Since the ice age, a chain of islands in northern Sweden has been emerging from the sea, creating a beautiful, if bizarre, wilderness for walkers, campers and kayakers
From the sea shore, the path had been rising steadily up the hillside, twisting and turning through thick forest, when suddenly it opened up on to a vast clearing of cobble-sized stones. I had spent the previous hour sweating up the mountainside, yet it felt as if I were back on the coast, staring across a rocky beach at low tide.
I wasn’t too far wrong: this was in fact an ancient seabed, one of many bizarre features of the Swedish High Coast – in the Gulf of Bothnia, the topmost part of the Baltic Sea, 500km north-east of Stockholm. It’s a wild and largely unsettled landscape of flat-topped mountains, dense evergreen forests, lakes and inlets that is, quite literally, on the rise.