My Great Escape: Actively relaxing

Cathy Adams 30 November -0001

Our reader, Brenda Storey from Perthshire, goes on an incredible holiday kayaking around a Swedish archipelago. Here's her story. 

Paddle away

Kayaking in Sweden isn’t everyone’s first thought for a holiday. For me and my partner Russell, however, it was a real break from the rat race: warm, lazy days paddling among the thousands of islands that make up the St Anna archipelago, just south of Stockholm.

We flew into Stockholm and caught the train south to Norrköping, where our trip started with a night in a hotel—the last chance for a shower for the next five days.

We weren’t just kayaking but camping too. During the day we paddled among the tiny islands of the archipelago, taking it slow, enjoying the cool breeze (who knew that Sweden could be so hot?) and stopping at skerries to enjoy the view.It was generally calm water: I’m no kayaker, but after a few hours my technique improved.

We found bays of smooth water—lined by reeds to steer the boat through—shimmering with iridescent blue dragonflies.

St Anna archipelago
St Anna Archipelago. Image via Jennifer Pearce

We saw a mink basking on a rock and a couple of water snakes gliding through the water, heads up like little submarine periscopes. For five glorious days, there was no make-up, no hairbrush and no shower.

Washing involved a bottle of water and a flannel, or a quick bracing dip. Toilets? Ducking into the trees with a towel and some loo roll wasn’t a big deal.

One of the pleasures was being away from everything, only talking to each other and to the few people we met in their kayaks and boats.

For anyone looking for a holiday with a difference, miles away from the demands of technology and one that challenges their everyday life, this is an ideal break. We’ll be back…


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