Summer adventures as Students Canoe Hike down Lake Stora in Sweden
We took the coach to the top of the lake where we packed the boats with a fair amount of rejigging and finally set off. To everybody’s great delight, we saw a moose running along the mainland, which was an incredible start to the trip! Several of us went for a rather chilly but lovely swim in the lake before cooking dinner on our fire pits, looking forward to our first night spent in hammocks under our tarps which are very comfortable to sleep in.
We spent the day on Trollön which was a welcomingly chilled and relaxed day with a mixture of bush craft activities including knot tying and carving our own spoons as the spoon. We all had to hand in our cutlery and eat only with the wooden spoons we had carved for rest of the trip – I was a little sceptical about this at first however I actually really enjoyed it and it gave you a great sense of achievement to eat with you own handmade spoon!
Our next destination was a split island known as Tronsholmana, the wind had picked up in the morning so we rafted up all the canoes and set off into the wind – paddling in rafts provides a rather different paddling experience which requires a fair amount of teamwork and communication between the back paddlers to stay on course.
The final island we stayed at is called Scotton, where we spent two nights after quite a long paddle. My fire’s raft actually managed to unintentionally run over Iroquois’s raft as it was pretty much completely underwater by that stage! The rest of the day was filled with attempting fire by friction which two fires managed to complete successfully, followed by backwoods cooking of a whole salmon over our fires which was delicious!
Our final morning of paddling was beautifully sunny once again, a fitting end to such an incredible trip, which instilled in us an incredible feeling of achievement over how far we had come together. The race to the finish was hotly contested with Mr Parker and Duncan emerging, (perhaps rather unsurprisingly) victorious!
Everyone jumped in the lake again for multiple group photo’s before we headed back to our original campsite to sort out the canoe. I will always remember this trip and the invaluable skills we have gained, the friendships made and the shared experiences that leave a lasting impression. Students often look back on Sweden as the highlight of their time at the Perse in the outdoor pursuits department – it certainly has been for me!
Sweden has been an absolutely incredible experience, it was great to take some time out to relax after the stress of exams and to spend in with friends in such an amazing and awe-inspiring place was truly fantastic!
On the trek were 26 students and 10 staff members forming Group 1 of PES Summit 11.
Elizabeth Stephenson (L6)