måndag 11 december 2017

Introduction to the Skåneleden Walks

After I finished the parts of Höglandsleden which belong to the E6 European long-distance path, my next goal was to finish the parts of Skåneleden which belong to E6 European long-distance path (refer to the map of the European long-distance paths through Sweden). This is the southernmost part of E6 through Sweden. It starts in Bulltofta in Malmö and ends in Koarp in southern Halland. The relevant parts of Skåneleden are stages 1 to 18 (without stages 3A, 9A, 13A and 15A) of Nord-sydleden and stages 11 to 13 (without stage 12A) of Kust-kustleden.
I began Skåneleden last year when I walked from Åsljunga to Koarp, however, after that I focused on various other trails such as Sjuhäradsleden, Gislavedsleden and Västra Vätterleden as these trails were more accessible (easier to travel to). After one whole year it was time to finish the remaining parts of Skåneleden (the parts which belong to E6). One possible approach could have been to go on day-trips by traveling to the walks from home and then back home once the walk was finished, i.e. as I've been doing up to this point. However, the major problem with this is that the Skåneleden walks are so far away. The resulting travel times would have probably been at least 4h in each direction. This could however work if there would be buses or trains going to the travel destinations quite often but that's not always the case: some buses or trains only go a couple of times per day and by traveling from home maybe I wouldn't be able to start a walk in the morning. Obviously there's also the issue that a walk (especially if it's over 30km) can take even longer than 10h. That means there's a risk of not making it on time for the bus or train in the evening. Furthermore, each walk of this kind would be very exhausting as I would have to wake up early in the morning (maybe around 4am) and come back home late in the evening (maybe 10pm, 11pm or 12pm). Finally, I would probably have to buy a monthly card that would cover not only the travels in Skåne but also the travels from/to Göteborg by train. This is expensive to say the least (I'm not sure exactly how expensive but I would guess at least 3000kr). But what did I do instead?
Well, I decided to stay at a hostel in Malmö on two separate occasions. On each occasion I went on four walks (one per day). The first time I arrived at the hostel on Tuesday June 25th and went back to Göteborg Saturday June 29th (the same day as the fourth walk). After that I took a week's break, partially to rest and partially because the weather prognosis showed bad weather. I returned to the hostel on Sunday August 6th and went back to Göteborg Thursday August 10th. To cover the costs for the travels in Skåne I bought the Skånetrafiken summer card which was valid until August 15th. If I remember correctly it cost around 650kr.
There's much that can be said about the stay at the hostel but I won't bore you with too much detail. A short description is in order however. To make the trip as inexpensive as possible I stayed at a dormitory. This came with the major disadvantage of not getting enough sleep in many cases. Another thing to note is that since I walked several days in a row it was important to charge my cellphone and camera batteries every day. Another consequence of walking several days in a row and not being home was that I often needed to buy food and water to make sure I had enough for the next day. Furthermore, I also couldn't pick to walk on days with good weather (since I walked several days in a row). In either case, the benefits of this arrangement are clear. The travel times to/from the various locations for the walks were in most cases 1-2h (sometimes even less than 1h). It should be noted however that it was still exhausting to walk several days in a row, mentally exhausting rather than physically exhausting.
Well, this should suffice as a "short" introduction to the Skåneleden walks. I didn't mention anything about the character of the Skåneleden walks in general but I will do that in the blog post about Skåneleden Walk #2 between Löberöd and Ludvigsborg.

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