Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kiruna!

image

I made it, I got to Kiruna last night (I would have posted something then but in my enthusiasm I ran quite a bit of the last few miles and was rather knackered)

Thanks to everyone. My family, the friends who walked with me, the people I met on the trail, the people who have put me up for the night, shared their food and their stories, all those who helped me out, and of course to everyone who has donated to the British Heart Foundation.

It’s been a hell of a summer, time to start planning the next trip! (once I’ve had my boots put back together and my tent reproofed). Now, what do people do in Kiruna?

Advertisements

Pedestrian Ponderings

image

So, walking upwards of 9 hours a day gives one a fair amount of time to think. Here is an insight into the mind of a long distance Hiker, I even included a picture of me doing my thoughtful face (I look great in exam halls). Oh and I tried to do bullet points but the wordpress app has foiled me at every turn so you’ll have to imagine them.

Sweden, a country with beautiful countryside and countless amazing trails, but no country pubs…

Why, after millions of years of evolution, are our knees better adapted to walking backwards?

Oh a shop! Better buy some chocolate

With our phone GPS tracking our every move, Google searching knowing our darkest questions and Facebook keeping tabs on everything we do, was Orwell a bit optimistically limited in his vision of Big Brother?

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow bloody shoulders.

I wonder if someone makes centrally heated boots.

My God, this country does have a lot of pine trees.

Some mad fool just told me there’s a place where it doesn’t rain and everything is made warm by a giant ball of fire in the sky. I mean I respect people’s right to believe in their religion but some things are a bit far fetched.

Is it possible to have ones legs surgically replaced with giant springs?

We are nothing more than the sum of our experiences, yet our memories have been shown to constantly rewrite themselves. Can it be argued that we are in fact an entirely new person when we wake up each morning? Do we even remain the same person from moment to moment?

Should have bought more chocolate.

If I swat enough mosquitos, leaving alive only those that don’t land on me, will they eventually evolve to avoid all Freds?

I remember when I used to eat food that didn’t come from a tin, those were the days.

Is anyone even reading this? It’s been so long since I read the news London could have been hit by an atom bomb and I wouldn’t know…

Maybe I’m the only person left alive….

Wait no, there’s someone peeing behind that tree.

Only three more hours till lunchtime!

If each kilo you carry burns ten calories per mile, how many many more miles can I lug this pasta around before it becomes nutritionally void?

Hmm, I should write all this down for a blog post.

Two Years Today.

image

Its two years today since my mother died (I hate saying she “passed” she wasn’t playing football, or that “I lost her” like she was a set of keys) and its been an odd day. It probably won’t ever be a a good day, but this year I do feel strangely positive. At least I’m out here doing something constructive, and after having all summer to think about everything, it feels like I’ve finally managed to straighten things out in my head a little bit. So, though it hasn’t exactly been a happy day, it hasn’t been entirely sad either. Mostly it’s been thoughtful.

Really I just want to send my love to my family, and to my friends who have helped me when things have been rough (and laughed with me when things have been good) and to say a big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me. You’ve all helped take something shit and make it just that little bit brighter.

And lastly, just a little piece of music that I remember Sussie loving and that always makes me think of her.

http://www.justgiving.com/Fredrik-Ahlburg-Keate1

The Fairy Godmother of the Kungsleden

image

So, after finding out my poor old tent hasn’t aged too well, and now offers about as much shelter as a steel helmet in a thunderstorm, things weren’t looking too great. Especially with this being Swedens wettest summer in 100 years. However, I’d come too far to give stop now, and there’s no point getting grumpy about these things (no matter how hot and bothered you get it won’t dry off your socks) so I kept going, on to the next mountain station at Tarnasjön where I spent the last of my cash on a bed for the night. Which turned out to be one of the best decisions ive made all trip.
This is where I met the Fairy Godmother of the KL, Gun Bindström. The Hut warden of the Tarnasjön station, who after hearing about my tent problems, asked around the folks in the station to see if anyone knew about waterproofing/repairing tents. No one did, but there were two absolutely legendary lads who were at the end of their walk and gave me their tent! Not only that but they popped up later in the evening with packets of freeze dried hiking food and even a self inflating sleeping mat and wouldn’t even let me buy them a beer to say thanks. Also a thank you to the hut warden at Servastugan, who was lovely to chat to and gave me even more camping meals, they were delicious. I genuinely can’t say how grateful I am to these amazing people.
Big Brother is now slightly larger and heavier than I am, but I’m dry at night and I’ve never had such comfortable sleep in the field.

A quick hello to, Milla, Ellen, Juang Moon and all the others I’ve met so far on the KL. Great people, but damn it why are you all walking the wrong direction?!

Despite the 5 days of non stop rain the Kungsleden continues to be beautiful and the wind on the mountains is great for blowing away the mosquitos.

“The Crazy Englishman”

image

So apparently I’ve earned my trail name from the other hikers on the Kungsleden. I heard about this morning when I bumped into two swedes who, when they heard my accent, exclaimed “oh so you’re the crazy Englishman”. Not going to lie, slightly flattered.

The Kungsleden so far has been absolutely amazing. Bleakly beautiful mountains, crystal clear rivers and bloody treacherous snowfields (already put my foot through what looked like solid snow but turned out to have a good 2 foot void below it, slightly sphincter clenching moment). Plus, finally, I’m meeting other hikers. Loads of them, and there great. Found a beautiful spot in the middle of a valley to camp last night, had a nice big dinner and settled down to some reading, lovely evening. Though the overall atmosphere was slightly spoilt by the discovery that my tent is about as waterproof as a sieve… Had to pack everything up quickly at about 11pm and leg it a couple of miles to the nearest Hut. Looks like I’m going to have to plan my route around where I can find stugas to stay in. Just stopped off at a mountain station for a sit down but it’s time to crack on, at least the sun is shining today!

The Kungsleden

image

So, finally I’ve reached it. The last, and probably most beautiful/challenging part of my walk.
I’ve just set out from the town of Hemavan and as this is the last time I’ll have any signal for a few days I thought I would post a little update (well partly that, and partly because that hill was a vicious bastard and I need to sit down for five minutes).
For those of you who haven’t really heard of it the Kungsleden is a hiking trail, established around 1905, which stretches from Hemavan to Abisko crossing three large national parks (said to be one of the largest surviving wilderness areas in Europe). The trail mostly sticks to the valleys but there are a few chances to climb a couple of mountains along the way.
It looks pretty impressive so far and hopefully I will finally meet some other hikers! Fingers crossed anyway.

A quick thank you to everyone who has donated in the last few days and to the hostel owner in Umnäs who, upon seeing the state of my boots offered me a brand new pair he had bought, for free. Looking at the terrain here I probably should have said yes, but I’m too attached to my pair. They’ve brought me this far and I kind of want them to see it through to the end.

Anyway, a few more miles to go yet today and if they’re all as steep as that last hill it’s going to be slow going. Time to get back on the trail, have a good one folks I’ll be back online in a few days