melontamantyharjurepovesi1400X290

Summer
Winter

Mäntyharju-Repovesi

Description

The paddling route between Mäntyharju and Repovesi National Park is part of the old Savonselkä paddling loop. The route is of historical importance, as it was once used by the Halla forestry company to float logs between Mäntyharju and the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill. Logs continued to be floated along this route until 1964. Today the waterway is an important natural resource for local residents and tourists.

Fascinating prehistoric rock paintings dating back to the Stone Age can be found along the route. This region was inhabited as long ago as 4000 BCE.

The route follows in places the border between the Swedish and Russian empires as it was after the Treaty of Turku in 1743. A memorial to the Treaty of Turku can be found at Miekankoski. Historical border markings can also be seen in some of the rocks along the route. Between 1915 and 1917, during the First World War, the Russians built fortification lines throughout Finland to protect St. Petersburg. The western end of the second inland defence line was built to protect the Savo railway line between Ristiina, Mäntyharju, Jaala and Kouvola. Fortifications, mostly trenches, can be found in 28 different locations near the shores along the Mäntyharju-Repovesi paddling route.

Rock paintings

The prehistoric rock paintings at Haukkavuori and Kannonalus are accessible only from the water. All of the paintings can be seen to the left when paddling from north to south towards Repovesi, and they stand out quite distinctly on the cliff walls. The rock paintings at Haukkavuori are in three groups covering 4 to 5 metres each, approximately 1 to 1.5 metres above the waterline.

The first painting that you can see, a palm print of a left hand, is the most distinct. This is followed by a red area with the image of a crook-kneed person in the upper right corner. Perhaps the most interesting image is that of the upside-down human figure with a streak of colour running down from the neck. This has caused a lot of speculation over the years as to whether it portrays a sacrifice, a punishment, a warning or a record of a particular event. Rock paintings of upside-down human figures can be found in only two other locations in Finland (at Verijärvi in Mikkeli and Hahlavuori in Hirvensalmi), but these other figures do not have a streak of colour running down. The next image is an ornamental painting in which a small elk-like creature looking to its left can be made out in the lower left corner.

GPS coordinates

Kannonalus, rock painting:
P61° 20.402', I 26° 45.91'
Haukkavuori I, rock painting:
P 61° 20.134', I 26° 46.225'
Haukkavuori II-III, rock painting:
P 61° 20.018', I 26° 46.413'

Level of difficulty

The route is not difficult and is suitable for even inexperienced paddlers, but the stretches of open water can get windy and slow down your progress considerably. At the Woikoski rapids you have to carry your canoe or kayak approximately 700 metres, which should be taken into consideration when packing with your supplies. There are no canoe carts, but the road surface is good and it is easy to get back into the water on the other side.

Useful information

  • The Kurkiniemi summer restaurant can be found at the start of the route. If you are planning to stop for a morning coffee, check the opening hours from the restaurant's website in advance as it may only open at noon in summertime.
  • Many paddlers have their rented canoes and kayaks delivered straight to Kurkiniemi, so ask if this is possible when renting your equipment.
  • The Woikoski rapids cannot be bypassed from the south, as the route passes through a power plant. In other words, the route is strictly one way. The Woikoski rapids can be bypassed only by paddlers and not by rowing boats or motorboats. 
  • Do not block the road with your canoe or kayak when bypassing the Woikoski rapids, as it is the only means by which summer residents can get to the shops almost 20 kilometres away. There is a small area reserved for canoes and kayaks to the side of the road.

Returning to Mäntyharju

  • The Voikoski rapids can only be bypassed when paddling from north to south due to restricted access across private land, difficult access by the power plant and a rocky shoreline if you were to approach from the south.
  • The local taxi service also transports canoes and kayaks.

Rest areas

  • Ruokohiekka lean-to, approx. 7 km from start 
  • Miekankoski café, approx. 7 km from Ruokohiekka 
  • Pikku Linnasaari, approx. 8 km from Miekankoski 
  • Haukkavuori, approx. 4 km from Pikku Linnasaari
  • Linkkumylly café, approx. 6 km from Haukkavuori
  • Orilampi, approx. 14 km from Linkkumylly
  • Hillosensalmi station café, approx. 2 km from Orilampi
  • Kuutinlahti, approx. 8 km from Hillosensalmi

Services and sights

In Miekankoski you will find the Miekankoski Museum of Log Floating, an ironsmith's workshop, a memorial to the Treaty of Turku, and a café that is famous for its delicious Karelian pies. You can also purchase fishing permits in Miekankoski. If you want to avoid the open waters of Pyhävesi at the start of the route, you can also get to Miekankoski by road and start from there. Miekankoski ("Sword Rapids") was originally Miekansalmi, referring to the narrow strait that existed before the late-1800s when the Voikoski rapids were dredged. The rapids are very light, and it is also possible to bypass them over land.

Along the route (between Linnasaari and Haukkavuori) you will also find the Virransalmi museum bridge that was built by hand in 1936.

Approximately halfway along the route is Linkkumylly, a popular cultural centre for music and art events. It also has a charming book café.

Starting point 

Kurkiniemi summer restaurant
Asematie 11
52700 Mäntyharju

Haukkavuori-1 melontakuva Voikosken-ylitys-1

 

 

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Info

kesto

Time required
2-3 days

pituus

Length
50 km

vaativuus

Level of difficulty 
Easy-medium: There are some stretches of open water, and one section of rapids requires carrying canoes and kayaks over land.

soveltuvuus

Suitability
Physically fit outdoor enthusiasts

opasteet

Signposting
Blue-white and orange markers at landing areas

Features

infotaulu

Info board

laavu

Lean-to

luonnonnahtavyys

Rock paintings 

nakoala

Haukkavuori scenic viewpoint

nahtavyysmuseo

Treaty of Turku Memorial

vesipiste

Linkkumylly summer cafe

Accommodation

Tips

  • The starting point is 400 metres from the train station
  • You can combine paddling with hiking in the national park, at Linkkumylly or at Orilampi
  • You can rent a mountain bike in Mäntyharju (www.fillarivuokraus.fi)
  • Canoes and kayaks can also be rented
  • You can order a taxi to take you back to Mäntyharju
  • Repovesi map

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