31 May 2011

Kayaking on Lake Hiidenvesi and Lake Lohjanjärvi in Finland

May 2011

Paddled three days (27th - 29th) through two big lakes in southern Finland, located about 50km west from Helsinki. It was my very first time paddling on these lakes even they were so near Helsinki.

Paddled distance was altogether about 80km.  This was an organised trip by some local kayaking club(s). There were about 10 people who paddled the route together (all more or less strangers to each other). We had a safety boat following us during all three days.

During the whole weekend there was a strong headwind with rain. During Saturday there was a short exception to this scheme when the sun shined brightly some hours. That really crowned the day. Temperature stayed just above +10C (typical Finnish summer weather as some one may say).

Despite not being a perfect weather, I did enjoy spending three days in a kayak on these waters. The group kept well the same speed and we had lots of fun during the days.  Good experience indeed.

Location of the photos here.

Day 1, Vihti - Kisakallio/Lohja
Once kayaks were packed, off we went. Immediately a strong headwind on Mustionselkä. Our direction was towards south-west and that's where the wind blew. When we turned to Lake Hiidenvesi, directing to west, the wind changed a while giving a tailwind and big waves. After having two breaks, started to rain (until evening) but at the same time the wind melted away.

It was nice to paddle under the bridge. The bridge was part of the old road number 1 motorway between Helsinki and Turku. Now a new highway crossed a scenery some twenty km's south from here.

After the bridge the larger area of the lake finished and the route started to shape to Väänteenjoki river. Everywhere there were lots of summer cottages, pretty well hided behind trees near water line. Before arriving at northern part of Lake Lohjanjärvi, there was a lock that you had to pass (Väänteenjoki). The difference in water level between Lake Hiidenvesi and Lake Lohjanjärvi was about 40cm. We stayed on kayaks while our safety boat driver manually opened the lock.

After the lock there was some kilometer to paddle to finish our day 1. The first night we stayed at Kisakallio in Lohja, a southmost Sports Institute in Finland.  Some people stayed in their tents, some, like me, stayed at the hotel. It was real luxury to get wet and sweaty paddling clothes drying in the room (although an odor was ...).  In the evening we had booked a sauna near the lake. Brave ones went to swim, too. Grilled some sausages and off to bed.

About 24km paddling behind and the day 1 was done.

Paddling route of day 1 (show larger map):

Packing, surely I forgot something?

Tail wind and big enough waves. Good speed!

You surely spot this Ad

It's time for a sauna



Day 2, Kisakallio/Lohja - Hopeaniemi/Karjalohja
Early breakfast at the hotel (for all of us), loading stuff into kayaks and off we went. Target was to paddle through Lake Lohjanjärvi to Hopeaniemi rehability&spa center at Karjalohja, pausing several times at local farm houses. Estimated distance was about 32km, towards south, south-west and west. No big guessing about wind direction; headwind all the way, some time stronger and some time almost nothing.  Bright sun shine at the middle of the day raised our spirit a lot.

From the start, a couple of new paddlers joined us. Narrow lake or a river at first until we paddled under the new motorway 1 bridge (near ABC station). Have to say the noise of continuous cars crossing it brought unwanted noise long way from it, thus didn't envy those summer cottage owners near by.

A short landing near the city center of Lohja. Caught cold almost on every stop. One important thing to do while paddling, even in cold weather conditions, is to remember to drink (water) enough, and regularly. This people seem to forget especially if it's cold.

We crossed the Lake Lohjanjärvi near its east shore, thus didn't have to go through any large open space. The next stop was at the new guest house, owned by a Brit who offered us a meat pie. Mmm, delicious it was!

Right after leaving early lunch place the sun appeared. It also raised the wind. We circled the biggest island on this lake from west side and headed to the 2nd lunch place. It was a nice farm house in Lohjansaari island, offering some local food.

After the break the route continued in shadows of the wind until it spreaded all over. Two to three km's we pushed through strong headwind and big waves. Last km's were quite easy and then the sun had decided to hide itself behind clouds.

Some set up their tents and some headed into their hotel rooms. This one was quite modest. Important was to get clothes dry before the next morning. Cooked some dinner at room. Watched a while Champions League final from TV until a sleep won the battle.

About 34km paddling behind and the day 2 was done.

Paddling route of day 2 (show larger map):

Highway 1. What a constant noise!

Me and the tree

Old boat shelter


Lake Lohjanjärvi

Renovated boat shelter

What's that?   Oh, it's the sun!

A secret route


Now yellow, soon white dust

Snif, snif

The real beauty

Formation in thousands of years

Felt like a Lucky Luke

A nest with two eggs. One big wave and there would be no nest

Just a good scenery, that's all

Almost there

Day 3, Hopeaniemi/Karjalohja - Mustio Manor
A cloudy morning, a pretty strong wind, rain could have started at any time. Had a breakfast at the hotel, loaded stuff into kayaks and off we went again. There were a couple of new people who wanted to join but our leader noticed they didn't have proper clothing and after 2mins of paddling couldn't keep direction and speed so we had to say them thanks but no thanks (too risky. I think the decision was right and justified as weather conditions were pretty nasty).

Pushed through Karjalohja's Peninsula in Lake Lohjanjärvi, all the way some headwind. Had a couple of short breaks while staying on kayaks. The first landing we did on Härkäsaari island. Ate some quick energy there, drank some hot drink and off again. But not too long while we had our 2nd and last landing. This time cooked a hot meal using a Primus gas cooker (EtaPower).

Right after the stop started to rain heavily, again.  The rest of the trip was through headwind. Arrived near Mustio Manor at about 4PM. Under rain packed kayaks, changed some dry clothes, waved goodbyes. The trip was done, hate to say goodbyes.

About 24km paddling behind and the day 3 was done, as was the whole three day paddling trip.

It was interesting to see these waters. Lake Hiidenvesi was quite different than Lake Lohjanjärvi. Former being more wilderness type, just forest ending to shore, whereas latter had some large stones and rocky islands and shores. Latter felt much larger (and it was, too).

Paddling route of day 3 (show larger map):

A private island

On the edge


Local rockies

Sometimes a landing place is not optimal


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