We had been planning to go on a canoeing trip for a long time, some place safe for the whole family, but not too far from Helsinki. On the Siuntio river we found the place we had been looking for, a route from Siuntio kirkonkylä to the historic Sjundby. We ordered our kayaks and equipment over the phone and we were set.
Departing from the Old Rectory
We are approached Siuntio kirkonkylä and the Old Rectory on a summer Saturday, when the sun was already high in the sky. We had booked the double kayaks for our family of four a few days previously, with the company SE-Action, who promised to deliver them to the shore and help us to get under way. We called on the way to let them know we’d be about 10 minutes late. “That’s OK, we’ll see you soon,” replied SE-Action’s Susse Ekström happily.
The Old Rectory is privately owned, so we couldn’t leave our car in the rectory’s car park. We parked at the side of the road, actually closer to the jetty where we would be starting our journey. Our double kayaks were waiting on the car’s trailer, so together with Susse we carried them down to the jetty. We packed our lunch and spare clothes in the kayaks. After a little instruction on the route and safety we launched the first kayak into the water. The children sat in front and the adults in the back. Naturally, we all wore SE-Action’s life jackets and the kayaks openings were fitted with spray decks – good to have as the kayaks can sit low in the water.
The jetty from where we began is situated on a bend where the water flows relatively calmly. The most difficult place for canoeists to overcome, however, is immediately after the start: after about twenty meters we paddled through a narrow pass under a bridge. It required some care, but all went well!
The first part of the river, from the rectory to Lake Tjusträsk is fairly narrow, mostly bordered by lush and dense vegetation along the riverbanks. Here we saw many beautiful blue damselflies, which are apparently abundant along the river. Prior to the first lake, there are few dwellings along the river bank, so we were really out there with nature!
Lake Tjusträsk opened out like a smooth mirror before us. We had only been going about twenty minutes, but decided to stop to have a drink. A short distance from the river mouth was the beach belonging to Spa Hotel Rantasipi Siuntio, but we felt no compulsion to get back on land. After our break we gazed out across the lake towards the shore, where we caught a glimpse of a house. The river continued to the left of that house. So off we went again!
We crossed the lake without problems and on the other side found that the river was much wider, so that the water’s flow was hardly noticeable. At that point we crossed over the boundary to the Porkkala area. Soon the riverbanks of reeds turned into villa gardens. These family homes are located in the area around Siuntio station, so we no longer felt as though we were travelling through the wilderness. After the station area the river turned to the left and we paddled past a cliff with steps leading down to the water. This site is said to have been Aleksis Kivi’s swimming area. After a little while we saw columns sticking up out of the water. These were the supports for a railway bridge built by the Russians during the Porkkala lease period. The bridge is no more, only the foundations remain.
After a final meander, we reached our destination, Sjundby. The historic stone manor seems an interesting place, and we’ll certainly come back another time for the guided public tour. For now though, we reward ourselves for our successfully completed canoeing trip with the local Sjundby ice cream — absolutely fantastic.