Monday, 11 February 2019

Plans for 2019

Having just about got over a mild bout of 'flu, I can now look forward to getting out backpacking. After a couple of weekends coming up out with the Backpackers Club, at the end of this month I plan to walk the Hertfordshire Way. I walked half of it in 2016, clockwise from Tring to Bishops Stortford (it's a circular walk and waymarked in both directions). The official start/finish point is Royston, on the Cambridgeshire border, but my most convenient start/finish point is Tring as I can get there using public transport.

I was so impressed with the walk in 2016 although maybe the half I did then might be regarded as the better half. Wild camping was so easy as there were so many belts of trees and wooded areas ideal for hiding myself away. I did it in August so the days were longer but the evenings are now getting lighter although, of course, it won't be as warm.

The other outing I have planned is in April. In 2016 and 2018, my wife and I spent time campervanning around Sweden and I realised that it is a backpacking paradise. There are numerous hiking trails. The most well known is the Kungsleden (King's Trail) which is very popular - maybe too popular. There are 112 trails listed on Traildino of varying lengths. Sweden is not a backpacking destination for the majority of UK hikers which is a great shame. As a country, it is twice the size of the UK with just a sixth of the population. Wild camping (and walking, cycling, etc.) is permitted just about anywhere with the exception of private gardens, near a dwelling house or land under cultivation.

The trail I have in mind is the Sörmlandsleden. In all, it's 1000km but I have planned a walk of 300km. My starting point is easy to get to as it's Stockholm Stavska airport which Ryanair flies to from Stansted. My flights there and back are booked. Whilst budget airlines often fly to out of the way airports, this one is exactly where I want to be. There will be some coastal walking but much of it will be in forest and lakes, well away from habitation. There are open shelters at regular intervals with facilities for making an open fire if required. I may use the shelters but will always be able to camp. I think April will be a good time for this trip. I know from experience that mosquitoes can be a problem in the summer but I should avoid them by going early.