Jeppe, the Jeep…

…was again feeling a little under the weather. Last Friday, Jeppe cracked his right-front brake pads and needed immediate attention. Some Jeeps can be such big babies when sick! But, when in another country, Where does one find a reliable Jeep doctor to take care of a loved vehicle?

Burra Isle, on central mainland Shetland, has a small auto service shop and filling station. So, I took Jeppe to the emergency ward at BURRA MOTOR REPAIRS and had Jim take a look at the broken pads Monday morning. Jim started right in with repairing and ordering the necessary parts. This would take a couple of days, since Jim had a Citroen, in the bed next to Jeppe, who also needed attention.

Photo: Jeppe is really happy with Burra Motor Repairs, Shetland

In the meantime, I was allowed to use a small Fiat until Jeppe was well again. This morning, I picked up Jeppe, who was very happy to see me and all anxious to head out on an adventure. The surgery went very well and both Jeppe and I are enormously pleased with Burra Motor Repairs and Jim’s capable hands and professional service. ( I never had another car service provide me with a reserve car for the price of the gas I used…and repair costs were very very reasonable comparatively)

So, if you’re driving on Shetland and your car needs care, I want to recommend Jim and Burra Motor Repairs for great personal service and competent care. Jeppe can only agree with me!

PS– The sign is missing the letter “s” in repairs

The Sea is…

…a completely different experience. For two people, having lived a life on land with forests, rivers and mountains, the sea is almost an infinite challenge. It is a different world of its own! So we discovered when our landlord invited us out for a few hours of fishing in this ocean we are living next to.

It was a nice evening and, in comparison to our experiences with inland rivers and lakes, there was a gentle wind blowing. We took ourselves down to Papil’s collective pier and loaded ourselves and equipment in, what I would say, a traditional Shetland style wooded boat. Clinker-built and having a one-cylinder diesel inboard motor. It was very beautiful.

We started out towards the sea. West Burra Isle is an island on the western side of Shetland. Papil is one of the more southerly villages on this island and one must follow a long ocean inlet south to reach the sea. The sea bottom is sandy near and around Papil, but soon becomes deeper with evidence of kelp growth.

When we started, the venture was as typical as a boat ride on Lule River on a half-windy day. I was allowed to steer our small boat as our landlord, John, took on the task of preparing the fishing gear. Short stout rods with big reels and a line strong enough to pull up a small tank. Lead weights at the end and with several plain bare hooks.

As I pointed our craft in the direction of a large southerly island, I became keenly aware of another small boat in the distance. This boat could first be seen, then suddenly sink and disappear, only to rise and be seen again. What could this be?

The sea is large! Tremendously large when in a small boat. We were now out into the swelling of the ocean. For me, these were big swells. They lifted us up and then let us roll down to meet another oncoming swell. Just like the other boat I saw. And here I realized how very very small and powerless people are and how gigantic and powerful the ocean could become. I thought for myself, if I steered wrong and the little boat capsized, What would we do then? John, being a Shetlander, sat calmly and worked with the tackle.

Photo: Many pollocks small…

Well over across the waters to an island, Havra Island it was called, we started fishing. The technique was similar to ice-fishing but the water depth was 20-30 meters. Maybe more? And as we fished, we had grey seals pop-up out from the surface giving us company. John kept a skilled eye on how close to the rocks we would drift and steered us away when too close.

Photo: A small ocean cave on Havra Island, Shetland

The first to get a fish was Brita. A small pollock. How fun, and definitely not the same as the frozen pollock at Konsum Jokkmokk! Then, after cruising near the island cliffs and into a small jetty, where there was an ocean cave, we tried fishing off the shores of Houss, another island peninsula on East Burra. Here, we all were catching pollock and we soon acquired a dinner per couple.

As we headed back to Papil and its pier, we ate some light food that Lisa prepared and John cleaned the fish. The gulls were happy as they flew near us picking up the scraps thrown from the boat.

The ocean…the sea is totally different than what we have experienced before. We would like to thank our landlords for this first…but not last…experience.

PS- I will try to better explain how I mean with the ocean later. Just now, I don’t have the words for its greatness.

Ännu mera mat!

Ännu en fiskdag. Denna gång besökte vi fiskaffären i Lerwick där en mycket pratsam dam snabbt insåg att vi inte visste mycket om havets fiskar. Efter att ha gått igenom sortimentet med oss fastnade vi för “dogfish”. Damen föreslog att vi antingen skulle ånga den eller koka den i krossade tomater. Dessutom inhandlades fyra stora musslor – bara för att smaka. Väl hemma kokades fisken i krossade tomater, salt peppar och lite purjolök. Se här resutatet, och ja, det smakade jättebra.

Igår var en bedrövlig dag, vädret alltså! Vi hade tänkt oss en trevlig utflykt till Bressay, en ö fem minuters färjväg från Lerwick. På denna ö håller man på med att flytta en bronsåldersbyggnad, en “burnt mound”, som höll på att rasa i havet. Vad byggnaden använts till vet man inte säkert men man är öppen för förslag! Se Bressay Bronze Age Mound i Shetland Times.

Alla stenar har plockats fram, märkts och denna sommar håller man på att bygga upp allt ihop igen. Snacka om Sisofys-arbete!

Men som sagt vädret var inte kul, regn, blåst och det kändes som minusgrader i luften. Efter att ha tittat runt gav vi helt enkelt upp, tog färjan tillbaka till Lerwick där vi hamnade på museet med en värmande skål fisksoppa i deras trevliga men akustiskt hopplösa resturang.


En av de trevligare sakerna med att vara i utlandet är mat. Det är alltid trevligt med ny mat eller hur? På Shetland förväntade vi oss att det skulle finnas allehanda fiskar och skaldjur; och det gör det minsann. Man går bara till fiskaffären och där ligger de alla på rad och väntar på att inhandlas. Lax, som ju odlas i mängd här, bläckfisk, pilgrimsmusslor, olika fiskar vars namn jag inte vet på svenska, t ex monkfish som vi åt i paellan när Anna fyllde år på Lerwick Hotel.

Vi for forbi fiskhandlaren igår och inhandlade vitlingfileer, hel vitling samt pilgrimsmusslor. Pilgrimsmusslorna har vi ätit idag, tillagade efter ett recept funnet på nätet. En sås tillreddes bestående av fräst lök med lite curry, grädde, citron och en skvätt majonäs. Kokade musslorna i denna sås samt serverade läckerheten med ris och sallad och ett glas vitt vin. Faktiskt riktigt gott minsann.

Det är roligt att handla mat här, vill man ha något speciellt går man alltså till fiskhandlaren eller slaktaren. Slaktaren i Scalloway har diverse läckerheter; något som här kallas bacon men som jag vill kalla tunt skivad rökt och saltad karré. Fast det inte riktigt är karré ändå…Men gott!

Vinet till maten finns naturligtvis alldeles bredvid maten, vad ska man med system till??? Starkspriten finns även den i coop-hyllan förutom i den fantastiska affär som måste ha 100-tals sorters whisky  på hyllorna förutom allt annat vanligt trams som rom och sånt.

With the Arrival to Shetland…

…we were met with grey, wet and windy weather. Behind us were six days of traveling through Sweden, Norway and the ferries necessary to cross the sea between Scandinavia and Scotland. The trip was longer than anticipated, but the weather was neither hot nor rainy and was just perfect for a long drive. Naturally, on our way we stopped at different points of interest. The cathedral of Trondheim was impressive as well as the equally impressive “old town” of Bergen; both with roots in the middle ages.

Photo: Middle Age cathedral of Trondheim, Norway

Photo: Middle Age building in the “Old Town” of Bergen, Norway

It’s sometimes a limited choice of methods offered in getting to places. Having a car, getting from Bergen to Shetland involved using ferry services and we arrived in Scrabster, Scotland with Smyril Lines. It was fun and very comfortable with a two-berth outside cabin. But, perhaps a little too big and too impersonal of a ferry.

It was here that Jeppe (our Jeep) gave me another rise in blood pressure. Having parked him on one of the car decks, I had a problem with the electronic lock. Didn’t matter, I thought. I would look at it later. But, after the cruise when everyone rushed to get cars off the ferry and passengers were anxious to get to shore,I tried to start Jeppe but he wouldn’t start. The vehicle’s starting ability was completely dead.

There is nothing so embarrassing than to have a row of cars behind your’s on a ferry wanting to get off and your car won’t start. The battery was strong. It just didn’t want to start and some 6 crew members were frustratingly trying to help get me and Jeppe out of the way for others to drive off. What was the problem? How could this happen?

One crew member, who was a mechanic on the boat, jumped behind the wheel to steer the car as it was to be pulled off by a forklift truck. He looked down for at the peddles, noticed some wires hanging loose and asked me what all this was? Here, the night before, when I had gotten out of Jeppe, I apparently caught my foot on some cables and pulled them loose at their connector. Quckly, I put these together again and Jeppe immediately started to everyone’s relief!

Photo: Aberdeen harbor is practically in the center of the city

It was nice to return to Scotland. Beautiful country and we had a beautiful morning driving along the northern coastline, through Inverness and towards Aberdeen. Aberdeen was a big place and the Northlink ferry was in the middle of downtown. We walked around Aberdeen while we waited to leave for Shetland that evening. I would hightly recommend Northlink! It was comfortable, friendly and great personal service from the crew, which Brita and I felt immediately welcomed with a homey feeling.

Getting to Shetland was a good feeling. This place is completely and excitingly different with really friendly people and a laid-back attitude. In spite of the weather, our arrival day was spent driving to our rented house, unloading Jeppe, buying food at the grocery store in Lerwick and talking with our wonderful landlord.

Our first full day was quiet and peaceful. The morning broke apart the fog and the rain stopped. The weather turned into summer and will seem to be this way the coming 2-4 days. We continue to discover Shetland….

Photo: Relaxing outside our house- first full day on Shetland

Snow Conditions in Lapland…

…this year was something I reported on earlier. At that time I mentioned how much and how heavy the snowfall had been.
Now, as we approach the middle of April, I can stoutly announce that this winter has been exceptional with snowfall. Snow depths around Jokkmokk can reach up to 1.3 meters (appx. 4 ft 3 in) and, last weekend, when everyone was relaxingly believing that spring warmth was finally approaching and the roads were all dry and free from snow, we got hit with 35 cm (appx. 1 ft) of snow in one night!

resize-of-dsc_0154.JPGPhoto: Thank God for snowblowers!

Many in Jokkmokk are commenting on the snow amount and depth and many are running out of space for snow removal reasons. Should we get a whopping load of sunshine and heat and should the snow melt rapidly, there could be a real risk of unusual flooding this spring due to the amount of snow and the ground being frozen.

Summarizing, snow is no longer very “romantic” anymore.

Do you need a guide…

…to hike in Laponia? Probably a good question this time of the year as many are working on vacation plans for this summer. And, when you think of the costs for guided tours as well as personal equipment and costs to get to Jokkmokk, it would be wise to think double hard about guide services.

tarrapath04.jpgPhoto: A small group of hikers crossing Palkat Stream in the Tarra Valley

The background to so-called “Laponia Guides” is that, after close to 10 years of doing nothing more than erecting a few signs, Jokkmokk and Gällivare municipalities had to market and advertise “Laponia” in order to sustain, or at best, create new income areas within tourism. Through EU project fundings, the Laponia Group was created to get the ball rolling. A few people were employed in this temporary project group. A website was created, and a course in “Laponia guiding” was started, where participants would receive an “official Laponia guide” diploma. (It should be added here that this project doesn’t exist anymore and people are grappling for new ways to make an income)

Participants in these courses were mostly motivated to attain diploma status, a status to prove a person’s knowledge of Laponia and give them a “legitimacy” with guiding, but the participants had very little, if any, experience in dealing with people or even quality time in Laponia to such a degree that locals would almost feel uncomfortable. I feel it was like start-a-business-and-hope-to-learn-on-the-way. One can ask, does a diploma make a person a guide and does this diploma signify quality?

But, everyone was happy. It was a win-win situation. Long-term unemployed people could start new businesses as tour guide operators and the Laponia project could show they actually did something other than warm chair seats.

The key thought with all this is that, since the end of the 19th century, people have been hiking in Laponia without needing a guide! So, Why need guides now? The answer is probably to satisfy the egos of community leaders, possibly create a new market saving communities from financial decline and to instill a belief that visitors are incapable to hike in Laponia without this…uh…guide person.

If you want to go hiking in Laponia, all you need is some equipment, a little knowledge with map reading, some experience with tenting, an eye on weather conditions, being out in the bush and… plain old common sense! Just follow the paths. Not hard, eh?

resize-of-churchcoffeestalo01.jpgPhoto: Laponia hikers at the yearly church services at Staloluokta. WHICH ONE IS THE GUIDE?

What people need is extra equipment. Like a kajak or canoe. What Laponia needs is an outfitter…they don’t need people portraying themselves as guides and who need a yearly income to be able to live in the area. If anything, beginner Laponia hikers need a few hours of common sense talking with an experienced Laponia hiker and…off they can go.

With a correct frame of mind, investigations and planning of a hiking trip and some risk management, most people don’t need to follow in the footsteps of a guide to enjoy Laponia. Most people shouldn’t want to shell-out between 12,500 SEK (£1,034)-16,500 SEK (£1,328) extra to follow after these guides and most people should need to use their savings for travel costs, basic equipment and food needed to get so far north. It’s all a bit of a scam, really, for people to fall for.

If people need anything, it is the confidence to not be so easily led to believe they need a guide to hike in Laponia! Think about this!

“Lampik Executed for Murder”…

…would have been the appropriate headlines if there had been a newspaper in Jokkmokk in 1823. A journalist would have been one of twenty or so men, women and children that were ordered to watch the execution of Påhl Larsson Lampik, for the murder of his older sister Lotta (Lohtsa) Påhlsdotter Lampik just a year earlier, and he would have reported these details for any readers. The execution took place east of “Death Pond” in Jokkmokk, February 17, 1823.

According to the court records of the time, Påhl Larsson Lampik, a short 4 ft. 3½ in. (1.42 mt) 25 year-old, believed to be a “weak” person, having learning difficulties and known for a rowdy behaviour, was left at home with his sister. The father, Påhl Lampik, had skied to the winter market in Jokkmokk. Thrity-two year old Lotta Påhlsdotter, quick to learn, honest and respectful had charge of attending the reindeer and sheep.

When the father returned from market, Sunday the 24th of February, niether Påhl Larsson Lampik nor Lotta Pålhsdotter could be found. Reindeer and sheep were unattended and there were several storage houses broken into with things scattered all over the snow covered ground.

With the aid of a local official, the father searched the area. After a couple of days of light snowfall, it was somewhat difficult looking for signs of anyone, but they finally found Lotta Pålhsdotter face down in the snow by a fishermen’s hut near a frozen lake. Påhl Lampik and the official brushed the snow off her body, turned her over and found that her hair was matted with frozen blood from several deep cuts in her head. They took her body to a neighbouring house when, afterwards, Påhl Lampik skied to Jokkmokk and told constable C. M. Granström what had happened.

The constable sent out requests concerning the whereabouts and detention of Påhl Larsson Lampik. Apparently, Påhl Påhlsson Lampik had been seen and held by Johan Petter Chrisophersson, Tjauruträsk, near Gällivare. Lampik was sent back to Jokkmokk for questioning, was arrested for murdering his sister and went to trial March 28, 1822.

During the trial, witnesses explained how Lotta Pålsdotter was found, how her skull had been violently split in five places, that a couple of these cuts had gone deep into the brain, and that she had a large cut on her left arm. She obviously died instantly. (It can be noted here that the autopsy was conducted by a surgeon E.M.Waldenström, Luleå, who had taken 7 days using three horses to get to Jokkmokk and charged the court a little more than 44 Swedish Kronor for his services.)

When Påhl Larsson Lampik was summoned to witness, he explained that on the morning of Feb. 18, Lotta and he went out to gather hay and to feed the animals when they started to argue. He became angry and left his sister. He went back to the village, where he forced open all the storage houses, stole a reindeer steak and some flour and went to the Lampik “hut” and started to make dinner for himself.

After this, Lotta Påhlsdotter apparently returned to their “hut” and became angry. Påhl Larsson Lampik entered into a struggle with his sister and, after grasping the small ax his sister was known to carry in her belt, hacked his sister in her head several times killing her.

He stayed in the village that evening and the next morning, after letting loose the sheep and killing one lamb for food, tried to escape towards Luleå. After reaching Harads, he changed direction towards Gällivare, where he was captured by Christophersson.

Påhl Larsson Lampik had earlier been convicted of reindeer theft and punished with being placed in irons, strapped to a pole and given 12 whiplashes. At his murder trial, he explained his deed as being under the control of “evil powers” and was not to blame for killing his sister. And, he added, he was only defending himself because his sister had hit him.

The court found him guilty of murdering Lotta Påhlsdotter and sent Lampik to the regional prison until he would be summoned back to Jokkmokk for execution.

In 1823, almost a year after his trial, Lampik was transported back to Jokkmokk and the winter market, together with an executioner. February 16th, he was locked in a small timbered shed, east of “Death Pond” and near the road from Luleå at the top of a hill overlooking the Lule River Valley.

The next morning, February 17th, all the men, woman and children of Jokkmokk were forced to attend the execution as witnesses that murder would not be accepted in Jokkmokk. A small, probably very cold and scared Påhl Larsson Lampik was taken from the shed towards the chopping block where, after laying his head down, he was beheaded by the executioner’s ax. Rumor has it that it took two ax swipes before Lampik’s head was severed from his body.

Påhl Larsson Lampik’s head and body parts were nailed up on poles along the old road from Luleå to warn people of the consequences for murder. These body parts hung there for several months and were finally taken down and buried in the grounds nearby. Murderers were not allowed to be buried in “blessed” churchyards.

resize-of-re-exposure-of-dsc_0377.JPGPhoto: “Exectution Hill” as you approach central Jokkmokk along Rt 97 from Luleå-Boden

In Jokkmokk, the place of execution is somewhere at the top of the small hill, which the road from Luleå follows as one approaches the central part of Jokkmokk. Still today, people in Jokkmokk always refer to this slope as “Execution Hill”.

References: Tingsprotokoll, Jokkmokks Dombok 1822
Norrbottens Hembygd för Tidskrift 1924, Häft 3
Döds- och Begravningsboken 1823, sid 60 rad 3

PS- Sorry this was late coming. I had/have very much to do just now. My apologies!