The conference and hotel island Silverskär in Saltvik is building a little fishing village with a few rustic and simple but comfortable little houses for small groups gathered on Östra Klobben in Saltvik’s northern archipelago.
There are a few more hermit huts on Västra Klobben and Trutklobb, in addition to those on Sviskär.
Facilities and standard
“My hope is for a network of recreated traditional old fishing villages and houses all around Åland. The issue of transport is a challenge, however,” says principal owner Sven-Erik Holmberg.
“Staying on the island has to meet today’s requirements as regards facilities and standard but provide the same unique experience of nature that the archipelago has been providing for thousands of years.”
The target group might be people who want to get away from their comfort zone in terms of urban living, and who like outdoor challenges.
Another target group might be a group of people who want to leave stress behind and have time to socialise and have fun with their nearest and dearest in an unspoiled and naturally beautiful environment.
The simple grizzled units are built close to one another on the smooth low flat rocks. In principle the rooms have beds for four, a fireplace and a table and chairs.
Activities should be about living an island life – anything from carrying out traditional but in today’s terms challenging archipelago duties from bringing up the catch, cleaning the fish and cooking it over a fire to sailing or paddling and carrying out team tasks.
“What tastes delicious out here is steamed herring, such as people used to prepare in a cauldron over an open fire out in the old fishing villages and eat with potatoes,” says local manager Johan Mörn.
In the past, when large sections of the population lived from fishing, people went out and stayed in the fishing villages for weeks on end in the late summer and early autumn.
People spread their nets in the evening or fished at night and then took up the catch in the early morning.
In the morning everybody helped out with sorting out the nets and cleaning, salting and storing the fish in wooden barrels, which were then transported back to the farm and onward to the markets in the neighbouring region.
A social life but a hard one
Life in the fishing villages was social and for many young people the highlight of the year was when there was time to socialise, play and dance on the hill between work shifts. Romance flourished and bonds were sealed for life.
But it was hard as well, between fishing expeditions, especially for the older hands who were responsible for the work and had to make decisions on the basis of the weather and the wind. There was loss of both life and valuable equipment during stormy nights.
Island accommodation is available at: Bomans Stugor in Finström; Coja-fishing in Föglö, Glada Laxen on Bärö in Kumlinge; Havsgården on Kyrkogårdsö in Kökar; Jurmo Vandrarhem (hostel) on Brändö; Mekong Foods Stuga on Lökskär in Vårdö; Sandösund Resort’s Gyllenklobb in Vårdö; Pellas Gästhem on Lappo in Brändö; Silverskär Hotell & Sviskär in Saltvik.