I wrote earlier of the Nordic skating trip between Virrat and Ruovesi along the Poet’s Way (the name for the lake route between Tampere and Virrat). On that occasion, I would have liked to skate all the way to Tampere from Virrat but the ice conditions and my own not-so-good physical condition didn’t allow me to skate all the route. So I was really glad to find out that our local group of the Association of Finnish Nordic skaters decided to arrange another trip on the Poet’s Way. The lenght of the tour (the estimate was about 70 kms) did scare a bit, as I was really tired after the previous trip, but as the weather forecast promised a good tailwind I decided to go. In addition, as the spring advances there may not be so many skating trips left this season.
I also made a video of the trip (below) so if you are not into reading you may just watch the video and get some idea of the trip as well.
From Ruovesi to Tampere
This time we didn’t have a normal bus with 50 seats but a minibus did the trick as well. Altogether 16 skaters took the minibus and one of us arrived to Ruovesi by his own lift. It took about one hour from Tampere to Ruovesi and we were ready to start skating around 9:30. As we had a chance and few of the group had visited Kalela, the atelier/studio of the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, we decided to have a look from the ice. Kalela (1895) is a wonderful place and it is a pity that it isn’t open for public anymore. I hope that some day this hidden gem will reopen for every visitor once again.
From Kalela we continued towards Kauttu canal (1885) which meant also first walking part of the trip. Even though the current is really slow this winter, the ice was gone at Kauttu.
After Kauttu, there was a short period of headwind. The wind was blowing quite hard (7–8) and this short headwind part showed that this would have been a really tough trip if it had been headwind all the way. Luckily this was just a really short leg and soon we enjoyed the delights of the tailwind again.
Jäminginvuolle (sound of Jäminki) was clear of ice as expected. All the water in the lake runs through that sound so it is no surprise that it is free of ice almost all the time. This meant a short trip through the forest. We took advantage of walking by arranged a short lunch break as well. A packed lunch tastes good in this kind open air setting even though the supplies I had with me were no special: a couple of bread slices, bananas and horrible tasting energy bars.
After the lunch, I felt refreshed and it was time to carry on. This time we skated only a couple of hundred meters as there were narrow sounds with open water ahead. A bit of walking again. These crossings were easier this time as snow had melted and then refrozen which meant that it could carry my 90 kgs easily without feet sinking through snow with every step as on our last trip.
After this crossing we could skate a couple of kilometers uninterrupted arriving to the island of Hirsisaari. The island is owned by the city of Tampere and meant for camping. We found a nice beach on the island and had a short break there. Enjoying a Finnish beach in March is quite unusual…
After a small break our trip continued to the Murole canal. As the canal and the small rapids besides it were not skatable, we had to make a short land crossing once again. During this crossing we arrived to the location of former tar factory and sawmill of Murole. Only a chimney and some foundations of the buildings are left which makes the scene a bit sad and beautiful at the same time.
From Murole we continued towards Tampere (almost 50 kilometres of skating). The rest of the trip was mainly skating on the wide ridges of lake Näsijärvi and mainly with a nice tailwind. This meant that it took us only 50 minutes of skating (13 kms) to arrive in the last land crossing at Kirvessaari island. On this island there was a memorial for Finnish ‘guerrilla fighters’ Roth and Spoof who captured a Russian sailing boat carrying grain and supplies for the Russian army in the Finnish War in 1808.
The trip continued through the ridges of Myyrysselkä and Koljonselkä. On the latter ridge we even saw an eagle flying above us and crossed a crack on the ice before we reached the Pimeesalmi docks. where we enjoyed what we had left of our packed lunches.
After this last break, there was only one ridge to cross. There were only two bigger cracks on the ice of which crossing was no problem this time. With a strong tailwind we arrived to Kaupinoja at 16:45 and enjoyed some refreshments at the cafeteria of Hiking Travel Hit. Our wonderful skating trip was over: with excellent weather and really nice group of people to skate with one simply cannot complain. After 128 kilometres of skating along the Poet’s Way this winter (of which 75 on this trip) I will wait for the next season to skate the whole way at the one time!