Saturday started with a layer of suncream and a generous spritz of mosquito spray. I’d been looking forward to some fresh air and a proper walk all week… keeping my fingers crossed for decent weather. Luckily we didn’t have to go far to find this amazing forest!
It was too hot for hiking boots and I still haven’t got around to ordering Summer hiking shoes, so I wore trainers instead. They did the job but definitely weren’t cut out for trails riddled with rocks and tree roots. My feet were pretty tired by the end of the day.
An abundance of wild blueberries was one the reasons we went back to this particular spot. They grow everywhere… as far as you can see in some places. Most of the day was spent walking a bit, stopping to eat blueberries from the bushes, walking a bit, more blueberries… you get the idea. I ended up with the telltale purple tongue and fingers.
Picking these berries is an activity that favours the patient — they are very small compared to their supermarket counterparts (cultivated). It’s worth the effort though because they have so much flavour. They also contain greater amounts of nutrients and antioxidants than cultivated blueberries. We ate a few and froze the rest to eat in the Autumn and Winter.
We saw people carrying baskets or buckets of fruit. A few had berry combs but I quite like doing it the long, hard, slow way. Someone stopped to tell us we should get a blueberry comb, hah!
The higher areas were very different to the rest of the forest. Large slabs of rock covered in clumps of pastel coloured lichen, fallen trees and tangled roots bleached white, dry earth and heather growing in gaps between the rocks. Lots of bees and butterflies too.
These rocks hold a noticeable amount of heat. Walking across slabs like this was pretty uncomfortable in the sun; heat shining from above and rising underneath our feet.
We got chatting to someone about living in Sweden. He thought we were Swedish and apologised for the mistake but we were quite chuffed — I thought the lack of blueberry comb may have “outed” us as foreigners but apparently not. He said he moved here in 1984 and loves how accessible (wild) nature is thanks to allemansrätten. Hearing that made us feel good about our choice of country to live in.
The weather turned towards the end; sunshine and blue skies behind and dark clouds ahead. We agreed we should try and get back into the trees in case it rained. However, we were slowed down by the desire to eat blueberries off the bushes like a pair of grazing animals. Then I got distracted by plants.
I always feel a bit disappointed when hikes like this have to end, even if I’m exhausted and in need of a shower. We arrived home and ordered a takeaway. It was okay but we agreed we’d used up all our luck on the walk — the weather was good, our feet held up in trainers, we ate lunch at a nice lake and found a million blueberries. Great day.