The Fjallraven Classic Sweden 2017 in aid of SARS999.org.uk
The Fjallraven Classic Sweden | Initially the plan was to fly to Stockholm and spend a week walking through a nearby National Park.
(King’s Trail) is a hiking trail in northern Sweden, approximately 440 kilometres (270 mi) long, between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south.
It passes through, near the southern end, the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Europe.
The route we took was to start in Nikkalouokta, join the Kungsleden at Singi and finish in Abisko.
So we decided to change plans to participate in the Fjallraven Classic Sweden but we also decided to invite another friend and do the hike in aid of charity.
All three of us work for the East of England Ambulance Service in varying roles, HEMS Critical Care Paramedic, Paramedic, EMT.
We also all do other roles for other emergency services: Lifeboat Coxswain, Fire Fighter and Coastguard.
All for charity mate!
We had decided to raise charity for SARS who are a charity that provides assistance to the ambulance service in the form of Rapid Response Doctors and Critical Care Paramedics.
Suffolk Accident Rescue Service is an emergency medical charity which provide specialist volunteer doctors and paramedics to assist the East of England Ambulance Service at the scenes of serious incidents.
So the Three team members: Myself: Martin Grove (EMT & Firefighter), Adam Wright (Paramedic & Coastguard) and Rod Wells (HEMS Critical Care Paramedic, Lifeboat Coxswain & SARS Responder) started to plan our 110km hike through arctic Sweden.
We started of with planned hikes that would take us the distance we had planned to do in a day (30KM) but living in Norfolk & Suffolk we couldn’t match the terrain that we would encounter as these areas of East Anglia are completely flat.
Equipment lists where drawn up, bags where packed, then repacked, kit was purchased then replaced by other kit that was purchased.
We started to raise money through Justgiving.com and collecting locally.
The problem was the three of us working shifts and doing other jobs in our spare time was that meeting to go through kit or discuss certain things. We hardly ever got the time to meet up but with the help of whats app we managed to sort ourselves out.
We chose to fly from London to Stockholm, stay overnight at Stockholm Airport and fly up to Kiruna the next morning.
It was difficult to plan kit as we had never experienced walking in this environment before and personally it seemed I was preparing for Armageddon.
As usual kit was packed, repacked, things where taken out, other items put in place and on and on until finally I had got to a pack of 12kg.
- Vango 1 x man tent
- Exped Sleep Mat
- Down Sleeping Bag
- Walking Boots
- Fjallraven G1000 Trousers
- Goretext Trousers
- SnugPak Softie
- Haglofs Shell Jacket
- 2 x base layers
- 1 x t-shirt
- 2 x pairs socks & 2 x undersocks
- 1 x pair Armaskin anti blister socks (cant rate these enough).
- Sleep Clothes (1 x pair of long johns, 1 x pair of socks, 1 x base layer & eye mask (doesn’t get dark)
- 1l plastic water bottle
- 1 x plastic kuksa
- 1 x first aid kit
- Emergency sowing kit (came in handy when boots fell apart)
- 70cl of RUM (medicinal use only)
- GoPro (with spare cards, battery and charger)
- Battery Pack
- Iphone (for navigating and photos)
- Hiking Poles
- DD Hammock Poncho
- Gloves & Hat
Now looking back i could have lost a few more kilos by adapting clothing but I will write about this in another post.
So the day arrived when we where to fly up to Kiruna.
We boarded the plane with hundreds of other people heading up into the Arctic either joining us on the Fjallraven Classic Sweden or attacking the Tundra in different areas.
There where other Brits flying up that had heard about our charity trek through our facebook page and got chatting as one of them had done the classic previously who was saying that we would never do it in 3.5 days as we had planned.
When we arrived in Kiruna and got on the bus whilst the rain had started and we where taken into Kiruna to Camp Ripan where the start of the Classic was based.
We checked in and gathered the items that where included in the priced of the ticket, the freeze dried food, rubbish bag, map, high-viz rucksack marker, gas and polar bread.
Now whilst i’m writing about food, take your time and think how many of the Turmat meals do you need to take.
You can restock at certain points on the way along the route, so think about how many you will need until restock.
If you are taking you time then more will be needed but don take to many.
I had planned to carry 3 along with the bread and some other items I had brought with me and purchased at the local supermarket.
So once we had gathered all the food and gas we paid for the camping in Camp Ripan that night which was about 200KR (£20.00) and we headed into town to buy a few items and find something to eat.
We had ended up in the Bishops Arms where we fed and watered (well beer and it wasnt cheap) and headed back to Camp Ripan.
We then decided to head to the restaurant on site for a pizza.
The rest was a blur…. Lets just say we didn’t find any Pizza just copious amounts of beer, In my limited Swedish, I think I ordered a flat pack bookshelf, Rod was speaking German and Adam was just being Adam.
The Morning After and the start of the the Fjallraven Classic Sweden
At 07:00 feeling pretty rough to the point where we couldn’t even eat breakfast let alone think about having to walk 30km later.
We got on the bus that was taking us to Nikkalouokta and arrived at the start.
We filled up water bottles, took on fluid and paracetamol and tried to mentally prepare ourselves for the Fjallraven Classic Sweden.
On route our first break was at Lap Danalds for a Reindeer Burger which was well worth the stop.
We carried on nursing our headaches, powered through to stop for the first night in between Kebnakaise and Singi checkpoints.
When we found a space just after the bridge and decided to camp there for the night.
Tents where erected and water was put onto boil so we could re-hydrate our meals.
Now im not sure whether it was just the state of my stomach but I just couldn’t eat it.
I had chosen Pork Kebab and I just couldn’t stomach it. I managed to eat a load of Jerky and some cheese spread on bread.
We had taken a GPS tracker with us which we could use in an emergency. It also updated our facebook page of our location.
We took a SPOT tracker and worked really well by updating our position and posting it on a map on our facebook page.
So once fed it was a case of peeling of the days clothes and change into something fresh and dry. After a couple of shots of ‘medicinal’ rum it was time to get our heads down.
Something I found really worthwhile taking was a eye mask. It doesn’t get dark and it can be tricky to sleep when you are not accustomed to the 24hr light.
We surfaced around 07:00 which was pretty late compared to some of the others. Coffee was made, food was eaten, bags where packed and we started heading towards Singi.
Crossing a bridge to find a coffee stop provided by Fjallraven which was a very welcome sight.
We where following the valley towards Singi where the route joined the Kungsleden.
Stopping at the checkpoint at Singi. We where fed smoked reindeer, mashed potatoes and lingon berry sauce souvla.
Quick break and we headed off to join the Kungsleden towards trying to make the next checkpoint which was Salka.
Going wasn’t too bad underfoot and we reached Salka, checked in and had a break for some food. We said would carry on for a bit until we found a decent camping area.
Day 2 we managed 28km, setup camp and rehydrated some bagged vomit and got heads down for the night as we where trying to push for to finish in 1.5 days.
It was here that those tiny devil possessed flies started to attack.
I was glad I had some repellent and a mosquito net! They where dreadful and attacked on any bare piece of flesh!!
The best way method for heating water is something like a Jetboil and they are really fuel efficient.
Time for a ‘HOBO’ wash (wet wipes), let feet air, medicinal rum and head down. I slept in like a log on this night apart from the Walrus bellowing in the tent next to me.
More to follow.