Sunday, June 18, 2017

I was on a course...

... and we started from the basics, like crawling.

The slide says "crawling".

This was not, however, a course for babies learning to move... it was a course by the Finnish Caving Association for basic caving practice. The instructor, Ralf Strandell shows us how to crawl.

And as Ralf said, "Walking is taught on a separate slide" 😀

Photo (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Member of the club?

It is a bad sign if you get a frequent customer card from the local military surplus store. Or the "Frequent Pig" card as they call it.

However, in my defence I am just buying cheap overalls from there, for caving purposes. I do try to rip out the flags and such, because it can be a bad idea to roam around the forests in a random country, wearing another random country's military clothing.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. Card by Varusteleka.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Map of the Högberget Cave

Earlier this week I took some of my colleagues to see the interesting Högberget cave, near our office. I had earlier reported about this cave in an article.

I also took some measurements, and drew a map. The full resolution map is also available in JPG or PDF.

Maps (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sauna at the Hilton

I had an opportunity to get an upgrade for my room at the Tallinn Hilton Park the other day.

I don't usually care for upgrades, but this one had a perk: a sauna!

It was a great sauna! New, with a nice Harvia heater, and settings that allow you to turn the heat up to way beyond 100 degrees. A water bucket... and a good-sized shower room.

There was also some great sunsets at the Hilton, also reflecting from the outside of the hotel's walls.

But this I wondered: Who are the executive toads? And why do they get their own levels? And what do *their* rooms have have? Mine room wasn't even on the executive level...

More sauna pictures:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kasaberget cave and abandoned concrete houses

I was searching for a place to visit this Sunday... with pretty much the only requirement being that a teenager would be interested in going. We ended up going to Kasaberget in Kirkkonummi.

We read about this place from Retkipaikka. It is no surprise that once again the article of this interesting place turned out to be written by Antti Huttunen.

The cave in Kasaberget appealed to me; the abandoned buildings with graffiti appealed Janne. So we set out to drive to Kirkkonummi. While the cave was easy to find -- Antti's coordinates 60°04'41.9"N 24°22'51.6"E were correct -- the abandoned buildings were not. In the spirit of saving this odd and a bit scary place from too many tourists, I'm not listing the location of the buildings. But they are nearby, and if you are interested enough you will find them.

When we arrived at the buildings we run into a graffiti artist making a fresh, wonderfully colourful painting. Cool.

The cave was easy to find. Once again I made a rudimentary map, by taking some basic measurements. There's a couple of smaller holes that we did not explore, but the main cave begins with a triangular room roughly 2 by 2 meters. It then continues as a tight crack (3.6 meters high) for another meter. There's a step change in the level, the floor of the crack raises by a meter or so, and the crack continues quite narrow for another 3.3 meters. I did not test whether I could fit on that part of the crack, but it seemed feasible. Maybe. Here's the map (higher reso JPG/PDF):

But back to the abandoned buildings. They are in the middle of nowhere... with no clear reason for their existence. They are not for living, with just a couple of windows on one side. They are made of concrete, and they are flat, one story buildings. Storage? But why in the middle of nowhere? Manufacture of dangerous goods, such as explosives? Area 51 of the Finnish army? Remnants of the Russian occupation of the area? Mind boggles... but I have to say, this was a spooky place. There's a small pond, and nature... but I wouldn't want to spend my vacation here. Or even the darker parts of the day, for that matter.

We also passed by some historic burial sites (rock fields).

Update: the buildings are from the Russian occupation times, they were warehouses (for what?). Also, my friend Merja posted some very useful links for further exploration:

And now back to my pictures. The welcome chair:

More graffiti:

Cave, starting with a picture of the crack:


The main room:

Photos and maps (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Janne Arkko

The Kalkkikallio caves in Vantaa

I was looking for a quick, interesting exploration for Saturday morning, and finally drove up to Kalkkikallio caves (Limestone Hill caves) in Vantaa. Kalkkikallio is a rock hill area on the other side of the Ring III road from the IKEA store. The hill is next to a secluded, quiet area of houses.

There are reportedly four caves in the area, with the main one, Ketunluola, being noted as the longest cave inside the urban "inside Ring III" area in the Helsinki area. With its amazing six meter length! 😀

Actually, I kind of doubt that claim a bit. It is true that the other possible candidate, Nepperi cave in Espoo is not as "cave like". But... I think accurate measurements would be needed, because the competition could be tight. The squeeze in Nepperi is several meters long, and after that there comes a large balcony with a rock roof... some day I need to go make measurements in Nepperi.

The fun part of the main cave is that the entrance is tight. But, with the knowledge of the inside being larger it is OK to push through. I also looked at two other caves, one cave with a large boulder covering an open space where people have setup a fireplace. The roof is 140 cm above the fireplace, and smoke can exit to the sides... but I would still feel uncomfortable building a big fire under a rock. Having seen how easily fire can crack rock.

The other side cave had two entrances: a narrow squeeze that led much further under a rock. And on the side of the rock a larger entrance where it was easy to crawl in. The two entrances connect, but with the height narrowing down to 21cm or perhaps even lower, I didn't want to try this, at least not when I was alone on this trip. This side cave has also a couple of other roofed areas under rock, near the larger entrance.

Also, to further doubt the story about Ketunluola being the largest cave, *if* you could squeeze through here, I suspect this cave would be longer than six meters. I measured 5 meters from the smaller entrance to a rock inside the cave, and then 3 meters from that rock to the bigger entrance. Inaccurate, quick measurements, and you could cut a corner and not have to go to that particular rock, but still, I wonder. More research needed!

The coordinates of the main cave are 60°16'35.1"N 25°03'57.0"E. The coordinates of the fireplace side cave are 60°16'35.0"N 25°04'01.5"E. The coordinates of the low-ceiling side cave are 60°16'34.6"N 25°04'03.8"E. There's a fourth cave, and based on looking around a bit, maybe even more small ones. But I run out of time to find the fourth cave, having to attend a graduation party for a neighbour's kid.

I also draw a quid sketch map of the caves in Kalkkikallio. Here is the map:

(Click here for a a higher-quality JPG and PDF of the map.)

And pictures from the low-ceiling side cave:

The bigger part of the low-ceiling cave is shown below. The smaller part leads to forward and left, with some light visible from the smaller entrance.

And fireplace side cave:

And the main cave:

Photos and maps (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Ruins of the Bemböle Watermill

Can you drive by something for 20 years, and not be aware of the wonders just few meters from the road? You can. I had not heard about the Bemböle watermill ruins.

I was looking through the Internet to find interesting places to visit nearby. Ruins, caves... and found a story about the the Bemböle watermill. I had some trouble locating the place, as the descriptions were a bit cryptic, and the Ring III intersection that it was next to spans a large area.

I had no idea about the ruins being right next to a highway ramp I take almost daily. They are literally twenty meters away from the ramp, but hidden from view by trees and bushes. In fact, I did not even realise there is a river or rapids there. Or even that the ground drops into a valley under all the vegetation.

There are two mills that operated until 1930s. Perhaps they burned? Today only their foundations and rock walls remain. The mills are originally from 1700s.

On the upper mill you can squeeze through a narrow opening in the waterway and enter the inside of the building that seems largely intact expect for missing roof and wall on one side.

The coordinates of the lower mill are N 60.223781 E 24.662216. The upper mill is a maybe hundred meters upstream.

The whole area is grown over with thick bushes and trees, and it is difficult to move around. Spring is probably the best time to visit. I entered from downstream, from the walkway, and walked the stream forward in boots. I exited upstream to the left, but that was probably a mistake. There are some houses and in addition to the bushes, it is difficult to find a place to pass the houses. I do wonder what there would be upstream though. Might be an interesting trek in the winter time.

Lower mill:

 Entrance through which one can go inside the upper mill:


Me on top of the wall on the lower mill:

The mills are remembered in street names of the area:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko