The Kungsleden

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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

Apparently it’s Still Winter…

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Forty nine miles in two days, not bad if I may say so myself.
The mountains have been slowly drawing closer, and the buggers are still covered in snow! Seems like no one told them it’s supposed to be Summer.
Still, with just a couple more days before the Kungsleden things are getting exciting.

Plus, I had a pair of hawks (or some such) flying along with me for a few miles the other day, beautiful creatures. Though sadly the lighting wasn’t ideal and the zoom on my phone really isn’t great. Aannndd saw a moose, which disappeared before I could even get my phone out, sneaky bastard.

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I’ve given myself a night off in a hostel to get clean and organised (the hostel has this amazing machine, you just put clothes in and they come out clean, the times we live in) and met a lovely couple who are motorbiking around northern Sweden. Nice to have someone to chat to.

Oh and I’ve officially named my bag Big Brother. For two reasons 1) like a real big brother he’s a constant source of pain and irritation, but always there when I need something and 2) like the Orwellian Big Brother, everywhere I go he’s right there behind me…

By the way, anyone who wants to see some more photos check out my instagram FKeate.

And, of course.
http://www.justgiving.com/Fredrik-Ahlburg-Keate1

A Sad Farewell.

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Friends, Romans, countrymen, I gather you today to mourn a good friend, and constant companion on my journey. Hes been with me every step of the way, made me laugh, made me sigh, even nearly made me cry, and now his final page has been turned. That’s right, my kindle has broken. I don’t know how or why this has happened (it was working at 8am and when I turned it on again at 10 the screen was distorted and only the bottom part would load) but it’s, well, bloody irritating. I loved that kindle and it was great to have something to read of an evening sat round the fire. Plus, I’ve lost my ipod charging cable, so really running short on entertainment. At this rate I’m going to have to start using my imagination and creativity, and thinking about things… One can but shudder.

On a lighter note, only in Lappland could you encounter a traffic jam caused by a family of reindeer casually strolling down the motorway. Papa dear even stopped to take a cheeky wee in the middle of the road infront of the waiting que of cars, lorries and an entire motorcycle tour group. Suffice to say not a single F was given.

Other than that fairly a uneventful day. Nice to have a bit of blue sky and I covered a decent distance.
Am drawing ever closer to the Kungsleden, which I think should be the most exciting and beautiful part of the walk, probably only another 5 or so days until I reach the start at Tarnaby.

Also, a quick thank you to everyone who has donated in the last few days, the total is really starting to add up! For anyone who hasn’t and wants to just pop along to

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

Right, I’m being eaten alive by the mosquitos (the true rulers of Northern Sweden) so I’m going to dive into the safety of my tent and get some kip. G’night all.

The Accidental Hitchhiker.

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After two solid day of rain and a night in a leaky tent things were looking a bit bleak, that is until lady luck intervened in the form of a lovely young couple who offered me a lift to the next town with somewhere to dry out my kit (for those of you worried about me “cheating” it was only about 3 miles, and for those worried I’m not suffering enough, it pissed down the next day as well so I wasn’t dry for long).

Over the weekend I was joined by Johanna, who I worked with at Emmagården farm. Not only did she provide an ear for me to talk at (few weeks of solitude coming up so I’m storing up conversation now) but she also brought some good weather along with her, so all in all a pleasent couple of days. Yes that is her in the picture and yes she probably is now going to hunt me down for posting it.

Back to hiking solo now and I’ve just found a lovely spot by a lake so I’m off to set up camp. Fingers crossed this nice weather holds, tata for now!

Sun, Steinbeck and Stinging Nettles

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Sorry it’s been a while since I updated this, but then again I’d like to see any of you write a coherent blog post after plowing a field by hand…

It’s been a lovely couple of weeks working at Emmagården. There’s definitely something to be said for this “good honest work” business, though it doesn’t half knacker you. Lots of digging, weeding, planting, and reading in the sun (Steinbecks Tortilla Flat, well worth a look for anyone interested in a comedic look at the backhanded saintlyness of utter basterds).

However, all good things must come to an end. Back on the road again and, sticking to tradition, the lovely sun of the last week or so has instantly turned to windy drizzle. Still, managed a decent 22 miles yesterday then spent the night learning, the hard way, that putting up my tent slightly wrong will lead to it leaking all over my lovely dry sleeping bag, lovely dry clothes and lovely dry me… Currently sheltering under a motorway bridge with everything hanging up to dry. Oh what a glamorous life I live.

Thank you to everyone who has donated recently, the total is now just shy of £1400, for those of you who haven’t donated yet never fear the link is here
http://www.justgiving.com/Fredrik-Ahlburg-Keate1
Think we can raise another £100 before I can walk another 100 miles?

In a Heartbeat (Ester Ahlburg Keate)

Hello readers of my baby brother’s blog!

I am so proud of what Fred is doing and decided I wanted to contribute in some way. I am not very good at walking, but what I am not too bad at is photography… so I thought I would use that in some way to try and raise some money!

I came up with the project “In A Heartbeat: 60 Second Portraits” as a way to do this. For the open day at Brockley Artist Village, where I have my studio, I set up two backdrops and a timer. Everyone who came to the studio was offered the choice of a red or white backdrop and was then given 60 seconds to pose for a portrait. The response was brilliant, I met some great people, found out some interesting things about the area I live in, took 25 portraits and raised about £250 for the BHF… so all in all a pretty good day!

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Thank you very much to everyone who took part, and I hope you liked your portraits! 

Passed the Half Way Point! (and other news)

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OK, first I would like to say a big thank you to the couchsurfing community of Östersund for putting me up these last few days and making me feel so welcome. Also, a slightly belated thank you to Christian who joined me for a week of walking. It was great to have him along, especially as he seems to be a lucky charm for finding great camping spots (plus he brought a harmonica, something which will now be on my kit for every hike). I’m hoping to have a small piece, and some great photos, from him to post on here soon.

And yes, at some point in the last two weeks, whilst I have been distracted by having friends over and enjoying the view, I passed the mid way point on my walk! Still have another 600 miles to go so it’s not over yet but it’s a great milestone to pass.

In other news, having walked slightly faster than expected I’ve found myself with a week to spare. Not being used to the idea of having nothing to do I signed up to a website called wwoofing, long story short if anyone wants me for the next week I’ll be doing vast amount of digging in Emmagården, a small organic farm on the outskirts of Östersund.