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I guess it is time that I write a bit more about 'my' area of Sweden: the area around Lake Mälaren! Mälaren is the third largest lake in Sweden and it also the area that I now call my home. I have been living here for approximately 15 years; to be exact, from the first day that I moved to Sweden.
All the photos in the collage below are clickable, so you can view the larger photo.
Ready to put your hiking shoes on? Ok, then let's go! Today we are off to an area a bit to the north of us in the country of Västmanland. It is a nature reserve called "Stingsmossen", close to the town of Surahammar (about 25 km northwest of the city of Västerås). I have actually never been here before myself, and I have to admit, not prepared a lot either where we should or could hike. The only info I really had was a tip from a collegue earlier during the week that this is a really great area to go for a hike. So following his advice, here we go!
It is about a 60 kilometers drive from my home, but we decided not to take the straight route north, but do a little detour and take the off-the-beaten-path route following the smaller country lanes and make a stop on the way at the Häljesta Rock Carvings. This is great off-the-beaten-path stop where you can see the largest known rock carving area in the county of Västmanland with around 550 figures, originating from the Bronze Age ( 1500 - 500 Before Christ).
After a short visit to Häljesta we were on our way again, eager to start our hike at Stingsmossen! But as we were not really prepared for the hike we actually had no clue where we could park the car... oops! But no real worries, we took a small road that would lead us to the edge of the Nature Reserve. And, as we had anticipated, the road was closed off after a while by a beam. But as luck had it, we were able to park the car here at the side of the road close to the beam, and also rather close to the main trail :-)
Although without a doubt there are better places to park the car, this actually made for a really nice start of our walk. The little road leading towards the Nature Reserve was lined by lots of wildflowers, while the sun was happily shining above us.
We have an app on our phone that records our walks, which is quite fun (the App is called Komoot). The map on the left side is our recorded walk.
We combined a few trails to get a nice loop trail of 12,1 kilometers in total. There is a long distance hiking trail going through this area, called "Bruksleden". And from Surahammar it actually splits in two, one going west of Stingsmossen, och one going east of Stingsmossen. If you want to do the whole circular route on the "Bruksleden" it will take you over 20 km's to do so. So we combined it with a little shortcut between these 2 trails, using the exercise loop of the town of Surahammar, and crossing about 50 meters through the woods to get from one trail onto the other. All in all it worked out perfectly!
The trail itself is really easy to walk, with only 70 meters in height difference during the total hike. A piece of cake :-) The trail condition was really good, and the "Bruksleden" trail was excellently marked.
If you want to do the exact same hike as we did, you can find the link here: https://www.komoot.com/tour/204586329?ref=wtd
There is no parking directly adjacent to the nature reserve, so don't do like us. But instead use the parking that is available at Surahammar's golf club, and then follow Bruksleden north.
Of course, just where WE start our hike on the main trail, the terrain starts to be a bit more demanding, sloping upwards towards Stingsberget. Oops, ouch, heavily breathing and panting..... I make my way up. But is a beautiful stretch though! Following a small trail through the woods, until you get to the top of Stingsberget, which lies about 25 m above the surroundings and 109 m above sea level.
We are now in the 'church sanctuary Stingsberget'. The purpose of the church sanctuary is to save the old pine forest for the future, to the delight and benefit of visitors as well as flora and fauna. This is an area of about 10 hectares and the age of the old pines is 150-200 years, It is also rich in a flora of mosses and lichens. The forest here is allowed to develop freely without any forestry intervention.
Getting to the top of the Stingsberget you will be suprised to see a cross and even an atmospheric painting of crosses in the middle of these woods. It is an atmospheric spot, and is used by the Ramnäs congregation as an outdoor church where they gather once a year on Ascension Day.
The pine forest continues on the other side of the mountain, and after a short while we arrive at a crossroads where meet the eastern part of the "Bruksleden" trail. Following the signs we go right and slowly hike in a southern direction towards the edge of the Rövallsmossen and Stingsmossen Nature Reserve.
The nature reserve, which is 533 hectares in size, consists of two large marsh areas, Rövallsmossen and Stingsmossen. These marsh areas are largely unaffected by human activity and therefore have very high natural values. Between the bogs the ground is firm and the path that goes here is part of the 'Bruksleden' trail. There are plenty of birds in the area, such as cranes, curlew, plover, sandpiper and nightjar, and if you are lucky you can see black grouse playing. The ground is covered by blueberries and the occasional cloudberries. On our hike in June the blueberries were not present yet, but I can imagine hiking here in the autumn, when it must be a blueberry heaven! Yummy!
To my surprise we keep on walking in a very forested area, and no clear signs that the hiking trail is in between these two large marsh areas. But after several kilometers, slowly slowly we get som glimpses of the marsh areas and its typical vegetation.
A glimpse through the woods to the bog area "Rövallsmossen"
The reserve wants to preserve the marsh areas and the connecting forest areas with its flora and fauna. The wetlands and parts of the woodlands should be allowed to develop freely without human intervention.
suddenly we stumble upon the "Rövallskojan", a small cottage in an open area in the forest. The cottage is open to anyone who wants to take a break or overnight. I am not sure however if I would like to take an overnight here, as the interior was rather smelly and worn.... ewww! But outside is a nice fire pit, and I can imagine putting up a tent around here and enjoy an evening with a nice campfire far away from the hustle and bustle of the world and enjoy some time in the midst of nature.
And on almost every trip our little travel mascot follows with us. So he has photos taken all over the world, from under the Eifel Tower to posing in front of the elefants in South Africa, and now also in Stingsmossen :-)
Slowly our hikes is coming to an end; we make the shortcut from the Bruksleden trail to the exercise loop of the town of Surahammar, and back on the other main trail in the area going northwards. The remaining part of the hike is pleasant and easy to hike.
It was really inspiring to find such a nice nature area so close to home! And I know there are many more of these hidden gems just around the corner of where we live. So without a doubt our hiking shoes will get some more exercise during the coming months and explore more of the Lake Mälaren area :-)
Simone & Åke, June 2020, Stingsmossen, Sweden
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