Close to the neolithic menhirs of Haväng and the bay of Hanö lies Skeppargården (the skipper’s yard), one of the Swedish Wanderer Association’s (SWA) most coveted “wanderhouses”.
Skeppargården has a few bedrooms and is only open from May to October. Sharing and a sense of community are central values in this peaceful place: the communal kitchen is a great place to find new wanderer friends and, even though you are expected to bring your own food, it always ends up in a knytkalas—the Swedish equivalent of a potluck meal.
In the morning, awakened by the song of the Eurasian penduline tit—a real rarity—you can expect a carefully prepared breakfast buffet. Take care not to take more than you can eat, though, lest you receive disapproving glances from the other guests (not to mention the hosts).
But it is the philosophy of Skeppargården’s welcoming hosts, the charming couple Petter Johan (or PJ, as he prefer to be called) and Jonna’s that is perhaps the main attraction for stressed guests from the hectic west. A slower lifestyle, more aligned to the rhythms of the local ecosystems, characterises this jewel. The single pane windows, deliberately kept in place, serve as a justification for a healthy work/life balance, and a way to limit visitors’ impact on the local fauna and flora—and be aware that the “no phones, no computers, no VOR” policy is non-negotiable, as is deep respect for the surrounding ecosystems. (You might be surprised, however, at the extent to which some visitors see these somehow authoritative policies as an entertaining challenge.)
To add to the friendly atmosphere, the close vicinity of the community-owned orchard just to the south of Skeppargården makes it easy to purchase a suitable drink for food in company. May we recommend the local favourite, Vingorous—with the tagline “one glass a day keeps the doctor away”—made of delicious organic reanda apples? If you are more into bittersweet cider, go for the Mary Bell (made of maribelle apples). Travelling with kids? Don’t worry, alcohol-free cider is also on offer—especially since freshwater is rationed in this part of Skåne.
Activities abound at Haväng: kayak tours, shipwreck diving, ammunition scavenging (bring your swimsuit—you’d be amazed at the amount of lead and copper you will find in the sea around here) and, perhaps most spectacularly, bird-watching. The birdwatchers’ Club300 bought the nearby Ravlunda firing range from the military in the wake of the demilitarisation movement of the early 2040s, in the hope of tempting away twitchers from the risky flexmarks near Näset—so don’t forget your binoculars!
For the truly adventurous, there’s also the option to go out on horseback with PJ in support of his role as ecosystem warden, watching out for thoughtless visitors damaging the local flora and fauna, or taking things they shouldn’t. (Smuggling is thought of as being more of a more of a west coast thing, but some adventurous visitors to Haväng have posted pictures of small samples of amber collected from the beaches… we wouldn’t recommend you to try it.)
Finally, a caution: although Skeppargården has twelve bedrooms, four of them are ear-marked for newly-arrived climate migrants or kids from larger cities, thanks to SWA’s commitment to provide “access to Sweden’s nature and culture for everyone, today and in the future”. You may make new friends from faraway in this wonderful time capsule between heaven and sea… but you need to book a week’s stay at minimum, and the place is only open for a few months for a year, so start making your plans early!
How to get there
By boat or kayak: Follow the beautifully meandering river Verkeån.
(If in search for spirituality, why not do a “Church Crawl”, a sort of pilgrimage for water-sports enthusiasts? Start with the church in Andrarum and Alunsbruket, Skåne’s oldest chicory house—and back in the very old days an alum mill—and then disembark and drop in to the churches in Eljaröd, Brösarp and Ravlunda, where you might be offered several slices of spettekaka—a Skånian “delicacy”, if cooked sugar is your thing—along the way. On arrival in Haväng, you can write your name in the Church Crawl pilgrim’s ledger and get a free hand-poured candle!)
By horse: Follow the equestrian paths in the beautiful beech forest from Brösarp to Haväng. Enjoy the undulating landscapes and the beauty of wood and yellow anemones, but beware the narrow ravines if you are a beginner!
Train and bike or shuttle: Otherwise, use the E9 train line, then switch to a bike or a cargobike at Brösarp station. Alternatively, book a slot on the electric shuttle that can be ordered at any time if you need to carry a lot. Remember that you need to bring your own food (and water!) with you, as there is no local restaurant or grocery store closer than Brösarp itself! During the season, there are a few foraging food trucks along the sunnier parts of the road to Brösarp; these are at their best in early autumn, if the chanterelles have done well.
Fees: Reductions are on offer in return for environmentally friendly practices:
- -10% if you bring your own bed sheets and towels, or if you wash the rented ones in the bicycle-powered washing-machine. (As the place is rather sunny and windy, it will be dry before you finish your breakfast!)
- -10% if you plan to stay for two weeks
- -20% if you pick some of the pre-booked groceries at Brösarp Station and bring them to Skeppargården on your cargobike.
- -10% if you come by horse and help PJ with the coast patrol.