Bastasjö is a lake that is the centre piece of the Bastasjö friluftsområde, outdoor area. It is very convenient being only about a 15 minute drive from the centre of the city of Karlskrona in the south of Sweden. It is a huge area of hiking trails around the surrounding woods. What makes this place so good for families are several things. There are a lot of marked trails in a variety of distances, so you can pick what you think you can manage. There are also good fire pits, surrounding the lake on all sides, allowing for you to build a campfire safely and cook in the great outdoors. At the side of the lake where the main car park is, there is also a building, which houses toilets. You can rent this out as well if you are running an activity in this location.
We arrived at Bastasjö in the depths of winter during the Swedish sportlov holiday, and although we were doing our own thing, it was interesting to see they had a “drop in” campfire with sausages cooking, everyday this holiday week from 10am until 1pm. They also had other activities, for example a night run and orienteering. There are illuminated trails, as well as ones you can use for cross country skiing when there is enough snow on the ground. We chose our trail, the blue one that skirted round the lake, spotting a fire pit that looked good at the half way point, and we set off.
We had travelled inland for about 20 minutes to reach Bastasjö, so there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground compared to what we had at home on the coast, so it made for a scenic walk. The lake was truly frozen over, and there were even some intrepid people having a mini ice hockey game on it…..but keeping very close to the edge still. They obviously did not trust the ice thickness that much. My trio were keen to use their binoculars to watch them (see my other tips for hiking with children). They have never known sea or lake ice so thick you can run, walk, or play on it. They were memorised. It all helped to take their minds off the fact they were hiking with backpacks, and were surprisingly perky! They were even surprised to find themselves at our chosen fire pit thinking the first part of the walk had gone fast, and I was quite surprised to find us there without any whinges of “I’m hungry”!
The children dropped their backpacks, and although the little lady announced she was doing the Kelly Kettle, all three raced off and suddenly starting constructing a den in the woods behind the fire pit. I was happy at my work in the peace and quiet sorting out a lunch of hot dogs and campfire toffee apples. Whilst I was busy, a lady who had seen us light the fire from the other side of the lake where the building is, had walked round and started taking photos….apparently she needed photos of people out enjoying the area with their children during sportlov! Once cooked, three hungry little den builders appeared and gobbled their food up. There was a lovely wooden shelter at this fire pit, and although it was not windy today and not such a painful experience to eat outdoors, it was lovely to be a little sheltered while we ate. I had not planned to stay at the fire pit for the whole 2 hours that we did, but the children were so happy climbing trees and den building, that I left them to it until they were ready to leave. Instead, I amused myself by trying to keep the fire going by using twigs from the ground, and although they were covered in snow I somehow managed, so was feeling quite pleased with myself!
Eventually the trio felt it was time to pack up and move off, and we set off to complete the trail and the loop around Bastasjö. They tested the limits of the ice on the lake intermittently and tried to break it with large rocks……no luck in breaking it though, it was really solid ice.
I would definitely recommend visiting this lovely outdoor area beside Bastasjö if you are in the area, and for us it will be fun to return in the summer and see a totally different looking place to the one we had experienced today. There are also geocaches in the area, but due to the cold, my phone battery dies very fast, so we never got to look for them today, so we will save those for the warmer months as well. Something to look forward to coming back for, as well as maybe different organised activities we could try next time.