The last stop on our day’s adventure to Skåne, was Ales Stones. This is an acient monument that dates back to the Iron Age. Ales Stones is made up of 59 huge stones, that are placed in a 67 metre long outline of a ship. They are located in a beautiful setting, 32 metres above sea level, overlooking the Baltic Sea and Österlen’s hilly landscape. The vista is amazing once you have completed the climb up to the monument. It is Sweden’s best preserved ship tumulus and was built around 1400 years ago.
This was our last stop of a long and exciting day. The children were tired, but it still did not stop them competing against each other to get to the top. The weather was now starting to get very windy and more chilly, so I think they were spurred on by the need to keep warm! The walk up was not too long, but very steep, and the views back down to the harbour as we climbed up were nothing short of stunning. As is so often the case here in Sweden there was no charge for the privilege of seeing this wonderful piece of history, and no barriers either. This meant that once we had reached the top, the children could touch, feel, and move in amongst the large boulders, really gaining a sense of perspective of how big it all was. There are sheep and cattle grazing in amongst the monument too, adding a sense of calm and tranquillity to the area. I realise perhaps these monuments in Sweden are not as busy as some back in the UK (I think we all know of a similar one I am referring to), but to not have to pay extortionate entry fees, and to be able to wander freely amongst the monument whilst respecting it, is a very lovely thing.
So what are Ales Stones? Some think it is a burial monument, while others think they were an astronomical clock. They are placed so that the sun sets on the northwestern stone in the summer, and the sunrises on the exact opposite stone in the winter. They are erected in a ship formation (67m long and 19m wide at the widest point), and it is believed to originate from the early Iron Age (500-1000 AD). The views from the top were also stunning, and very large!
It was such a lovely place to be, so it was a shame it felt like we were in a bit of a rush. However, the wind was really picking up, and temperatures were starting to fall quite quickly, and the children were tired after a lovely, but long day in the outdoors and fresh air (not to mention a LOT of walking/running). So we descended down with the eldest having to get a piggy back from Dadda, as a stumble made her shed tears of tiredness, and got back to the car. We strapped everyone in, and started the 2.5 hour journey back home through the Swedish countryside. It was very quiet from the trio, and Dadda and I were left to admire the Swedish landscape. Another time, it would be nice to dawdle at the top, and then enjoy the fresh fish restaurants at the bottom, but I think that is more a summer experience!!