Winter in Lapland 2009 – 9

I took a two hour train journey from Gallivare to Jokkmokk on the Inland train, arriving in Jokkmokk at 10:45.


There were just so many things I would of liked to have bought, particularly a set of these woollen clothes with leather trims


but I was at the market to specifically buy Reindeer skins and antler tips.  While walking around the market I did meet my Swedish friend Marina who is attending a one year Primitive Skills Course.

The 6th February is national Saami day and there were presentations and songs being given on the main stage


As I understand some bodies of Saami people were excavated from their graves for museum exhibits and the Saami people are now campaigning for them to be returned.

As well as people speaking there was also some yoiking which is Saami traditional singing.  This short piece of video is of  Thomas Marainen (thanks Marina) and was just so wonderful to listen to.  Unfortunately he does not seem to have any CD’s available to buy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

After completing my shopping list I headed off to watch the Reindeer racing again.  Here they are attaching the Reindeer to the sledges.


and then they are released and the race begins


The girl leading in this race is Mary and she comes from the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre


In the next race one of the Reindeer broke free but this guy managed to hold on to the tether rope and travelled around the whole course like this


This was the final race that I saw

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Then it was time for me to return to the station to catch my train, but here is a picture of all the items I bought


2 large Reindeer skins, 2 Birch tanned Reindeer hides for making my bags like the one you can see in the picture, antler tips for fasteners, two knife blades from the blacksmith who made my own blade and 10 kuksa’s which I am selling to help cover the cost of my trip.

Winter in Lapland 2009 – 8

I travelled to Jokkmokk for the marknad today.


This market has been held annually for over 400 years now.

I was last in Jokkmokk for the marknad in January 2007.  You can buy so many things here, from smoked fish and meats


to skins and clothing made from skins


and animals still wearing there skins


This of course is a European Brown Bear (Björn in Swedish).

For one hour each afternoon you can watch Reindeer racing. Here are some of the Reindeer ready for racing


and these are the sledges pulled by them


Those racing with the Reindeer seem to be tourists who are staying in Jokkmokk for the marknad.


Here is a piece of video of the racing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I had travelled to Jokkmokk with a list of items to buy both for me and people back in Englandand with some items still missing from my list, I decided I would return the following day.

Winter in Lapland 2009 – 7

I headed off into the forest again along a scooter trail.  The temperature was -16 degrees.


It was rather cloudy and the sun soon set but there were still some nice views.



The trees are mainly Pine (Tall in Swedish), Spruce (Gran) and Birch (Björk).

Later in the afternoon I decided to stop for a brew.  I headed off the scooter trail into the forest in thigh deep snow, collecting the lower dead branches from the Spruce as I walked.


This seemed like a good location to stop with a stump to rest on/against and somewhere to keep my kit out of the snow.


I needed to dig down into the snow to make my fire directly on the ground, and lacking a shovel I used my Crusader cup

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Diggingwithcup.flv video by sufguy1 -…“, posted with vodpod

I used some Birch bark in the Spruce branches and my firesteel to get the fire going.  The resin in the dead branches makes them burn well.


I melted a small amount of snow in my cup and then continued to add snow to the water to melt it.


Once I had a cup full of water I put the cup lid on and waited for the water to boil.


While sitting enjoying a hot cup of chocolate I had the idea to carry my Crusader cup in my soft leather possibles pouch but unfortunately it wouldn’t quite fit in so I decided to make a larger pouch once I got back to England…but more about that soon!

As I headed back it was almost dark and so peaceful.


Winter in Lapland 2009 – 6

I spent the morning in Gallivare looking for books to help improve my Swedish.

I bought a children’s book  to help me learn Swedish and which I have now found as a an on-line resource; Click on pictures or text for Swedish pronunciation.

I also bought a book  I have wanted for a very long time which is about  Saami Firecraft.  All the text is in Swedish and this is my incentive to learn more Swedish.  The book is called “Eld, Flammor och glöd” which translated means Fire, Flame and ember by Yngve Ryd.

In a recent book by Yngve Ryd the Sami expertise of fire-making is revealed in fascinating detail, with excellent colour photos making it possible even for those who do not read Swedish to follow the processes and to understand something of these ancient skills.

I took the above from a site with some English text about this book and as you will see they have tried to find a partner to publish the book in English and I am astonished that they have been unsuccessful with the popularity of this subject.

I met two of the people who feature in the book at Jokkmokk in 2007.  On the left is Nils-Henrik Tejlus and Rune Stokke.


If there are any publishers reading this “PLEASE PUBLISH THIS BOOK IN ENGLISH AS IT WILL BE VERY POPULAR!!”

There is now another book in this Saami series all about snow.

After lunch I decided to go walking, but more about that next time…….

Winter in Lapland 2009 – 5

The journey to the Ice Hotel at Jukkajavi took just over an hour.  This is the main entrance to the Ice Hotel


Before entering the hotel we visited the church where many couples come to get married.


These tree shapes are achieved by covering shaped steel rods with ice.


Here are the church pews covered with Reindeer skins for insulation


So now we move into the hotel and everything you see here in the entrance hall is made from ice


While many rooms were quite basic and similar in appearance, a number of rooms had been made by designers from all over the world.  The ice is sourced from a local river and in many ice blocks you can see aquatic plants.

This is a night sky scene


This scene is backlit to create this effect


and here we have a serpent


This room was designed by an English designer and is the inside of a submarine


When we got back home I was treated to my favourite meal in Lapland.  Which is Anki’s minced Reindeer meat fried with onions and cooked in double cream.


served with potato mash and of course Lingon Sylt


Winter in Lapland 2009 – 4

I was up at first light (just after 7am) and went walking in the forest.  I decided to walk along the scooter trail to Kiruna.  My first encounter of the day was 2 Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) jumping around halfway up in some Spruce.  Next I found fresh track of Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus)


and some droppings


but I did not see a hare.

The trail crosses a river and in the picture below I am standing on the river to take the picture


Crossing the river and heading into the forest I found evidence of where a group od Reindeer had been feeding.  In this picture you can see some droppings in the bottom left of the picture.


The Reindeer will bury down into the snow with there heads and plough through it to reach vegetation on the ground and often all you see is a series of backsides sticking in the air.  This can leave hollows in the snow and you can see one of those to the right of this picture


As the sun rose there was beautiful red sky which this picture doesn’t really do justice to unfortunately


Personally I felt I wasn’t taking a great deal with me when out walking


but each time I walked out of the house Ingvar would give me questioning glance of  “why are you carrying so much for a walk in the forest?”

As I walked back across the river the sight of sunlight on the hill stood out against the duller surroundings


After returning home I was asked if I would like to visit the Ice Hotel at Jukkasjavi (Javi meaning lake), but more about that next time.

Winter in Lapland 2009 – 3

I spent the evening learning some traditional cooking.  Ingvar and Anki were not impressed with my attempt at making Lingon (Cow Berry) sylt in September so they were keen to teach me the traditional recipe.

We used;

4 lites of Lingon berries

20 decilitres of water

80 decilitres of sugar

Here the Lingon are being measured out into a large saucepan


The mixture is brought to the boil and then simmered for 15 minutes and any froth forming on the top must be skinned off and removed.


The sauce is then left to cool and put into jars.

The Lingon sylt is traditionally served with Reindeer meat.  In the picture below I have it with Reindeer blood pudding (the Swedish/Saami name for which I cannot remember).


Anki had defrosted a large White Fish (Sik in Swedish) to cook for our evening meal.

I have smoked White fish at my cabin


but this one had not been smoked.


Anki filleted it, placed some herbs between the fillets and then wrapped them in bacon.


It was then baked in the oven and having never had fish cooked in bacon I would certainly do it again as it was fantastic!!