing Walk’….

    While this is it and it doesn’t get any better!....

    As you climb up through this lot, while I was glad I had the right sort of boots on….

    Mother Nature is starting to bloom…..

    Climbing over this lot is expected as it is part of the trail….

    These first clear view through the trees….

    Now do we go ‘left’ or ‘right’?
    As the route to the ‘Toppen’ looked rather difficult I chose the ‘Grottan’….

    Then after some steel ladders & chains up the side of wooden steps and narrow walkways across the cliff face, we see the ‘Grottan’…..

    While after the climb if felt like a lot more than 185 Meters above sea level!…..

    The cave itself which was quite large…..

    The plan of the view looking out from the cave….

    The view itself…..

    Time to get back down!…..

    Then it was back on the road to Honoberget…..

    The longest single span bridge in Sweden ‘Högakustenbron’ which is 1867meters long and took One Million Man Hours to construct, appears up ahead partly shrouded in low cloud…..

    Into the place for caravan parking & get parked up just before the bridge crossing

    As the low cloud swirls around the area……

    Next stop tomorrow is Harnosand…..

  2. #72
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Honoberget to Härnösand and then Söderhamn.…

    First job this morning after a rather noisy night from the traffic going over the expansion plates on the bridge was to get across it as it is undergoing maintenance, and the 4 lanes are now down to 2…...

    Then a bit further on we pass this Cow draped in the Swedish Flag..…

    Not long after and we reach…..

    As we pass the store house for the Wind Turbine Blades heading for the place we were planning to stay, we find that the Mobile Fairground has moved in and taken all the places and space, so we came out...

    Passed this intriguing building and went to a supermarket for some items where we were told we could park up for a few hours to go and take a look at the town which was very nice…..

    So off we went with rain clouds moving in overhead as we passed this water fountain….

    While up in the Town Centre we see this sign in a disused shop window…..

    And there are the food stalls from Italia, France, Nederlands, Greece & Spain….

    Main shopping street……

    Very impressive Town Hall….

    Don’t know what this place was but don’t you just love the colour?

    ‘Riksbank’ but it was closed for business….

    View looking down the hill from a very large church....

    The church, which was closed….

    Nice old buildings…..

    The river on the left….

    The view back from the bridge….

    The river on the right….

    Then the entrance into the bay…..

    We think this was perhaps an old prison die to all the bars on the windows, but it was no longer in use…..

    View across the bay…..

    Railway Station & Bus Terminal ….

    With a final panoramic of the town across the bay…..

    Then back on the road as we decided to carry on to our next stop and campsite as we pass this rather strange item on the road side…

    Across a river and there are a few of these in Sweden!…..

    We get closer to Sundsvall and a Ski Area with the accommodation similar to what you see in some places in France…..

    While the exit for Sundsvall comes up….

    We continue and pass the outer fringes of this very large town….

    As we continue down the E4 to…..

    Into the centre and turn left by the red building….

    After checking in at the Gulf Garage and collecting our keys for the Shower, Laundry, Washroom & Mains Power Hook Up we get on our selected pitch, then sit back and admire the view……

    While the rain clouds built up and it did start raining....heavily, tomorrow is supposed to be nice so we are hoping after getting some laundry done to be able to go off exploring around the town…..

  3. #73
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    After the laundry it was time for exploring around Söderhamn.…

    While using a laundry machine with instructions only in Swedish meant a much longer than ‘normal’ washing time we did finish just before lunch and then after a quick bite to eat, set off for a look around the town, while this is what we saw…...

    Looking along the quayside and up the river towards town….

    While in front of us, this is the view..…

    Going left, down towards the Botnia Sea…..

    While behind us on the grass outside what is now a school is this piece of equipment, but no-one knows what it was used for, although the town was into steel making and wood production …..

    Then in front of us we have Motor Vessel ‘Moa’ based in Stockholm until 10 years ago.
    The ship was an Ice Breaker. It has an 11Litre Scania Engine and is currently 110 Years Old, being used now for pleasure trips around the area!.....

    Off into town and we find this outside the Bibliotek. The Globe is on a separate stand about 2 meters away from the metal plaque….

    Bibliotek entrance on the right…..

    View the other way….

    OK, so how do we get up to that Tower?……

    Well here is what it’s called and there is a pathway, so we lock the bikes up and start using ‘Shank’s Pony’ to get up there! (That’s Feet & Legs and it’s called ‘walking’)

    ‘Are we there yet?’…….

    With the views from the rock outside the tower as it was closed….

    Zoomed in on this church…..

    Which we headed off to when we got back down which looks more spectacular close up….

    Then we found the first small park with a vivid colourful flower collection….

    As we admired the Tulips a local lady advised us of another more spectacular show in another park close by, so off we went via the outside of the Town Hall….

    Crossing the river on the way (Downstream view)…..

    And the upstream view with the no longer used elevated railway on the left of the picture…..

    Mind your head the clearance is only 2.3Meters!…..

    As we then get into the other small park….

    While we were not to be disappointed…..

    As we came out of the park and made our way back into town we passed a very old fresh water pump that you used to have to buy your water from as there was a faded notice on the side giving the cost and how it rose over the years for the volume of water you bought……

    On the 31st May there is a celebration here so we watched the erection of a large tent as after the frame was laid out and the canvas pulled over, 6 men took a leg each on one side and lifted that side up while straightening the legs, they then went over to the other side and repeated the exercise! Simple really!....

    As we moved to one of the supermarkets to get a few thibgs as the forecast for tomorrow at the moment is not good we spotted this plaque on the wall which we think has got something to do with the steel and timber industries of past years…..

    Supermarket visited so we collected the bikes and set off down the old railway to the other side of the river and quay….

    Re-cycled Railway Bogie into a Seat, but the wheels can’t move!....

    While down on the quayside waiting in vain for a ship to unload is this small crane, while I couldn’t help but notice the lump of concrete on the back as a counterbalance…..

    That’s it for today, let’s see what tomorrow brings as we have another day here….

  4. #74
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Calgary, Alberta



    Best display of tulips I have seen. Very well done. I would love to that in person.

  5. #75
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Quote Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post

    Best display of tulips I have seen. Very well done. I would love to that in person.
    Glad you liked the pictures.

    With all the different colours I personally think it was nicer than the Cherry Blossom display which only comes in pink & white that we saw several years ago in Washington DC which people go to see from all over the world.

    I guess the Tulip fields in Amsterdam are quite spectacular as well for the different colours.


    Sun is out BUT the clouds are rolling over........
    Last edited by XCovlov70; 05-30-2015 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Word correction

  6. #76
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Söderhamn to Sandarne Batklubb.…

    A very short trip today as the rules would only allow us to stay at the City Camping Site for 3 nights, so off we went out of Söderhamn past a couple of nice properties…..

    Then the city sign over the main road bridge into the town….

    While after 6 miles we get to Sandarne Battklubb (Boat Club)…

    With a nice view out of the rear window of the ‘TinTent’ towards the Archipelago which was obliterated 1 hour later as a bank of mist rolled in and then cleared up back to a nice view 15 minutes later …..

    After then checking the weather and seeing rain forecast once again in a couple of hours and for the next 3 days, we headed off quickly to a local store for a few items using the bikes and passing through parts of the village…..

    Older style houses with 4 residences in each….

    Newer blocks of flats (In Bricks & not Wood!) on the other side of the main road….

    Having then got the items from the store, we set off to get back to the ‘Batklubb’ as the skies started to get dark.
    Then 15 minutes after the rain started, and 7 hours later it is still coming down, with the likely hood that it will continue for quite some time to come!…

  7. #77
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    A day exploring around Sandarne Batklubb.…

    From a pamphlet we found at the campsite that was in English we spotted a couple of places along the coast that looked interesting and as the rain had diminished to showers we decided to go and explore with the following results…..

    First place was Axmar Bruk….

    Which had…..

    That produced Iron here….

    As we move down the road to find…

    Notice the Ramps up to the Chimney and building on the side of the Chimney…..

    As we see the hole still visible in the Chimney and the closed window in the building to the left, while they are in the process of restoring the building ….

    Up closer you can see the rails coming out of the hole in the Chimney…..

    While on the other side of the Chimney is the Pulley Wheel that the rope or chain was wrapped around to haul the trucks up the track to drop their load down the Chimney when they reached the top….

    While inside with a limited view through either dark or dirty windows we see what look like round towers inside….

    Then outside we find….

    One large Slag Mound….

    The just a short walk away towards the centre of Axmar Bruk we find….

    While this ‘Ironwork’ is sited where ‘Slottet’ would have been….

    With this small Neo Gothic Pavilion that is now used for christenings & weddings, but how you get all a wedding party inside remains a mystery!...

    It looks a bit like an English Garden…..

    This was formerly the main driveway up to Slottet…..

    When you look closer at the bricks in the Blacksmith’s Forge building it lookms like they have been made with a green glass like material, but it might be slag from the Ironworks…..

    Next was the Old Water Mill…..

    The Mill is on the right in the next picture….

    While finding a door unlocked in the side, behind it after prising it open we find the Water Wheel which looks in good condition but needs a bit of TLC to help it start turning again….

    Meanwhile the water in between the Mill and the building on the other side comes gushing out from the upper level lake…

    With a view down the middle….

    Then further around the park we find….

    As we then see the old Iron Works ‘Office’…..

    As we make our way back out we see a set of gates on the upper lake with an interesting adjustment mechanism…..

    Next stop was the village of Ljusne and as we turned off the main road to go to the centre, looking back we see this large Dam, but there was no evidence of any Hydro Electricity Installation with it….

    While on the left back where these old buildings which were possible another Water Mill….

    Up in front was this old building with a high tower….

    While behind us in a large parking area was this ‘item’ which might have been a canoe for the village races…..

    Then in the center of the village was the church that was sadly in need of a new coat of paint….

    As we then got back to the campsite in Sandarne I got a Swedish ‘Speciality’ out of the fridge which came recommended ‘To Try’ and the man who made the suggestion was also at the camp, so we set about preparing a snack with it….

    While the smell was something else from the Surströmmings Filéer as they were opened outside in the fresh air as opening them in the kitchen was not allowed, the taste when eating them I found to be very nice if a little acidic, but they were served with Boiled Potatoes, Beetroot, Tunbrod, Raw Onion, Butter & a Glass of Milk, delicious!….

    Forecast for tomorrow is not nice so we will have to wait and see what happens!

  8. #78
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Our last day at Sandarne with a trip to Trollharen.…

    Yesterday evening after I had finished the update a Battklub Member arrived to launch his BIG boat…..

    Which is in the next picture, and the size of it made the tow vehicle look like a ‘Dinky Toy’ when you saw the ‘Iron Girder’ that went through the centre of the Trailer!

    Going very slowly the man reverses the trailer into the water on the launch ramp stopping to tie the boat off to the floating landing stage to make sure that when it floats off the trailer it will not drift off into the middle of the water…..

    He is now Rear Axle deep in the water and the boat is not shifting….

    After a bit of jiggling up and down with no success he then gets an Aluminium Ladder and tries to lever the boat off the trailer.!…

    Finally moving another 6 inches backward s with the tow vehicle then starting the boat engines and putting the propellers in reverse the boat moves off the trailer as he then jumps back on the landing stage to adjust the ropes that stop it floating off!…..

    Then while the tow vehicle is still axle deep in the water he manoeuvres the boat to the quayside then proceeds to wash it down before returning to the tow vehicle and trailer to pull it out of the water! ….

    Then this morning we see a train hauling chemical goods through the campsite to a chemical factory which was next to the campsite…..

    After breakfast we set off after a recommendation to pay a visit to a local Fishmonger who produces a very nice Pepper Salmon Filet, so off we go to Trollharen Fisk ….

    While waiting for the shop to open we took a walk around the small village which is right on the coast….

    As we then saw the huts were the fisherman keep their boats we thought that they were sinking, but that is their normal level in the water!……

    Just set back from the coastline was this rather nice Log House which was not painted in the normal bright Red or Yellow colour that you associate with Sweden as the logs were black….

    The view down to the sea from the front of Trollharen Fisk…

    While at the side of the Trollharen Fisk is this indoor BBQ for cooking fish

    As the view inside shows you sit on Reindeer Skin covered seats….

    Then we go over to the shop which is now open and meet the owner Lars who explains what he does and all the different types of fish he sells at which point we are offered a sample of the ‘Pepper Lax’ which even though it is colder than usual it was excellent, so we purchase a piece and start to make our way back to Sandarne ….

    On the way back we nearly pass those two large buildings up the river from the large Dam that was not a Hydro Installation so turn right to have a look….

    It turns out that they were another Ironworks.….

    Then as we get back to Sandarne we see the local Church...

    While just before the Church are these quite old buildings…..

    Our time in Sandarne is now at an end so it’s back on the road tomorrow and as we head South we might not have access to the Internet for a few days for any updates….

  9. #79
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    Sandarne to Falun.…

    Back on the road through the Swedish woodland!

    It wasn’t long before we arrive at a Hydro Electric Dam, at which the water in the Dam is that high as it goes through two Turbine Gates which are arrowed……..

    It is also pouring through the overflow outlet which is to the left of the Turbine Gates…..

    Interestingly but a bit scary, was the ‘Dive Bombing’ that this Seagull commenced on me when I got out and moved back down the road albeit closer to the bird as it then started crying out quite shrilly while swopping down at me!…

    While a short run and we are coming into Tonnebro Rastplats which had a nice surprise for us!…..

    Behind this covered Tank is a rather long Truck & Trailer ….

    While parked up at the rear of the parking area are another two of these very long units which measure up to 25 Meters & 25 Centimetres in length, which converts to a staggering 83Feet!!
    The Trucks and Trailers are only allowed on the roads in Sweden, Norway, Denmark & Finland, while not surprisingly they are banned in all other countries of Europe…..

    Meanwhile it’s time for a snack ….

    Then we spot the nice surprise! Two ‘families’ of Canada Geese, the first has a brood of 10 Youngsters….

    The view along the back of the Rastplats as it looks out onto the lake….

    While the other ‘family’ with their brood of 5 Youngsters a bit further away happily tuck into the new grass that it growing…

    Interesting to watch the littleuns as they stand up, walk a few steps then lie down to get stuck into the grass shoots around them, then up they get again and repeat the process…..

    Time to get back on the road as we could spend a lot of time watching those little Geese….

    As we get closer to Falun we stopped briefly at this Rastplats to put a bag of rubbish into the waste bin and also to make use of the liquid disposal facility as we had forgotten to ‘clean out’ fully back in Sandarne while the Water Tower was quite interesting in its location….

    As we then get to the city sign of Falun which is a World Heritage Site from 2001….

    ‘Musical’ Traffic Island but we couldn’t hear anything!….

    The 2 minutes further on and we get hit with a heavy rainshower!....

    Passing a few nice buildings we reach our place for tonight.....

    While an hour later the dark clouds rolled in and the Overhead Watering Can commenced again and didn’t stop for around 4 hours with a few Thunder claps thrown in for good measure….

    Let’s see what happens tomorrow as having no Internet we cannot check the forecast!….

  10. #80
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Arctic Circle Return-2015

    A visit to ‘Falu Gruva’. The Coppermine.…

    After a rather wet night we made our way back into Falun to Falu Gruva as the entrance was on the far side of the traffic island that had the Copper Symbol mounted on top of a metal framework in the middle….

    Then turning right through the entrance and down to the large carpark…..

    Park up and then set off to go into Reception with the Adult & Child ‘Cutout’s’ for pictures while a large scale Globe of the Earth hangs and actually rotates overhead ….

    While just off to the right is a small plaque..…

    Fixed to a wooden model of the Goat whom legend has it ‘found’ the copper in 1888 …..

    As we then get the tickets to start the tour….

    The ‘Great Pit’ as it is now called was in fact 3 smaller pits which you can make out in the next picture, 1 at 10:00 O’clock, 1 at 02:00 O’clock and the 3rd in the Middle. All were separated by walls BUT one day which was the National Holiday and all the Miners were on holiday there was a very loud BANG and the 3 walls collapsed leaving the mine as you see it now, but it does still also go underground….

    As you turn through 180 Degrees you then see the Gruv Museum which was closed ……

    With other ‘Great Pit’ surface building which we will come to some of them later, as we are about to go ‘Underground’….

    The Entrance Door for the Underground Tour, which was quite dark in places until the guide turned out all the lights, electric & oil, and then it got pitch black!….

    As we got inside the door there were a few pictures on the walls of activities from olden days when the mine was operational…

    Time to put on the Orange Capes for Adults & Yellow Capes for Children while all of us had to wear a Safety Helmet, which was just as well as some people did managed to ‘Bang’ the roof of the tunnels as we went along! ….

    Then we are off with the Guide….

    The different colour in the rock as we went down was caused by water entering the mine while water also comes up the lower level of the mine, and as a result during each day 36,000 Litres are pumped out but that water has to be ‘cleaned’ before it is released into the lake system as it carries a number of metals .….

    Now we are inside the mine at one of the areas which was being worked by the miners….

    As we move then along one of the Tunnels which has electric lights fitted a Miner would only have his bunch of ‘sticks’ which was shaped like a bunch of flowers that the top of was lit with a naked flame for illumination...

    As we then come to the Main Shaft.

    The rear wall of the Main Shaft consisted of BIG Timbers to protect the water pipes behind from a swinging bucket full of copper ore, as they removed the 36,000 Litres of water by pump that was going into the bottom each day and that still continues today, while some of the Miners used to go up and down by ‘hanging on’ or going ‘head first’ down the rope to impress their mates at the bottom, while a number lost their lives when they fell off….

    The shaft was also used using special harnesses to lower and lift out the small horses that were used in the mine for pulling ore laden carts to the shaft bottom…

    As the water seeps into the mine the Copper coloured Stalactites grow….

    As we make our way deeper into the mine….

    Miners during their 12 hour shift, had to negotiate this ladder which was around 20feet high, while also carrying their tools which were strapped to their back and also their torch which was lit and held in a holder that they held in their teeth, drop the torch and you were in complete darkness…..

    Workface hole in the mine…..

    The great chamber, while the small rectangular pieces you can see at the back are actually tree trunks built up and locked in place to support and stop the roof falling down, while there are other sections in the mine where the roof is held up and in place using the same method….

    Another work area with the ore ready to be removed….

    A small short small side tunnel with the ore face at the end, this was around 2 feet wide by 3 feet high….

    In the next picture is a much larger work area with the roof held up with sections of tree trunks, while attached to the tree trunk on the left is a Miners ‘Torch’….

    That ‘Torch’ was all that lit this area…..

    From that point we made our way back to a modern piece of equipment called a ‘Lift’ which brought us back up to the Cape & Helmet room and then into the outer room for one last picture from days gone by….

    As we then got back outside into daylight and fresh air…..

    Next it was time to see some of the buildings on top of the ‘Great Pit’and the first was the Shaft head building, which is also….

    While this is the view through the wire mesh floor as you stand at the top of the shaft with the thick timber wall on one side….

    Inside the building is a maze of wooden pieces, some to support the building others to operate the winding mechanism to lift and lower the ropes in the shaft…

    The 3 spars of wood just to the left of centre in the next picture that has the chain around to stop them working, are part of the winding mechanism for one rope and are connected to a large spar which goes out through the wall of the building to another building which we will move over to next.
    At the bottom of the 3 spars of wood is a black box that holds the Bell which rings to say the water pumps at the bottom of the shaft are working, when it stops then so have the pumps and the water starts to rise until someone goes down to fix the pump, while the box makes the sound of the bell louder.….

    About 30 feet at the rear of the Shaft head building is Creutz Water Wheel, which was used to power the lifting mechanism and it’s in this building as the walking beam mechanism outside the building used to connect to the Shaft head building winding mechanism and ropes for the shaft…..

    The wheel itself at 15 meters (45feet) was a bit big in the confined space to pit in the picture….

    The ‘Topside boys’ who were not allowed to work in the mine itself until they were 12 years old, so they worked sorting the ore as it was crushed…..

    The ‘Crusher’ of which there were 2 one at the front and one at the back of the building…..

    The boys & their ‘tools’……

    A Washery boy’s story…..

    As we took a last view of the ‘Great Pit’ we remembered the story of one miner ‘Mats’ who for some unknown reason went back into the mine after finishing his shift. A rockfall occurred while he was in there, and he was trapped and died but was not buried just trapped.
    His wife thought he had gone missing, but 42 years later the miners found his body and with the amount of Vitriol in the mine it was preserved.
    No one knew who he was until a 70 years old lady came forward and recognised him. It was her husband.
    He was brought out of the mine and started to decompose so he was returned to the mine but later given a proper burial and has now become a legend….

    In a separate area is the factory which still produces the ‘Red Paint’ which you see the majority of wooden buildings painted on the outside with in Sweden, and after applying one coat the wood remains good for between 40 to 50 years….

    The end of our day so we head off to the Aires we plan to stop at which was quiet and very nice…..

    We will return to Falun tomorrow as there is quite a bit of the town itself worth exploring…..

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