Hoga Kusten 25 & 26 July 2014

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July 27th 2014
Published: July 30th 2014
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Hoga Kusten 25 & 26 July 2014

One of the most beautiful coast lines in Sweden is the Hoga Kusten or High Coast in English. No where along the coast do you see such mountainous landscape with sheer rocky cliffs plunging straight down into the peninsular of the Baltic Sea. This area is sprinkled with dozens of lakes, fjords, and tranquil islands covered in dense pine forests or paddocks of crops.

After leaving Sundsvall we headed north to see the high cliffs. We first drove across a bridge that looked like the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco and spotted a tourist information centre just across the bridge. He was incredibly helpful, advising us the best way to see the special features of the area.

With maps in hand, we followed the tourist route which was mostly sealed roads. It was a delight to drive the scenic, winding roads between minute fishing villages. We tried to catch a boat to one of the little islands but couldn't fit in with any schedules. But as an alternative, we stopped as many times as possible, to soak in the scenery and watching holiday makers enjoy this short summer - it was about 28-30 degrees C by the way. The locals were lapping it up.

There were 2 beaches we stopped at, Rotsidan and Bonhamn. Both these beaches are made up of rocky bolders. The locals sit on the rocks and have their picnics, but no umbrellas can be put up as there is no sand. The 1st beach we visited, we walked 500m through beautiful, cool pine forest, to get to the beach. The second (Bonhamn) was far more developed because there was a big camping park and several restaurants. One restaurant served fish dishes and has won Swedish awards for excellent dining in the past 5 years. We spent about an hour here having cold drinks and an icecream. It was beautiful watching the children swimming, diving off the wooden platform and jumping on a trampoline in a harness, so hence doing flips and other acrobats.

All the villages were made up of the deep red painted wooden houses.

The region, recognised as geologically unique was recently listed as a Unesco World Heritage area. During the Ice Age, this area was of course covered in heavy ice. 9,000 years ago, after the retreating of the ice and therefore without the weight of the ice sheets, the land started to rise from the sea. This land uplift is still occurring rapidly, at almost one metre per 100 years. Fascinating.

The other geological phenomena is the till-capped hills. As waves crashed against small sea islets after the Ice Age, these islets have risen to become high hills. Moraine or till was left on the top of the hills where the waves never reached, and has become forested. The hills were called till-capped hills. The highest shoreline is another trace of the land uplift that can be seen in the Skuleskogen National Park which on the northern boundary of the Hoga Kusten. The have put a metal strap around the section of the hill to show the highest point where the sea was. This is at 286m.

We visited this mountain, going to the top in a ski lift. All this area is covered in snow throughout the winter - hard to imagine in the 30 degree heat we are experiencing. The national park has many walking tracks, all very well marked. The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular. We were mesmerised as we sat looking out at the multitude of islands, blue water and sky, trying to imagine how it would looked snow-covered. The ski slopes were varied but ideal for all levels of ability. I felt like it was time for me to get back on the skis sometime in the future.

It was time to drag ourselves away from this geologically unusual area and find a spot for the night.

Watching the GPS, we headed for more water to see if we could find a nice spot. We came across a sandy beach with very basic toilet facilities and change rooms. As soon as we arrived, on went the bathers and into the water. The temperature of the water was patchy - some warm and some very cold. However, it was very refreshing after the hot day. There was plenty of shade to have out dinner and bottle of red wine, watching a few families arrive on bikes and cars to have a swim. This occurred right up to 10.00pm. All who remained after this time was 4 motor homes, one of which was ours. There was a pinkish sunset and the temperature was beautiful in the evening. We slept well, waking to another beautiful day. We were heading further north along the eastern Swedish coast, up to Finland.

You may be interested to know that the Baltic Sea is not salty. As the restricted outlet of the Baltic Sea, into the Black Sea flows through the archipelago making up Denmark, and as there is so much snow from Sweden and Finland, melting into the Baltic Sea, it ends up being fresh water. There looks as though there is a bit of iron in the water.

So Finland, here we come!

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