There are a few things I am real passionate about, and if you get me started I will rant on like a born again christian. So far this has been the joy of electric bikes, Ortlieb bicycle-bags and Interrail. Now I can add a new one: iceskating on lakes!
During my childhood I hated skating. I could never see the point in going round and around on that ice rink. It also hurt. Badly. My ankles and foot would start hurting after a few minutes, and my feet got cold and my fingers got frostbitten and I just thought skating was the most miserable of all winter-sports. So for about 30 years I just didn´t give a toss about it.
After I moved close to the forest outside Oslo, with a big lake a few minutes walk away, I slowly got hooked on skating again. The transistion from skate-hater to skate-lover started when I got a pair of "skridskor" or attachable skates (or long distance ice skates as google translate suggests). Basically it is a pair of skating blades you attach to your shoes, either by using straps or a ski-binding. -I basically just bought a pair of blades and dismantled the ski binding of an old pair of skis. Then I remounted them onto the blades with bolts and nuts (very easy, but you need to drill a hole for the back part of the binding, so you need a drill and a metal drill-bit). For protecting the blades during transport I have just cut up some insulation for pipes.
Detachable skates means no more cold fingers while trying to tighten the laces on the skates, or cold toes because the skates are just ridiculously thin. You can use your favourite, warm hiking boots, or as I do: my mountain-ski boots. You can walk from lake to lake, and you can take off the skates if you come to a part which is best done by foot.
This is by no means something for your local ice-rink. But if you love being outside in the forest, on a lake or a canal it is just magical! -And it is SO FAST! By using your ordinary ski-poles you take the strain off your ankles and can get a great speed even as an amateur.
For the first time in my life I am not waiting for snow. Just let the ice stay perfect!
If you get addicted you can of course buy special skating poles which are great for testing if the ice is safe (and for killing the person behind you if you are not careful..), but so far I have only used my normal ski-poles. On a longer trip you should also have a rucksack with some rope, woollen long-johns and sweater in a plastic bag and something inflated like a balloon, or even better: the bags inside of these 3 litre wine-boxes. They make sure you get a little help staying afloat if you are unlucky. You should also always wear these ice-claws around your neck.
Always avoid the areas of a lake where a stream comes out, or narrow parts where the current will make the ice freeze more slowly.
Where to buy:
Rolf Utgård (the guru of ice skating)
KGD - kaja gjedebo design
I have been working as an artist and jewellery designer since 2002, after graduating as a furniture designer from Edinburgh College of Art in 1999.