In June 2016, Niki from the Nature Travels team took part in this year’s Outdoor Academy of Sweden:
This year, for the first time, the Outdoor Academy was inviting kids to join the academy! A mixture of journalists, tour operators and outdoor equipment stores from around Europe brought their children along for a fun few days. As I don’t have any kids of my own, Elky joined me this year to enjoy lots of outdoor activities in the beautiful countryside of Dalsland in West Sweden.
I arrived into Gothenburg and we took the coach to Baldersnäs Herrgård, a beautiful mansion where we would be staying for the night. The grounds were stunning and many of the families had chosen to camp on their first night. I, however, had not slept the previous night due to a (very!) early start for travel from Dorset so I opted for a cosy bed in the manor!
On arrival we were given some equipment to try out. We had plenty of waterproof kit to try out but typically the weather was looking to be a scorcher with not a cloud in sight! The kids were given clothes to test from Isbjörn and Reima – these Scandinavian brands makes clothes exclusively for children and believe kids should play outside freely and have produced clothes that stand up to the elements! We were also given waterproofs from Didriksons and other equipment from Helsport, Morakniv, Hilleberg and Light My Fire.
After being given a brief introduction about what was to come over the next few days, we had dinner and were surprised with a loud shout of “kollikok, kollikok!” and someone appeared dressed up as Skogsmulle. In Sweden, children around the age of 5 go to the forest to play and learn about nature. Skogsmulle leads the group and teaches kids about the wildlife and plants in a fun, playful way and of course in all weathers!
After breakfast, we headed out for a day full of activities. We were split into groups and my day began with a walk along the canal, looking for signs of beaver and learning about the local wildlife of the forests of Dalsland.
After a hearty lunch at our Tipi Adventure in Dalsland, the afternoon was spent canoeing down Stenebyälv. With lots of branches to negotiate, the river was tremendous fun to paddle and we all got stuck at one point or another, plus a couple of traffic jams made it easier to find targets to splash.
Tonight we were to camp at the Tipi Adventure, so after we pitched our tents, the evening was spent playing, jumping and swimming in the lake and at dusk we paddled a few large church boats around the edge to search for beavers. They were a little shy this evening and sadly we didn’t manage to find any but there was plenty of evidence that this was their home.
The following morning was action packed with more adventures – Elky visited some relatives at the Moose park, we went on a guided nature walk and there were workshops for making fires and wood carving.
A slower pace was set in the afternoon and we all boarded the Storholmen for a relaxing boat trip along Dalsland canal and a tasty lunch before it dropped us back to where we started the Outdoor Academy at Baldersnäs, where we were to spend out last night.
As the weather had been glorious during our visit to Dalsland, the kids’ waterproof clothing hadn’t had a chance to shine so was put to the test the next morning with a big water fight and the clothing rose to the challenge! I stayed dry as my morning was spent catching up with the local hosts of our experiences in Dalsland and meeting potential new ones over fika! Many thanks to everyone who organised the Outdoor Academy!
Niki & Elky
Take at look at all our adventures in Dalsland: