The Annual Winter Market at Jokkmokk has a long history and is regarded as an unbroken tradition for over 400 years. Fixed market places near Saami wintering grounds were founded by the Swedish Crown in the early 1600s The aim was to strengthen the state's grip on the population in the north, collect taxes and spread Christianity. A market in Lapland during the coldest time of the year had many advantages. The Saami people were gathered in forest areas with winter grazing for the reindeer, and the frozen rivers were excellent fairways for merchants, government servants and men of the church.
Today, the Winter Market remains on of the great destinations to find Saami craft work and materials, meet Saami craftspeople and sample the cultural events that surround the market.
It would be unusual if a diverse bunch of people that a forum like Bushcraft UK attracts did not have an equally diverse set of objectives from a trip like this. For me It is an event I have wanted to visit for years and it seemed like a good opportunity to obtain some interesting equipment, materials and bags of inspiration too. Add to that the chance to make contacts in the community which might lead to further possibilities in the future.
There were the usual crop of people who did little but point out the problems with such a plan but there were also a few that came forward with ideas and solutions who are always more useful.
In the early stages the plan shifted from wild camping to the possibility of using laavus on a private site. At a later stage this plan fell through and some of us eventually decided to book a cabin and use that as a base station for some wild camping. This would also provide a safe fall back position and secure location to leave equipment while we visited the market.
For Damian and myself our physical journey started with a flight out of Manchester Airport to Stockholm, Arlanda. We had decided to spend a couple of days on the way in Stockholm and visit some of the museums there which neither of us had managed to see before.