Aug 23, 2012

Höga Kusten - The High Coast


It was perhaps 15 years ago, when I first heard about the High Coast, located somewhere in Sweden and in the northern part of the Baltic Sea area. It sounded amazing that there would be an area in the Baltic Sea where one can sail among the mountains. Previously I had thought, that this was something that can only be done in Norway or Scotland in the Northern Europe.

After a long but rewarding trip to Southern Norway in 2011, the High Coast seemed to be a perfect destination for this season. We were going to take a more relaxed schedule during the 4-5 weeks' cruise and stay at the Baltic Sea. I had also been sailing in Southern Baltic Sea during the last two seasons, but the Swedish side of the Gulf of Bothnia would be a totally new sailing area for both of us.

The High Coast lived up to our expectations and even exceeded those. If I had to choose three things that I most warmly remember from the High Coast, those would be beautiful scenery, picturesque fishing villages and tranquil atmosphere. 

Scenery

We first arrived to Sundsvall which is about 25-30 nautical miles south from the High Coast. I did not have too much prior information on the area south from the High Coast, and thus it was surprising to see that the scenery in the mainland around Sundsvall was already pretty high. It resembled the kind of scenery that one can see in the Lapland.

The High Coast is located in the western shore of Gulf of Bothnia, in the northeastern coast of Sweden. The area is located between N 62° 36´ and N 63° 16´ latitudes and roughly inside the triangle Härnösand-Kramfors-Örnsköldsvik. Actually, the scenery in the mainland continues high almost as far as Gävle in the south, but it is the high islands and coastline, that make the High Coast so unique in this part of the eastern coast of Sweden.


The nature in this area has been affected by the latest glacial period, when the land masses were depressed by the weight of a huge glacier. After the ice age, the land started rebounding and is now rising at rates that are among the highest in the world. On top of the Skuleberget mountain, there are marks of the highest historical marine level in the world, 286 meters over the current sea level. Thus most of the High coast has previously been sea bottom. The Skuleberget also offers the best views over the High Coast coastline and archipelago. The waterway leading to Docksta, which we used as a base camp for visiting Skuleberget, is very beautiful and resembles Norwegian fjords with hills rising from the sea to over 200 meters.



Fishing villages

In the year 1557 the fishermen from Gävle (Gävlefiskarna) got a privilege granted by the king to fish along most of the Norrlandskusten, which is the coastal area from Gävle to all the way to Haparanda next to the Finnish border. Gävlefiskarna held the privilege through the 17th and 18th century and set up many fishing villages along the coast, which they used during their long fishing trips to the north during the summer season. Therefore, the villages along the coast are very uniform in style, and the lines of red wooden boat sheds can be found almost in every village.

Evening in Trysunda

We visited many lovely villages during the week that we spent in the High Coast. However, there were  many others, that we did not have time to visit. But we will definitely come back later, so it is good to have something for the next time...

Sunny Ulvöhamn

Tranquil atmosphere

One of the good things in the High Coast is, that it is less crowded during the summer season compared to the Stockholm Archipelago for example. We spent the first week of July in the High Coast and there were always vacant places in harbours. One reason for this might be that season starts later in the north. We also heard from the locals, that due to the bad weather, there were less boats than normally at this time of the year. The only exception was Trysunda, perhaps the most popular harbour in the area, which was almost full in the early afternoon. But as one local boater put it, there is always room for one more boat

And last but not least, we found the people in the High Coast to be very friendly and helpful. Maybe because the rhythm of life is a bit calmer than in the south. Furthermore, local boaters are always willing to help first-time visitors in finding the best anchorages and harbours to visit.
/Antti


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It would be very great to hear your opinion or comments. Thank you in advance for commenting! -Antti & Minna