Thursday, 7 August 2014

Villands VÅNGA

In the surroundings of Villands Vånga

An old stone fence in the forests of Lerjevallen.

Up to now we have been very busy moving around Skåne getting to understand the differences in the regions and their activities. This time we are moving into a different world, away from mass tourism, in the Skåne wilderness near Vånga. A tip from Mrs. T made me look into what would be available in this region. Vånga itself is a small village in the Kristianstad municipality, beautifully located near Lake Ivo. The area is particularly well suited for growing fruits and berries but my attention was this time caught by two unusual sites nearby Vånga. They both have their own story to tell that might interest our readers, too. In the early 20th century, near Lake Lerje, existed a village called Spångabro that has since then disappeared and is now called the "The Dead Village". What happened to this village? The other site is a ravine called Kastagropen that is said to have a background with the so called snapphane-people during the Swedish-Danish wars in the 17th century. Both sites proved difficult to find as I had to rely on map-details (no road signs) and advice from local people as to the directions. Having said that, Skåneleden will carry you from Lake Lerje to Kastagropen if you are open for a physical challenge.

Lake Lerje and Lerjevallen with Spångabro

Lake Lerje and its surroundings.

Lake Lerje is a small lake in north eastern Skåne where Lerjevallen offer outdoor activities both winter and summer time. Cottages can be rented through Kristianstad municipality. On the northern slopes, among thick forest, existed the village of Spångabro. The remnants of the village is trusted to an organisation that now organize walks amidst the ruins of the village. Today I was on my own with an old map drawn by Rickard Nilsson showing the approximate position of the houses. Unfortunately all I could see was some old stone fences (see above). Where the village (consisting of some 40 buildings) had been, the forest have grown thick and a guide is most useful in order to find your way to the buildings or what is left of them. Seems that the village was desserted because making a livelihood become more or less impossible. People lived in simple dwellings built by their own hands, worked hard for their living and often had to walk long distances to carry out their duties and sometimes all the way to the city of Kristianstad.  "Väva-Anna" did weave all her life, "Stava-Per" was the tailor and "Örn-Ola" the butcher. People worked as laborers in the nearby farms. "Löne-Sven" once walked tired home and had to have a rest walking uphills. The story says that he fell asleep "but woke up early enough to make his way to work next morning". These stories and more have been written by Rickard Nilsson and published in Kristianstadsbladet 17th November, 1960. 

An overnight resting place along Skåneleden at Lake Lerje.

I followed Skåneleden a short distance but as it was about 6 km to Kastagropen, and 15 km to the next resting place, I decided to return to the car and drive there via Vånga. 


Advice to new visitors. Follow the road to the tree line and look left. 

My first attempt to reach Kastagropen failed as the road I had taken thinned out to become a narrow path and then soon finished in a dead end. The road was the correct one, but the ravine of Kastagropen was nowhere to be seen. Best to return to the village and ask for advice! I was kindly offered another more detailed map and the route was verified. The advice was: "Park the car at the end of the path and walk the last bit". The above pictures offer a view of the area where one has to abandon the car (behind the bushes). There is enough space for a small car to turn around for the return trip. The electric lines make a good landmark and are marked on the map, too. Then move through the bushes and look left for a narrow road (guides say it's from medieval times) that runs through the ravine. If you, like I, take the wrong turn you may end up facing a "wall" of birch trees - do not try to penetrate but return the same way to the main road. Follow it and keep your eyes on the left hand side where the ravine soon will appear. Another piece of advice: If you do as I did (left the car door open for some time) you will get a herd of flies in your car. Not recommended!

WHAT IS Kastagropen? It is a ravine in a beech forest. During the rainy season a stream runs through the valley but summer time it dries out. WHAT IS a Snapphane? This is the name of a person (bandits, laborers or forces) that counteracted on Swedish groups during the Swedish-Danish wars in the 17th century. Most of  them lived in Skåne that belonged to Denmark for 600 years. The reasons for counteracting on the Swedes are many and different Snapphane groups operated in different ways for different reasons. All in all the Swedish government regarded them something of soldiers of guerrilla war fare and executed many to set an example. Stories tell that some where hanged in KASTAGROPEN. For me this ravine with its dense forest offered a fantastic playground for practicing my camera on light and shadows and offer different kind of photographs - some of which are best in black&white or sepia. 

Tried as B&W but best in natural colors.

This one in sepia.

General view in B&W.

Dry season!

Light early in the day.

Light conditions in late afternoon.

Plenty of interesting details.

An entirely different world, isn't it? And still only a short drive from main cities and airports. Plenty of photographic angles to discover - while sitting on tree stump consuming an afternoon snack. Well, I wanted to try to find an abandoned village and saw at least stone fences. On the way back to pick up Mrs. T from work I passed an abandoned house that was just the perfect target for an HDR photo (below). Makes interesting pictures, HDR.

And a final view over Lake Ivo before leaving the area.

An interesting and a DIFFERENT day out today. How do you like the pictures? Hope you all have a great week-end coming up!


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