By kayak through Stockholm's southern archipelago

Med kajak genom Stockholms södra skärgård

Start and finish: Trosa sea bath and Sollenkroka jetty.

Length: 167 km

Difficulty level: The described tour is difficult in windy weather, but alternative routes closer to the mainland are less sensitive. In calm weather medium difficulty.

The tour offers: Outer archipelago and open bays, open sea, known archipelago environments, famous lighthouses, old customs and pilotage site, nature center.

From Trosa into Stockholm's southern archipelago

Trosa is said to be the end of the world, but despite this, or perhaps thanks to it, is a good starting point for a tour through Stockholm's southern archipelago. From Trosa havsbad, we paddle past the Julafton lighthouse and along a row of smaller islands that give shelter to the open sea. After Fifång, there is a longer crossing of just under two kilometers across the fairway towards Södertälje. The fog is dense and we listen intently for approaching ships. Just as we get over, a ship appears quietly out of the fog, but by then we are already past. When we pass Örudden at the far end of Torö, we can see Landsort's lighthouse out on the island of Öja almost directly to the south. Now we have entered the Stockholm archipelago and gradually turn north. After the wide bay towards Järflotta and an overnight stay at Arnholmarna, we pass the narrow Draget with the remains of old pilings. This narrow waterway was included in King Valdemar's sailing route, a sailing description from the 13th century.

King Valdemar's sail joint

More than 700 years ago, a document was recorded that describes the sea route along the Swedish Baltic coast from the island of Utlängan in Blekinge to Arholma in Stockholm's northern archipelago. The sailing route then continues east via Åland and the southern coast of Finland and ends in Reval, now Tallinn in Estonia. The sailing description mentions a long series of place names along the coast. The document is included in King Valdemar's land register from the 13th century. The author of the Book of Earth was the Danish king Valdemar II Sejr who reigned between 1202 and 1241. In 1219 he conquered Estonia, which then came under Denmark until 1346

We are approaching Utö

When we glimpse Nynäshamn over the edge of the forest in the north, we turn east. In front of us are two completely open bays, Gårdsfjärden and Danziger Gatt and between these the small island of Mällsten. Light wind and sunshine make the mile-long crossing possible. If the wind is blowing here, crossing is not recommended. A flock of Tordmular flies curiously close over our heads before we reach Nåttarö with friendly sandy beaches to rest on. From here, we have now thought that if the weather permits, we will paddle in the outer archipelago past Huvudskär, Fjärdlång, Bullerö to Sollenkroka on Vindö just north of Stavsnäs. On many of the islands we pass, remains of fortifications are visible, e.g. on the east side of Mällsten and Utö, from the years of unrest in the last century. We spend the night on a small islet outside Hamnudden on Utö.

Visit to Huvudskär and meeting a paddling buddy

Huvudskär is the furthest east in this part of the archipelago and furthest towards the open sea. In the summer heat, sun and light breeze, we first pass the strangely dome-shaped island of Borgen and reach Huvudskär in the middle of the day. Here there is an old pilothouse and customs house, a lighthouse from the 1930s and a small hostel housed in the old customs house. There is a water shortage on the island, so water must be brought with you. Incidentally, this applies almost everywhere in the outer archipelago. But now the wind increases, the sea breeze gets free play out here on the open bays. In a side wind, we push our way to the northwest to Fjärdlång's west side, which provides better shelter. We have arranged a meeting with a friend and spend the evening on sun-warmed rocks telling stories and paddling memories. A few years ago we did a long trip along the west coast of Greenland and the year before that a trip north of Lofoten in Norway. Fjärdlång is a nature reserve where there is also a hostel.

We part ways the next morning and paddle out towards Ängsön and follow the outermost skerries past Biskopsön and Söderö to Långviksskär. The journey becomes difficult in a bumpy lake with persistent wind, now from the north, i.e. head-wind. Without windproof paddling jackets, we would have had to lie still and wait for better weather. Even if the wind is not directly chilly, it quickly saps the strength of the body. You get chilled and easily seasick if it rocks a lot.

Further north to Långviksskär and Bullerö

Långviksskär is a nature reserve that consists of a number of low skerries with narrow passages in between and is a very pleasant area to paddle through. The area is exposed to the elements and requires good weather to paddle to. About 8 kilometers due north is Bullerön, a nature reserve well worth a visit. The headwind persists and we reach the small harbor after a difficult paddling from cobble to cobble to catch up and exhale after each small stage. On the island there is a nature center, guest house and cultural trail.

Calm paddling outside the fairways until the destination

From Bullerön we turn off to the northwest and paddle towards Runmarö and closer to the mainland. To avoid the bird protection area west of Bullerö, we have to make a wide turn to the north. We spend the night on a small kobbe next to Munkön with strange geological rock formations. Boat traffic is more frequent here closer to inhabited areas. We paddle along the east side of Runnmarö, past Söderby jetty. The sea report last night had warned of strong winds, but nothing came of it. We get calm and nice weather all day. After the narrow strait at Skarp-Runmarö we come out into the heavily trafficked fairway out towards Sandhamn. An unpleasant passage that we want to leave behind us as soon as possible. At Hasselö and Harö we find a very narrow passage, very suitable for kayaks, and comes out in the easternmost part of Kanholmsfjärden. It is calm and quiet here. In general, the Stockholm archipelago is that if you avoid the most visited natural harbors and guest harbors and are far enough from the developed middle archipelago, it is calm and quiet and easy to find a place to rest and spend the night. We give a grateful thought to the Archipelago Foundation, which has taken care to preserve large areas free from exploitation and open to active outdoor life. We camp on Stora Skatholmen, one of the few islands where you can easily land and pitch a tent in this inner part of the archipelago. From here we then end this week-long trip by paddling up to Sollenkroka jetty where friends meet up.

The trip was carried out in the first week of August and included the following day stages:

Trosa sea bath - Arnholmarna, 27 km. Arnholmarna – Albroskär 41 km. Albroskär – Huvudskär – Fjärdlång 26 km. Fjärdlång – Långviksskär 26 km. Långviksskär – island next to Munkön 17 km. Munkön – Stora Skatholmen 24 km. Stora Skatholmen – Sollenkroka 6 km. A total of 167 km

Olle Persson