Solberget Vildmarksbyn

 

Yesterday I began working as a tourist guide at Solberget Vilmarksbyn as part of a work experience scheme with the local job centre.

Yesterday we took guests out on a ski tour around the local marshes.

We could not travel across the marshes because the ice was thin and there was water under the snow.

Water on skis freezes immediately and has to be removed.  Fortunately Dirk had a gas burner in his rucksack

We heard and found much evidence of Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus).  In the picture below they had been feeding on Birch buds

Willow Grouse have feathers on their feet so you cannot see toes in their tracks

In this picture a Willow Grouse has landed in the snow (you can see the wing pattern) and then run away.

We also saw many Red Squirrel tracks

After three hours, we returned to Solberget Wilderness Village

After the Reindeer had been fed this morning

we headed off into the forest on another ski tour to the top of Solberet (Sun Hill translated to English).

We skied uphill for about one hour until we reached a cabin and fire-watch tower

Once inside the cabin we made a fire

and had lunch

After lunch we returned to Solberget.

An early Christmas present

Christmas came early for me when Teres bought me a pair of Reindeer skin trousers, something I have wanted for many years.

They are made to my specification by a friend of ours who designs and makes both traditional and modern Sámi clothing.

They are very warm and comfortable but one problem I have found is that keys in my pocket have stretched and discoloured the Reindeer skin, so Teres came up with the idea to make a special leather pouch for my keys which I have now made.

When I do not need my keys, I pull a leather cord which draws the keys up inside the pouch

The pouch is easy to make.  You cut out two bell shaped pieces of leather which are joined together at the top.  Sew both sides together

and make a small hole in the leather at the top, through which you put a leather cord (I used a four-strand round plat to make my leather cord).  Attach the end of the cord inside the pouch to your keys and make a knot or attach a metal ring to the opposite end and the pouch is completed.

Dawn and dusk in Nattavaara

Although the sun no longer appears above the horizon, we still have dawn and dusk here.  Dusk is at around 2pm just now

and dawn is at 9am.  It took this series of pictures this morning when the temperature was -23 degrees.

and behind me the moon was shining over the trees

Here’s a short atmospheric video I also made.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Items I have made recently.

We have a lot more snow now and another 20cms is forecast to come tomorrow.

I haven’t been out and about much recently, but I have been busy making items to sell at a Christmas market this weekend.

I have used pig intestine to stitch the birch bark containers. I wrote about processing pig intestine here.

I am using the mystery braid a lot now in the leather armbands I make

Terrible weather conditions

After a few days of snow and temperatures down to -23 degrees, the weather then became warmer on Tuesday evening with a night time temperature of +3 degrees.  It also began to rain heavily, but then the temperature dropped below freezing again and both the rainwater and snow melt have frozen forming a thick layer of  ice over the ground and roads.  Driving conditions are now very difficult (even with winter studded tyres) because they have no grip on the ice.  There have been many accidents up here and cars are also just sliding off the roads.  It is also very difficult to walk anywhere because you keep slipping over.

These conditions will make life very difficult for wildlife, such as small mammals which cannot borrow through the ice layer and Reindeer which cannot dig through the ice to find food.