Not a town exactly. We live in the country, mostly farmland, but there are some wilder forest areas. This one is about 30 miles (50km) from home:
Here and there you find the remains of what is said to be a former local road between villages, well made and solidly shored up by drystone walling in exposed places:
No riders, wagons or vagabonds nowadays, just the occasional hiker:
Sometimes you come across the ruins of old farmhouses, this one picked out by the low light of the evening sun:
1955-56 Exakta Varex (Hummel 021, Wrotniak 4.3), CZJ Flektogon 35mm/2.8 (auto, black with zebra ring), Kodachrome 200. This lens gave a surprising blue cast, maybe one more example of the coating being wiped off while cleaning.
That photo could be anyplace in NW Ontario where I live. We were in Sweden to visit some friends years back and the place immediately made me feel at home because of this. Friendly people also helped a great deal in that respect. A large portion of our population in the early years was from Scandinavia because of the forestry industry. I will bet this looks familiar to you too.
Last Edit: Jun 26, 2007 13:42:06 GMT -5 by nikonbob
It's much the same latitudes I suppose, and similar climate. We don't have so much birch round here, but I can think of plenty of places further north. The area I showed has original beech now being reinforced with new planting for conservation (first and second pictures) and swampy areas like your river would be overrun with alder (possibly down in the dip in my third picture). The remainder is semi-wild plantations of spruce up to 70 years old, like my last picture (that's why you stumble on farm ruins, and can still trace the old field layouts by following the stone walls). The plantations are much gloomier.
I grew up near the gulf coast of Texas, but spent most of the 1990s in northern Sweden.
I recognized the beech trees in your scenic photo, and it reminded me of my hikes in the forest around Helsingborg. I never saw a beech in nothern Sweden.
In the USA, I've only seen beech in a very few places in the national forests in Texas and Arkansas.
In Medelpad, where I lived and worked, I recall that besides the birch --and a small number of willow, larch and adler trees--there wasn't much in the way of deciduous trees. The forests of southern Sweden are so much more diverse in comparison.
Am I correct in recalling that in Swedish, both spruce and fir are called gran?
I first got interested in photography when I took a photo and darkroom course organized by ABF in Sundsvall.
... I recognized the beech trees in your scenic photo, and it reminded me of my hikes in the forest around Helsingborg. I never saw a beech in nothern Sweden ... Am I correct in recalling that in Swedish, both spruce and fir are called gran? ...
I had to do some homework on this. Beech only grows naturally in this part of Sweden (up to a bit north of lat. 56), but it is planted in gardens, parks, copses etc. up to level with Stockholm. A lot is done to reintroduce it down here to recreate the original landscape, but it's not a crop of choice with forest owners, who prefer spruce that can be cropped twice in a lifetime. Beech has enormous amenity value and is gradually replacing spruce plantations in nature reserves at least.
Sw. gran is primarily native spruce (Norway spruce in Britain), and other spruces introduced in plantations. Pine is Sw. tall. Spruces belong to the genus Picea. Pines belong to Pinus.
The deeper I got into firs the more ambiguous it became. The American College Dictionary and the online Webster define it as any coniferous tree in the genus Abies. None of these occur as natives to Britain or Scandinavia, but are found in e.g. North America, Spain and the Balkans so occur as introductions in parks and gardens. So I tried various gardening books and found one examnple: Abies koreana was referred to as Sw. koreagran. So yes, Swedes seem to include firs in gran.
Then the Pocket Oxford Dictionary has a different definition of fir, and Webseter as a second definition: any pyramidal conifer (which is a polite way of saying the general public can't see the difference and only know about Christmas trees.
Even the botanists don't seem to know what to do with the Douglas fir. It's been moved around in the genera Abies, Picea, PInus and Tsuga over the years, and even did time in Sequoia. It currently has it's own genus, Pseudotsuga. A diminutive European cousin of the sequoias is the juniper. Again, the Douglas fir is not native to Europe but is grown in parks. I'd guess the Swedes might say douglasgran too.
The English word fir has come all the way from Saxon and beyond and it has a Swedish cousin fur meaning pine tree and pinewood. Another cousin is Latin quercus (oak). Similarly, spruce goes back through Middle English to Old French (and must have come over with Willam and the Normans in 1066), a word meaning Prussia (i.e. where the wood was imported from in those days). Anyone else like to join in trivial pursuits?
By the way Helsingborg must be a long way to go for a hike from Sundsvall? Apart from municipal parks, what I described is really the only continuous stretch of real forest near Helsingborg, so that might be the same place you visited. The whole area is known as Söderåsen, the part I photographed is Klåveröd, other parts are Klövahallar, and especially the impressive rift valley at Skäralid (now a national park).
PS. Nikonbob didn't mention where exactly he'd been.
Post by John Parry on Jun 28, 2007 17:00:32 GMT -5
Our Forestry Commission tend to grow Norwegian Pine, which as you say has a fast turn-around. The real gems in our part of the world are the larches - which are the only conifers that shed their leaves in Autumn (fall), but before they do that, turn a brilliant crimson.
Well, it's been a good 14 years or so since I last visited Helsingborg, but as I recall, the forest was not far at all from the center of Helsingborg --perhaps just on the edge of town. I like Helsingborg, partly because it feels a bit different from the rest of Sweden. It sure does sound a lot different! I understand everything I hear when people are speaking more-or-less standard Swedish, but it was difficult for me to catch everything people were saying to me in that part of Sweden.
In the early 1990s, when my son was small, we took several bicycle vacations through the part of Denmark closest to Sweden. We used to pitch our tent at Råå, take the boat out to Ven, and take our bikes across on the Helsingborg-Helsingör ferry. We would ride along the coast and explore the small towns and pretty beaches. Hornbaek and Gilleleje are a couple of the towns I recall right off. Ever tried the Wiibroe stout ale that is common there? I love it! But never saw it anywhere else besides that part of Denmark.
Our other favorite place for bicycle tours was the Höga Kusten. The high points on those trips were usually climbing the rocks and staying in the hostel on Högbonden, and drinking coffee at Cafe Mannaminne in Häggvik (near Nordingrå). Ever been there? Man, that coffee tasted GOOD after pedaling half the day on a fully-loaded bike with a kid on the back just to get there! That place is quite out of the ordinary for a number of reasons, and I always urge people to stop and see it if they are passing through that part of Sweden.
John, what I like about larches is the tiny flowers spread along the branches before the leaves break out. This is another introduction (originally from central Europe) that's starting to run wild and is also hybridising with the Japanese larch. I saw recently that attempts are being made in Scotland to curb garden escapes that are spreading along the road verges and railways - robinia, buddleia, ponticum rhododendron etc. Among my garden weeds are rowen, gooseberry and elder and I usually have to remove a dozen or more of each at the end of the year.
Scott, yes, Helsingborg, like this whole corner, is different. It was Danish until the Swedes took it in 1658. So your forest must be Pålsjöskog, a beechwood on the northern edge of Helsingborg, about a mile across maybe, newer suburbs are creeping beyond it. I was up there only yesterday looking for a wheel for the competition, but it was locked away! We did a round trip on the ferry today with our grandson for the fun of it. Approaching Helsingborg from the sea, there seem to be more trees than houses.
By the way, skog means forest or wood. John P will probably recognise the English dialect word shaw, which goes back to an Old English loan from the vikings. There's also the surname Briscoe, which means birch wood.
Post by John Parry on Jun 29, 2007 10:27:02 GMT -5
Sid - larches are lovely trees, and the mainstay of our forests here in the Lake District. They are even managing to keep the grey squirrels at bay (although the red squirrels are suffering). Although the Forestry Commission plant conifers, the majority of the woodland here is mixed. The larches give a lovely median - and the red squirrels love them.
Problem is, the grey squirrels carry a squirrel disease from America. It doesn't affect them but our reds have never been exposed to it, so it's killing them like wildfire. Maybe it's America's revenge for the measles that devastated the Native American and Inuit populations!
Funny you should mention grey squirrels. Where I live they have started to infest us too and drive the local reds out. I guess that is southern Ontario's gift to us northerners. Too bad, I really like the smaller reds. On an upside, I have seen more chipmunks than in the past so hopefully they are making a come back.
We have lots of red squirrels and chipmonks here in northeastern Ohio, but the skunks are what's getting bad. Hot summer night, windows open...ahhh cool air. OH OH!!! &^%$#@!!! SKUNK!!! CLOSE THE WINDOWS!!!
Post by John Parry on Jun 29, 2007 17:28:26 GMT -5
Ha! I wondered about that Randy - whether they stank all the time or just when they were annoyed or frisky. Guess that answers my question!
Our "Ragdoll" queen Matilda is getting 'seen to' today. She was seriously on heat last weekend and was screaming at the top of her voice every minute. I'd have cheerfully strangled her, but you know how it is!!
My eldest grandson, now in his early twenties, is very much into Viking and Norse history and legends so I get a fair share of it relayed to me. I'm also very much into the early English language, and a surprising number of words, some of which have dropped out of use, came from Norse.
I haven't been to Sweden for getting on for 30 years but in the late 1960s and early 1970s when I was a journalist I used to go there several times a year for industrail stories to see Volvo in Göteborg, or Gothenburg, and to see Scania in Sodertelje, a little to the south west of Stockholm. I always wantd to watch the ice hockey at Sodertelje, but somehow nebver got the time.
One afternoon during a break, one of the Scania people, a chap named Kai Sandell, took me to see the Viking Canal near Sodertelje, and I heard lots of stories about Olaf the Brave, the teenage 'pirate king' from Norway around the years 1010 to 1020. He even sailed up the Thames and knocked King Ethelred for six in a big battle at Southwark, one of the oldest parts of London on the south bank of the Thames.
I was usually far too busy to take photographs and anyway I wasn't into scenic photography (still aren't!) so I didn't often have a camera with me.
I regretted this on one occasion when Volvo arranged one of their 'convoy testing runs', long-distance road tests of a new heavy truck for a group of international journalists. This would have been about 1968 or 1969, so the truck may have been the F88.
For this run we left Göteborg going north, following what I believe was route 45, if I remember rightly, all the way up Sweden to the mining town of Kiruna, well within the artic circle. It was in early summer, so it didn't get dark in Kiruna, but it got darn cold, and there was plenty of snow and icy roads. The trip took best part of four days, and I would have had lots of opportunity for photography . Oh well!
We didn't have to drive all the way back, Volvo flew us back in a couple of their company aircraft and left factory drivers to bring the trucks back.
I made up for it on another of Volvo's convoy test runs, this time in 1972 across the Moroccan Sahara, when I took my Kiev loaded most of the time with Kodachrome 64. I shot about eight rolls, mainly pictures of people, partly because they're my favourite subjects, and partly because the scenery away from the villages in the Sahara isn't exactly photogenic! Some of the shots I took are in the Galleries on my website www.peterwallage.com