Sweden E3.1 Valövägen Wildlife Reserve / by Tom Glendinning


Finally we've got out of Norway. Her precipitous angles and still waters shall be missed.

However, we're entering one of the most outstandingly beautiful and peaceful locations of our whole journey. The rugged, rocky, bewilderingly silent national parks strung down the west coast of Sweden. This is Valövägen.

Variety comes in the height of the rock from the sea.

We sought out the peninsulas less travelled, with tiny communities clinging to the edges of protected reserves. We trod lightly and spoke quietly. Everything here felt at rest. The sea, the rock, the little boats silently threading wakes between islands.

The landscape feels so ancient in its bare, water worn, cracked undulations. Inhabited by brief pools, grasses and lichens.

Down the coast, only the changing height of the rocky formations proved your passing. Where the rock was low, the sea was shallow, choked with slippery weeds. We would leave the bare salty rock to little wooded inlets and meadowed valleys, working around to return again only just across the sound, where the quiet rock was waiting.

People were tucked into the landscape, bothering you only with a smile, and scandi "Hihi!"

...Also, on our way here, on a moonlit misty night, we met our first Elk. Standing tall and silhouetted in the middle of the road like a Swedish grim. That's another story...