If you’re familiar with the film Field of Dreams you’ll recognise the phase “build it and they will come”. For anyone who has driven Scotland’s North Coast 500 will testify “publishing a touring route and they’ll come” also is true. however the popularity of the NC500 route with motorhomes, campervans, cars and cyclists has at times turned the sheer delight of touring around seeing all the North of Scotland has to offer into a 516 mile extension of the M25.
Fortunately the same doesn’t apply to the Wilderness Road. After our tough cross country drive to get there, we at last turned off the gravel tracks on a spanking new stretch of smooth tarmac. With no queues, wow, how impressive is that.
The Vildmarksvägen is not as long as the NC500 it’s a mere 500 km long but stretches through some of the most spectacular parts of northern Sweden.
Ok then, so answers on a postcard, who can name (no cheating) any of Sweden’s 95,700 lakes…? No, I thought not. With around half (well 9% actually) of Sweden covered by lakes and forests you’ll understand if the images in this post contain a spot of water and a few trees…!
There are circa 28 million hectares of productive forest land in Sweden, equivalent to 69% of the land area, so actually more than a few trees then.
As they say, a picture can paint a thousand words, so I’m going to let the images taken on our route around Vildmarksvägan do the talking.
We stopped on the route to visit the Sami village at Fatmomakke. The town’s church is said to be the most prominent Sami Church town in Sweden and one of the best preserved in the world. Fatmomakke is of important spiritual value to the Sami and is still used as a cultural meeting place today as it has done for thousands of years.
Stekenjokk is one of the Sami people’s places for their reindeer to feed during the summer, We didn’t see them but it’s not unknown for herds of reindeer to wander close to the parking area. We just had to watch the comings and goings of other visitors.
Travelling around the Vildmarksvägan and with the border quite close (2 miles) there are tantalising views of the Norwegian hills. On a bright sunny day in July it’s difficult to imagine this is also one of the coldest spots (−50 °C) in Sweden in the wintertime. The highest part of the road over Stekenjokk is remote it only opens from the beginning of June until the middle of October due to snow depths of up to 6 metres.
Ok it’s not Niagara but if you were Canadian you would still say” it’s still pretty ‘awesome“.
We are very grateful to Nick & Lisa for recommending the Wilderness Road. It has been a spectacular way of re-setting our motivation for the next stage of our trip. We do hope one day to dust off our plans to visit Noway and it’s beautiful scenery.
By the way, if you do decide on your travels around Scotland to follow a puffing and panting cyclist up over the Bealach na Ba Pass in your motorhome, the fish and chips in the Applecross Inn are well worth the queueing!
Dave & Lesley