Back to an outdoor related topic. But this one might be new to most people reading…
It’s ice skating using big skates on natural lakes and covering quite long distances. If you can skate even reasonably well then 30 or 40 kilometre trips are easily doable, but double or even treble that distance is mentioned. Unfortunately I can’t skate very well at all and the ice thickness was marginal so we stuck very close to the Sommarstuga (Summer Cottage).
What made me think it was particularly worth a mention was that, rather like winter mountaineering and walking, there are changes afoot in the gear.
|I used them with just a pair of Montrail Stratos XCR (pictured). Although as a novice I could probably have benefited from stiffer boots I could still get about on them and they had no problem staying in place in the skates.
Even when I fell over and put a dustbin-lid sized set of cracks in the ice with one elbow.Which certainly added some extra excitement to the day.
Might have to get some elbow pads for next year.
|It’s tempted me into buying a pair since it made more sense than buying specialist boots and borrowing a spare set of skates (borrowing footwear is tricky with my size eleven and a half feet).
The simplicity of them appealed very much.
These are for emergency use, should you manage to elbow your way right through the ice.
Imagine floating in a hole in the ice, and trying to claw your way out back on to it. Pretty tricky eh? But using the Isdubbar that you cunningly hung around your neck, you take one in each hand and jam one spike into the ice and pull yourself up a bit. Stick the next one in a little higher and slowly hand-over-hand your way to safety. The throw line is a little more self explanatory and is simply thrown to you by a friend who pulls on the other end – just the same as in kayaking.
Things much like ski or walking poles are usually taken but these are more like James Bond’s ski poles. Instead of a hard, blunt tip these things have a shiny metal spear that’s enough to despatch any henchman with ease. They’re used partly for balance and propulsion and partly to check the quality and thickness of the ice ahead of you.
Finally you make sure you have a change of warm dry clothing in a properly waterproof bag inside a rucksack. This is partly to act as a float if you fall through (hopefully a rare event). So the specialist skating sacks have groin straps to prevent them floating up from your back. And partly it’s to give you something warm to change into pretty sharpish!