Jokkmokks Marknad 2015

Last week was Jokkmokks annual winter market.


The market was smaller this year the traditional craft stools continue to dwindle in number as the number of stools selling sweets incearses.

I spent some time out on a frozen lake watching the reindeer racing.

jokkmokk marknad reindeer race

During one of the races, the reindeer ran into the perimeier fence and then took the fence with it around the whole course

jokkmokk reindeer race

It did not take long to repair the fence, so that races could continue.

jokkmokk reindeer race-2

Jokkmokks Marknad 2012 part 2

I returned to the marknad on the Friday.  It was a very cold day with a temperature of -38 degrees c.  I had not been there long when I started noticing people with what I first thought was zinc oxide cream on their noses, but it was in fact people showing the early stages of frostbite.  Later in the day I met a German girl who’s nose and cheeks were completely white, but when I suggested she needed to go somewhere warm or seek medical treatment, she just laughed and walked away!!

I did not spend much time looking around the marknad because I had no money, but I did watch the reindeer racing

Just after I took this next picture,

the reindeer on the right ran into the reindeer on the left and then kicked the guy laying on the ackja in the face.

To stop the reindeer when they have raced around the circuit a rope is put across, and when the reindeer and ackja run into the rope, the Sámi grab the rope and hold on as they get dragged behind the reindeer, until they stop running.

On Friday evening I attended a Joik concert by Anja Storelv and her band.

It was a great evening with some really good music

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Jokkmokks Marknad 2012 part 1

Last week I spent two days at Jokkmokks Marknad as part of my job as a wilderness guide at Solberget Vildmarks Byn.

My first day at the marknad was on Tuesday at the old, traditional market where I was fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time with John Stokke, a Sámi reindeer herder who has his own chapter in the Sámi book of fire “Eld, Flammor och Glod – samisk eldkonst”.  The chapter is about the “Nuorssjo” and it was this fire that he was demonstrating at the market (he is in the centre of this picture).

Photographs by Mike Lenzner

The Nuorssjo is a fire used for two people to sleep next and will burn for 14 hours with very little maintenance.  20cms of Spruce branches are put on the ground as insulation to lay on.

In addition to translating his life as a reindeer herder for our German guests, I also spent a lot of time discussing fire making with him. He even cooked coffee  for our guests to drink.

He wanted me to return the next day to talk more and show him how to make fire with the bow-drill but unfortunately this was just not possible, but I have promised to do it next year.

Fire making with flint and steel was also being demonstrated, and visitors were able to try for themselves.

Jokkmokk’s Marknard 2010

We drove to Jokkmokk on Saturday morning to visit the marknard.  The market has been taking place for over 400 years and was originally an opportunity to people from the south to trade goods and skins with the Saami people.

The 6th of February is the National Saami Day and so they put on a very good show in the afternoon in an ice arena.

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more about “Jokkmokks marknard 2“, posted with vodpod

People talking about the life and history of the Saami, people dressed in traditional clothing

and there was yoiking (the traditional singing of the Saami people) both traditional and moden.  This is Jokkmokk’s rock.

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more about “Jokkmokks Marknard“, posted with vodpod

I purchased some Reindeer skins (yours is ready to collect Mr Boots), Reindeer leather to make pouches, Lapp Leather to make traditional knife sheaths and a pair of Skobands for my friend Johan.

Moving to Sweden

I’m not planning to work at all during my first year in Lapland but will instead spend my time  learning to speak better Swedish, making new friends and contacts, making crafts to sell and I have applied to work as a volunteer for the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project but as yet I have had no response.

Although I do not plan to work full-time, in 2011 myself and Johan from Nordic Bushcraft are planning to run some courses together and I will be looking for other opportunities for part-time work, so if you have business in Lapland and you feel my skills and knowledge are  relevant please get in touch for a chat.

I will again be visiting Jokkmokk’s Marknard this year which takes place the same week I arrive in Lapland (that is no coincidence I can assure you!) to buy skins, leather and other goods for making crafts items.  If you will be there on Friday or Saturday  and are interested to meet up then please email me.

New knife

In 2006 I bought a knife blade from Leifs knifes while in Jokkokk, Lapland and used it to make this knife.


As it is such a good blade I bought more while in Jokkmokk at the beginning of February.  Some of the blades I am selling but one particular blade I decided to use to make a knife.

Having aquired a piece of water buffalo horn, I wanted to incorporate this into the handle.  I also had some Birch bur to use and I purchased some bone spacers.  Between each of the handle components I placed a piece of Birch bark.  When making previous knife handles I have glued the components together  but with this knife I decided not to use any glue.  Instead I made each component fit exactly and then riveted  over the end of the tang to keep them in place.

Here I am shaping the knife handle


I had also been given I really nice Red Deer antler tine (thanks John & Val) which I wanted to use as a sheath for the knife.  I began by cutting the antler in half to enable me to hollow it out for the knife blade to fit inside.  In this picture I am cutting the antler in half


Here is the completed knife handle with the blade fitted into the antler


I sanded to outside of the antler and filed two grooves around the outside, into which half tanned Reindeer sheath leather would be moulded to secure it in place.


Here is the completed knife and sheath


I only used non electrical hand tools and so it took me a day to hollow out the antler to the shape of the blade (I have viewed many examples of old Saami knives in museum collections and although these days electrical tools are used to make them, in the past only very basic tools were available to make items such as this one


and it is only through making your own, that you learn to really appreciate the work that went into these knives).

Lapland winter 2009 – 10

Unfortunately the time to leave for England always comes around too quickly.   But at least I know that in  a few weeks I will be returning for longer and staying at my cabin.

As usual certain things that I took with me were never used and some did not perform as a well as expected.

The clip on my replaced shoulder strap for my Highlander pack broke once again and my felt shoes wore through with only a weeks use.


My mistake was making three pairs of thin shoes when instead I should have made one thick pair like those made by Steph Lord (see my Special Offers page).

One thing that did really impress me was the service provided to me by the train company SJ.  My train left Gallivare at 18:50 Saturday evening and was due to arrive in Stockholm City at 09:15 Sunady morning.  From there I had to make a twenty minute underground train journey to Arlanda airport where I had to check in before 11:00.

About three hours from Stockholm I enquired whether the train was still on time and was told that we were currently running two hours late due to heavy snow.  This meant I would miss check-in for my flight.  I told the staff on the train about my problem and was taken to their office in one of the carriages.  Using a series of timetable books for connecting trains and buses they considered the options for dropping me at another station to connect with another train or bus that could get me to Arlanda on time.  Unfortunately none of the options could achieve this.

Using their internet connection they checked whether my flight had been delayed by the snow but unfortunately not.  I was about to give up and accept I would miss my flight when a member of staff told me he had spoken with his boss on the telephone and he had arranged for our train to be diverted direct to Arlanda airport which would get me there at 10:45.  I was astonished that such a thing had even been considered.  This would certainly not happen in the UK.  The train did indeed arrive at 10:45 and I was able to make check-in before it closed.


And finally, my friend Marina found three videos of Jokkmokk Marknad 2009 on YouTube which give you more of a feel for what goes on.  If you watch the second video carefully you will actually see me about halfway through.