My travels around the world

Central part of Sweden

Rotsidan on the High Coast

Summer 2020, and our original travel plans for this year have totally disappeared due to the Covid19 epidemic. But slowly a new travel plan developed to a destination that has been on our wishlist for quite some time: a visit to The High Coast of Sweden. A beautiful stretch of coastal landscape about 7 hours drive to the north of where we live, with a beautiful national park called Skuleskogen, and a unique area declared a UNESCO heritage site.

And our first destination at the High Coast is a beautiful stretch of coastline called "Rotsidan". And one of the favourite spots I visited during our week discovering the High Coast of Sweden.

All the photos in the collage below are clickable, so you can view the larger photo.

Rotsidan, a beautiful stretch of coast

High Coast, Sweden

the High Coast

Rotsidan is a 4 kilometer long irresistible strip of coastline. But is this a walk or a beach? Your pick! At Rotsidan you will find 4 kilometers of beautifully cut flat stone slabs, alternating with cobblestone fields. Some people walk the 500 meters towards the shore, to leisure on the smooth slabs, enjoying the sunshine and a picnic. And maybe, when they are brave enough, a dip in the cold waters of the Bothnian Sea.

And others, like me, venture out a bit further and opt for a nice long walk along the coastline. The great part is that you can make this hike as long as you like: either do a short walk and decide to return whenever you feel like it, or doing the total stretch of 4 kilometers.

You can make it even into a loop-trail by combining the return stretch with a tiny bit of the "World Heritage Trail" / "Värlsarvsleden". The Word-Heritage trail goes a 100 meters from the shoreline, in the forest, and is a beautiful long-distance hike of 100 kilometers going through this area. We opted this way to return, and absolutely loved it.

the High Coast

Welcome to Rotsidan!

Map Rotsidan hike
height map Rotsidan hike

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.

If you want to do the exact same hike as we did, you can find the link here: https://www.komoot.com/tour/218667303

Starting point: Parking area at Rotsidan

GPS starting point: N62.850573, E18.378624 (click to open coordinates on google maps)

Type: Loop trail / out-and-back trail. We made it a semi-loop trail; walking at the shoreline on the flat stone slabs, but on the way back partly walked on the hiking trail through the woods.

length: 4,5 km. But you can shorten this, or make it longer, to your liking. You can make it even longer if you first walk to Barsta and than follow the coast out to the headland

total height difference: 30 m

Trail signs: blue markers, ok marked. But it is hard to get lost as it follows the shoreline 😉

Difficulties: No height differences at all, which makes the hike easy. But stretches of the hike passes cobblestone fields and also the rocks can get slippery when wet.

Rotsidan
Rotsidan
Rotsidan

Good morning! Yes, you read this right: this is a nice and early morning! We decided to make an early start of the day on this bright sunny day in July, as we are visiting during the high season in Sweden. It is the vacation month of July during the pandemic, and it seems like the whole of Sweden has decided to take vacation at the High Coast this year. And by starting early we often avoid most of the crowds. And actually, during this nice sunny morning, we have the trail all to ourselves! Such delight!

The day starts off with a short pleasurable and easy walk through the woods. But then we come to a crossing, hmmmm, which way to go now? We quickly decided to go straigh ahead; heading directly for the beach! Because that was the main reason we were here in the first place after all.

A great side trip however would be taking the trail to the left, towards Barsta (2,3 kilometers walk). Here you will find a real hidden gem! I was totally unaware that this little gem existed, until a few days later, when we headed for Barsta, with its little unique chapel. From the outside quite modest, but on the inside.... wow! So unexpected and unique. This picturesque little chapel dates back to 1665 and it is the only one in this area that has been preserved in its original condition. The most striking part are the paintings on the ceilings; simple but colourful against the white ceilings of the chapel. One of the most fascinating chapels I have ever seen; absolutely worth a visit. We visited Barsta on a separate trip and you can read more about that here, but it would be excellent to combine it with this hike at Rotsidan.

the High Coast

And then, all off a sudden, the landscape opens up and you are at the coastline. In front of you is the glistening blue Bothnian Sea and a four kilometers long and low-lying coastline, with beautiful ground and flat diabase slabs, framed by windswept coastal pines and dwarf spruces.

Rotsidan
Rotsidan

The power of the sea is evident here, even on a calm sunny day like today. The flat diabase slabs are sometimes beautifully polished, sometimes heavily weathered. Huge tree trunks are scattered around like small matchsticks that some giant decided to randomly throw around at the top of the beach.

the High Coast

Today the sea is calm and splashing quietly against the huge sculptured blocks. But during a southeasterly storm, the sea demonstrates its enormous forces, that has shaped and still continues to shape the coastline at Rotsidan. In the zone affected by the waves, the vegetation is largely missing.

Rotsidan

Knutnarv / Knotted Pearlwort / Sagina Nodosa

Rotsidan

the High Coast

Fackelblomster / Purple Loosestrife / Lythrum Salicaria

But to my surprise, there are flowers here! Even in the tiniest of crevices there is vegetation. It is hard to believe that anything can grow in this harsh environment; almost straight out of these slabs. Some plants are so tiny, you will not notice them straight away. But if you look a bit closer you can find species such as Red Alpine Catchfly, Northern Rock-cress, Purple Loosestrife, Knotted Pearlwort and Sea Pea.

the High Coast

Sea Pea or Lathyrus Japonicus

Strandvial / Sea Pea / Lathyrus Japonicus

the High Coast

It is such a joy to walk on the smooth slabs, while looking ahead in the search for the best and easiest way to continue the journey along the coastline. Åke is gazing leasurely out over the beautiful wide views over the Bothnian Sea, while I take the opportunity to photograph some of the flowers in this barren environment.

A hike is not only a journey from A to B, but more an opportunity to just 'be' and to soak in the beauty of a place in all tranquility and enjoyment. And today was exactly such a day, the joy of just being and absorbing the beautiful rugid landscape surrounding us.

Rotsidan
Rotsidan
Rotsidan

the High Coast

Rotsidan
Rotsidan

It is time for a break and we find a nice spot on the slabs to sit down and enjoy a simple picnic lunch. I squint my eyes against the sunshine, staring out over the blue sea and spot a sailing boat in the far distance.

We enjoy our simple meal of some nice tasty sandwiches in all leasure; although in hindsight I should have gone "all-in". This coastal walk is just perfect to combine with a nice long picnic halfway. I can dream about some sweet Swedish strawberries to eat, the perfect symbol of a Swedish summer. Mabye enjoy some smoked salmon and various finger foods, all combined with a nice glas of wine. That would have made the break even more perfect.

Sailing boat in the Baltic Sea
Rotsidan

the High Coast

Rotsidan
Rotsidan
Rotsidan

We continue our walk and pass one of the cobblestone fields, trying to balance over them in the best way possible. Within the nature reserve there are a number of these cobblestone field. They consist of stones and blocks that are worn and sanded round by the constant impact of the surf. At the same time, the cobblestone field have been raised from the sea through land uplift. A phenonemom that the "High Coast" area is famous for. After the last glaciation, the land has elevated a total of 800 metres. The land, previously weighed down under the weight of a glacier, lifts at rates that are among the highest in the world!

During our walk along the coast we cross two of these Cobblestone fields: "Brännvinsmalen" and "Vitstensmalen". They are not the easiest to cross, with their endless amount of round stones. So we opted to cross closest to the sea, where the stones seemed easier to navigate over. Further up from the beach, towards the forested area, you will notice that these cobblestones are beautifully overgrown with lichens, mainly by the yellow-green map lichen (Rhizocarpon geographicum). Here directly at the coastline they are baren however, weathered by the sea.

the High Coast

Rotsidan

But as we strole on, the clear blue sky and bright sunshine is slowly fading away. Dark clouds are drifting in quickly and it is clear that soon we will be fully surrounded by these dark rain clouds. So we decide to turn around and keeping our fingers crossed we will get back to the car without being rained upon.... invane of course, lol. But the rain is not too bad, with a short quick shower, followed by a drizzle.

We decide to walk inland, away from the sea shore, following the blue markers onto the trail that goes 100 meters into the forest (and which is actually part of the "World Heritage Trail" / "Värlsarvsleden"). I thought that following this trail would only be a quick route back towards the car, without any particular interest. But I was proven so wrong! This part of the trail made the walk actually complete and so varied.

the High Coast

Flädervänderot / Elder-Leaved Valerian / Valeriana Sambucifolia

We are surrounded by windswept coastal pines and dwarf spruces, all sculptured in the most interesting shapes and forms. And the ground is covered with a soft layer of moss and lichen. We are surrounded by a totally different type of flora here, with the Elder-Leaved Valerian (Valeriana Sambucifolia) greeting us in the boggy area, between the rocky slabs at the shoreline, onto the higher grounds of the adjecent woods.

Rotsidan
Rotsidan

the High Coast
Rotsidan
Rotsidan

the High Coast

If you literally want to join us on our walk, you can watch this 4 minute video, that Åke took while walking along the beautiful shoreline of Rotsidan.

the High Coast

All in all we enjoyed such a wonderful day at Rotsidan and it has become one of my favourite spots along the High Coast area. If I ever get the opportuntiy to travel to this part of Sweden once more, I will certainly go here again to enjoy this wonderful stretch of coast that gave me so much tranquility and joy.

A well filled picnic basket will be joining me during a next visit, including strawberries of course :-) And I would most likely take out some time as well to hike more of the "World Heritage Trail". I only did a tiny part of it, but that really impressed me and made me curious how the trail continues along the coast.

Simone & Åke, July 2020, Rotsidan on the High Coast, Sweden

 


Simone

It would be great to hear from you!
So please leave a comment or a question.
:-) Simone


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