Walking holidays with a heavy backpack have long been the norm for Swedish outdoor life. But the concept does not suit everyone and there are other ways to move between high mountains and deep valleys. Since 2000, pioneer Anna-Lena Lundblad has developed convenient alternatives for people who want to carry just light packs while experiencing Höga Kusten with its dramatic landscape and exciting cuisine, and meeting the people of the region.
Anna-Lena Lundblad was inspired by a holiday in Ireland where she had gone to walk, yet travel light, eat good food and sleep in comfortable beds. It was a great combination that worked excellently on the Emerald Isle. So why shouldn’t it work in Sweden, or at least in the Höga Kusten area where she grew up and still worked? The result was the company ResKlara - Upplevelseforum, which was formed in 2000. The first years contained a portfolio of cycling tours in Ångermanland, but a couple of years later she started arranging walking tours, and these have increased every year.
Over the years Anna-Lena has built up a unique range of walking and cycling tours through the World Heritage-listed Höga Kusten. Applying the motto, ”Comfortable hardships – we take care of the practicalities”, ResKlara combines walks on long-distance footpaths, tracks and small roads, with cosy accommodation. It provides suggestions for suitable day-long walks and arranges transport of luggage. Anna-Lena has done all the walks herself and because she enjoys it so much and finds it relaxing, she returns to many of the walks every year. ResKlara therefore has up-to-date information about the condition of the paths, as do the proprietors of the accommodation establishments, who in many cases are also responsible for the management of some stretches.
‘Comfortable hardships’ involves daily walks of a suitable length, with little packing, combined with accommodation in the form of comfortable beds at Bed & Breakfast establishments. It brings visitors into personal contact with local people who can offer both travel tips and typical local food such as fine cheeses, the region’s traditional fish meals and, not least, the region’s renowned fermented Baltic herring. Anna-Lena also meets all guests, listens to requests and gives tips about places of interest on the tours.
Since 2000, Höga Kusten’s dramatic landscape with high mountains and inlets has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Here, the land has risen nearly 300 metres since the last Ice Age and left clear geological traces in the form of till-capped mountains, cobble fields and inlets cut off from the sea. This is a natural heritage area well worth experiencing, especially on foot or on cycle.
The labelling comittes statement
Labelling Committee´s motivation (16 June 2011)
Finally, a gap in the Swedish market has been filled with convenient solutions for people wishing to enjoy nature and come into contact with the local inhabitants. However, these walking and cycling tours do not just mean a lighter backpack in magnificent scenery – they also create jobs and the World Heritage Site is given an economic value for the people living there.