Utklippan – Simplicity, Seals, & Sunsets

Utklippan is Sweden’s southern most set of islands. I consists of a pair of islands named  Norraskär and Södraskär.  The islands are very low lying and there is a harbour in between them.  The main feature of Utklippan is its lighthouse.  The buildings on Södraskär are where the lighthouse keepers and their families lived from 1840 to 1972.

There has been some form of light on Utklippan since 1789, but at that time the pilot was hoisted up in a basket!  In 1840 the lighthouse as is known now started operating, but was made higher in 1870.  In 1948 the lighthouse became electric, and it was finally turned off in 2008.

Utklippan is a nature reserve of rocks, grasses, and flowers.  It is the home to the natterjack toad, the common toad, the agile frog, and the green toad (very rare in Sweden).  Grey seals live in the waters surrounding the islands of Utklippan, and can often be seen basking on the warm outlying rocks around the islands.  There is also a phenomenal amount of bird life present on and around Utklippan.  One of the buildings is home to a bird station where volunteers carry out ringing on migratory birds and inventory breeding birds for the Swedish Museum Of Natural History.

It had been on my wish list to visit this island for a few years now, and although it has youth hostel style accommodation on it, we wanted to use our tent.  This meant getting special permission to stay with a tent, as they do not want too many tents in situ at any one time due the nature reserve status of the islands.  However, judging by the kind response and interest in us using our tent, I do not think this is a regular occurrence on the island.  If you do not own your own boat, this island is a little bit of a faff to reach.  There is a boat which you can take if you are just a day visitor, but if you want to stay overnight it involves taking two boats (the second only being able to take 12 passengers and operating from Wednesday to Sunday for only a few months on the year).  So with twin 2 off on his own adventure, and our little lady not having much enthusiasm for anything, I decided this would be a great adventure for twin 1 and I to head off together to enjoy.  So we boarded our first boat in Karlskrona, which would take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to the islands of Stenshamn and Utlängan followed by a sea taxi of around 30-45 minutes which took us to our final destination of Utklippan.  Dadda had dropped us off in town for our first boat.  On our way home though we’d be picking up a third boat from town to our own island where we live.

 

Once we finally arrived on Utklippan, I instantly felt any stress from daily life melt away surrounded by the calm and tranquility of being in a place where life was simple, surrounded by nature, with the only sounds being the sea and the birds.  We dumped our backpacks and took a little stroll around Utklippan to find a tent pitch for the night.  We needed to be respectful and stay a little distance away from the buildings, but the only other criteria I had was that we had a beautiful view from our pitch.  Twin 1 managed to find a perfect spot.  We had uninterrupted sea views, as well as flat ground with no rock.  Anyone who has experienced Sweden will know how hard it is to avoid rock!  So we started to set up camp.

Coming to Utklippan I had a few things in my mind I had wanted to happen.  I was desperate to spot some seals, I wanted to go up the lighthouse, but I also wanted to experience the peace, calm and tranquility of the island.  On the boat over I was a bit concerned the last one of these would not be happening, as twin 1 was so excited he could just not stop talking!!  However, once we arrived he was in his element.  He set off exploring the whole island, and would be gone for huge chunks of time (the islands are very small so most of the time I could actually see him) leaping from rock to rock, playing his game of “secret agent”.  He felt so free and was having an amazing time, which left me some peace and calm 🙂 Once the tent was up, I turned around to admire the view.  One of the rocks in the distance did not look quite right, and I could not believe it when we grabbed the binoculars, we were looking at a lot of seals!  They were just right there, after really hoping we would be able to catch a glimpse of some!!  It was fantastic and we loved watching them.

After watching the seals for a while it was time to head up the lighthouse.  After a lot of steps up to the top, we were certainly rewarded with the amazing views.  It was not busy on the island so we had the lighthouse all to ourselves, which meant we could wander around the top, sit and enjoy the views for a while, as well as step inside the actual light compartment to have a nosey.  Inside the light compartment there was also a telescope set up, which meant we could see the seals even better as it was a lot stronger than our binoculars.  We could have stayed and watched the seals through that for a long while, but the sun was shining through the glass and we were getting very hot, so it was back out onto the outside to cool off, before heading back down the long and winding staircase.

Once we had got back down it was time to head back to the tent to cook up some supper.  At home, before we set off, I had found some left over dehydrated food packs from our adventure last year to Kungsleden.  I thought these would make my packing a little easier, as well as be quite fun for twin 1 to try for the first time.  On the menu that evening for him was pasta bolognese….and he was not impressed!!  This is a child that is not a fussy eater either.  He was much more impressed with the dessert option, fruity dream.  Our plan for the evening was to chill out, maybe take a dip in the water, and watch the sunset before heading to bed.  Twin 1 continued his exploring and imaginary games leaving me to read and enjoy the sounds of nature, before taking a quick dip, and heading off for some rocks to watch the sunset.

We finally fell into our sleeping bags, fully relaxed, and drifted off to sleep to the sounds of the sea and the birds…..so lovely.

We woke up the next morning, at not too bad a time for twin 1.  Once we’d woken up properly with hot chocolates whilst enjoying the view, he was off exploring again while I made breakfast.  This morning’s menu was dehydrated porridge with strawberries and it went down a lot better with twin 1 than yesterday’s evening meal!!  We didn’t have to catch the sea taxi from the island until 1300 hours, so we had plenty of time to get up slowly, play, sketch and read.  We were really enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the island and the beautiful sunny weather.  I was wishing we had two nights there so we didn’t have to pack up camp and could enjoy a full day unwinding on the island, and I think twin 1 was happy and in his element too as he announced he’d like to stay for 60 nights!  We were enjoying the simple life, the camping, and being immersed in all the wonderful nature.

I think we both definitely needed this trip.  Twin 1 had been missing twin 2 who was away on his own adventure, and I needed to take some time away from the admin of home life and be able to unwind and relax.  The island of Utklippan definitely provided an amazing experience for both of us.  If you want to go to a place that is isolated, that you cannot easily leave, where you do not find too many other people, want to be immersed in nature, and live the simple life, I definitely recommend Utklippan.  When you leave you will definitely feel refreshed and revitalised, and wondering when will be the next time you can escape to enjoy this beautiful place again 🙂

CLICK here if you want to find more out about Utklippan, what times of year you can visit, accommodation, or to book travel there.

Utklippan - Simplicity, Seals, and sunsets, Utklippan, Blekinge, Sweden, Blekinge Archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

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