BORGSJÖ – ÖSTERSUND
The route takes you through the Jämtland forest, where robbers used to lie in wait. Drink from St. Olav’s spring and walk through forests and past elegant wooden houses beside fish-rich waters.
From Borgsjö you walk among orchids through the village of Lombäcken with its well-perserved timber houses. You can see old pits for trapping elks and other animals. Jämtkrogen on the border of Jämtland was an inn in the 1650s for post riders and farmers travelling to market. It is said that Medieval parliamentary meetings were held next to Altarstenen (the Altar Stone) on the Jämtland border.
Jämtland’s forests were perilous places where robbers would dress as women or monks to lure pilgrims away from the path. But these days the journey is safe, so you can enjoy the wilderness and the rustling of the trees. Beside Stora Harrsjön lake is a windbreak and a basic sleeping hut where you can light up a camp.
Bräcke, the main regional town, has majestic wooden houses from the turn of the last century. The community grew up during the railway expansion in the 1870s. You can stroll around the local heritage centre, which has a small museum and café open in summer. There is also an open air dance platform where dances are sometimes held. Bräcke church from 1859 stands proudly on a hill. The route passes the village of Mordviken beside the fish-rich lake Revsundsjön. Another popular fishing destination is Gimån river with rapids and pools. The Gimårasten picnic area has a picnic hut, a windbreak, a barbecue area and toilets. The wooden bridge over the river rests on stones dating from the days when logs were driven down the river.
Hand-crafted wooden buildings
The route follows a pretty path beside lake Revsundssjön. From Stavre you can take a trip on the steam boat Alma. Out in the lake is a green bathing hut with a tower. This and other hand-crafted wooden buildings are reminders of the sawmill industry of the late 19th century. Jämtland boasts some of Europe’s oldest timber buildings, including a hut in Mälgåsen dating from 1600. Skelettåkern (The Skeleton Field) in Grimnäs has archealogical finds from the late 13th century.
The route continues past Gällö, where a toll was charged for crossing the strait. The name Gällö means “fee”. This was the home of Arnljot Gelline, who fought beside Olav Haraldsson and fell with him in the battle in Stiklestad. The old parliament building stands in the village. Today the building is a local heritage centre with a school museum, but the Medieval dungeon still remains in the basement. A detour from the route will take you to the island of Ammerön. On the island’s north-eastern tip is the Skepparhällan rock. Legend has it that while sailing in fog, Olav’s boat collided with Skepparhällan and created a deep crack in the rock. There is a 13th century image of St. Olav in Revsund church. The site was a meeting point for travellers in past times, and marks the start of the Jämt-Norway route towards the Härjedalen mountains. St. Olavsleden continues northwards towards Anviken, where an outlaw once hid in the Hållbergs-grottan cave.
In Pilgrimstad you can drink from a famous St. Olav spring. It is said that pilgrims staffs used to hang in the trees beside this spring after pilgrims who drank the water were cured of their ailments. Beside the spring is Pilgrimernas hus (the Pilgrims’ House), a chapel which opened about 10 years ago. An 80,000-year-old mammoth bone was found in a gravel pit in the area – a unique find.
View towards the mountains
The route passes Runberget hill and continues to Svedje, where the King’s Stone (Kungsstenen) attests that Karl XIV Johan ate breakfast here in 1835. The barley had frozen overnight, and this was the first time the king saw frosty grain. The route continues to Hållsta mill and through the villages of Balsta, Slåtte and Bodal with a view of the mountains. The flower emblem of Jämtland, the protected nigritella nigra orchid, grows in the area. The area has Sweden’s finest limestone, and there is a stone museum in Gusta. Scandinavia’s leading stone industry thrived there in the 1920s.
Brunflo has a 30 metre high defense tower from the 12th century, which was consecrated for St. Olav. There is a St. Olav spring beside Lövberget. The route takes you through the lush Storsjö countryside. From the local heritage centre, it follows the railway past well-preserved farms in Torvalla.
Östersund is the only city in Jämtland County, founded in 1786 by King Gustav III. The steam boat Thomé makes trips on Storsjön, Sweden’s fifth largest lake. Travel back through time at Jamtli open air museum. In summer, you can step inside the historical buildings and meet people in historic costume, who will tell you about life in the past. The museum also has a pilgrim hut from Hovdsjö. After your pilgrim’s soul has had its fill of culture and history, it’s time for good food and a welcome rest.