Distance 11km | Time 3hrs | Ascent 120m | Descent 260m
The manager, Elizabeth, was especially generous an showed me round the main building. It had been built in the end of the 19th century by a Scottish magnate called Tom Nichol. He used it as a hunting lodge. The architecture in the public rooms was very similar to the architecture in hunting lodges I had visited in Scotland, especially the roof beams. These rooms were adorned in hunting artefacts and well looked after furniture.
When Tom Nichols died in 1901, none of his 5 children could be bothered with a hunting lodge in Sweden and preferred London high life so the place was auctioned in London.
It was bought by Wengerlund, a Swedish banking magnate. Eventually he bequeathed it to a foundation associated with the SEB, a major bank in Sweden. In time this foundation also aquired some 22,000 hectares in the area to form a large estate.
The lodge is now largely used by management of the above bank and Swedish notables and as such was well looked after. One of the estate cabins was in fact Holsjostugan. Although private, it had an emergency shelter attached to it which was always open.
In my short stay here I was very impressed by the good natured and happy staff and their hospitality which was extremely generous. The well liked and cheerful manager, Elizabeth, especially.
It was now 1200 and time to leave. Ignoring advice I took one of the lodges ski trails north for a couple of km through very beautiful forest. The trail wound through copses of birch and spruce and across open glades of glistening snow. This delightful trail went near the road at one point so I left it and waded through forest snow to gain the road.
It was only some 7 km to Norway now and the road was fast. Within an hour I had skied the flat section and made the fast descent to Sandvika. To the west and north of me spruce forests filled the valley and then the white sun drenched mountains of Norway rose beyond. I would ski in these mountains tomorrow.
The weather was fantastic. Windstill with a perfect blue sky. How it had changed since yesterday evening. I reveled in the sun and enjoyed the mood it put me in. A bit of sun after 14 days snow certainly lifts the spirits.
From Sandvika it was a short ski along the road to the quaint self service cabin at Innstua. Curiously it was right beside this minor road. I had to clear snow from the door to get in. Once in I was surprised to see it had electricity. With the wall heaters and wood stove on it soon warmed up. Indeed it was very comfortable, but the larder was sparse.
In the evening I wrote the blog and phoned the couple who had a cabin for me tomorrow in Sveet and also had my new rucksack. It was not a long ski to Sveet tomorrow, only some 18km, but it had potential to be difficult with forest sections and no trails.
It had been a very good day. I loved the atmosphere and staff at Skalstugan and at last enjoyed some sun. In addition the cabin at Innstua was delightful and comfortable.