A Tour Around Lappajärvi, Europe’s Largest Crater Lake

Season 3, Episode 37
In this episode, I speak to Teemu Öhman who is a Craterologist or, to be more precise, an Earth and planetary scientist and lecturer at Arctic Planetary Science Institute.
Teemu explained about the creation of Lake Lappajärvi in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, and then gave some recommendations of places to visit in the Lappajärvi area. All of which you can discover for yourself, using the new virtual Craterlake Geotrail commissioned by Järviseutu-Seura ry

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One Week Holiday in Finland: Putting The Podcast Into Practice

Similar to my summer 2016 post, in summer 2017 I had another opportunity to put what I learned in the podcast into practice. Whenever I have visitors staying with us, I always try to give them the ‘Finland Experience’, and it was no different when my parents came for a one-week holiday. It seemed that we had a different activity for each day, an ‘ideal week in Etelä-Pohjanmaa’.   I thought I’d share our week with you along with some photos, from a small sweet factory to live sport to a music festival.

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Exploring Finland: Putting The Podcast Into Practice

Podcast Into Practice

During summer 2016, I had the opportunity to visit the wilds of Eastern Finland, near to the town of Kitee.  I was invited to join Satu at her Grandparents’ old home, right on Finland’s border with Russia. During this trip, I found myself saying ‘yeah, I know about this, I covered it in the podcast’, for example; sauna with vihta, foraging in the woods, the eveacuation of Karelia and Finnish ice cream.

I thought I’d share with you some pictures of these activities, and the podcast episodes they came from. Read more

Ice-hole Swimming & Sauna: A Natural High!

Lakeuden Avantouimarit

Kyllä kylymä teköö hyvää – Yes, the cold does good! Image: http://www.lakeudenavantouimarit.net/

Season 2 Episode 32
I learn why swimming in ice-cold water after taking a sauna is better than sex or morphine! Jussi explains ALL the benefits of Avantouinti, before taking me swimming in the hole in the ice on a frozen pond. Yep, that’s right…

Guests: Jussi Mustikkamaa, Journalist

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of Episode 32 – Ice-hole Swimming & Sauna – a natural high!

Read the Show Notes

Foraging for Mushrooms in Finland’s Forests

k: http://explorefinlandpod cast.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/episode001

Season 1 Episode 1
Foraging for Mushrooms with Mari. An introduction to ‘Everyman’s Rights’ and the art of finding wild mushrooms.

Guest: Mari Dawe, Mother Nature’s ambassador to Seinäjoki

Listen to the show  on your preferred podcast player  – iTunes or Stitcher radio or Feedburner

Download an MP3 file of this episode

Read the Show Notes

Magic mushrooms

Well, maybe not ‘magic’ mushrooms, but the way these sprang up almost overnight was quite something to see. There’s a small trail through the woods near our house, a loop of about 400 metres – perfect for early morning walks with Boris. One morning in late-August, we entered the woods and I was struck by the sheer variety of mushrooms that had appeared.

These were snapped on my phone, as I don’t often take the SLR out with me for the morning walk! I have absolutely no idea what they are, or which might be edible, but I intend to cover that on one of my podcast episodes, so watch this space. In the meantime, if you know what any of these mushrooms are called, why not let everyone know in the comments?


Welcome to Hell

Located just south of Etelä-Pohjanmaa, Helvetinjärvi couldn’t be named less appropriately. It’s name translates as Hell’s Lake and comes from an old story containing a warlock, an argument and cursed fish supplies, naturally! We came to visit on a Saturday in late-September and brought the kids’ cousin Siiri along for a walk through the woods to the lake and the gorge. Boris was able to come with us, so long as we kept him on a (flexi-) leash.

We parked near the Helvetin portti restaurant at Kankimäki, had a quick picnic in the car and then headed off to follow the 4km track. It was immediately clear that the terrain here was different to Seinäjoki. On the first part, the gravel trail wound through a wooded area, where the moss covering the rocks was so thick that the kids bounced on it like a trampoline, and the narrowest stream I’ve ever seen – you could hear the babbling, with no sight of the brook.

After a consistent incline, we came to a significant structure of wooden walkways and steps, the former taking us safely across the rocky cliff top with lovely views of the lake, to Helvetinkolu, a natural gorge in the rock that leads down to the lakeside. The stairs taking a slightly easier route down to the same area, with a toilet and wood-hut and not much else. Perfect, it seemed, for the group of Scouts to cook their lunch over open-fires.

After negotiating both the stairs and the gorge we, again, followed the path away from the cliff top through the woods with many fallen trees, unable to take root on the rocky ground. Suddenly, the forest environment ended and gave way to the breathtaking sight of long, golden grass swaying in the swampland. The sturdy duckboards weaving their way through the swamp helped us negotiate our way through, although a couple of mis-steps showed the benefit of wearing waterproof shoes 🙂

We we soon on the home straight, heading towards the car, the restaurant, hot coffee and ice cream – rewards for everyone!

Although we only walked a small fraction of Helvetinjärvi National Park, the 4km trail was perfect for these kids (ages 11, 8 and 6) although it would be difficult for baby strollers or wheelchairs. Challenging enough to be interesting, tiring enough that we all (except Leena) slept on the journey home, but short enough that no-one was bored. I’ll finish by quoting Olli who said “I never knew this trip would be this much fun!”

Helvetinjärvi in pictures (courtesy of Leena Wiltshear)


Picking Lingonberries

There’s an interesting law in Finland called Everyman’s Rights, which basically allows anyone to pick any flowers, berries, mushrooms etc. that are growing in the wild. You even have free access to angling and ice-fishing in many places. Unlike back in the UK, you have rights even if you’re not the landowner and if you’re just in Finland to visit.

I’ve only started taking advantage of this in the past year and I still don’t trust myself with mushrooms – I was brought up fear the poisonous varieties e.g. anything that doesn’t come in a plastic box from the supermarket – but berries are a bit easier, so here are a few pictures from when Evie, Boris and I went out recently…