A view of the island Pite Rönnskär from the ocean

A perfect morning

Island life in the Bothnian archipelago has not always been easily accessible to visitors without their own boat or a house on one of the outer islets. However, the island world under the midnight sun is now, slowly but surely, becoming accessible to everyone.

The sun shines in through the window on the upper floor of the old lighthouse keeper’s residence on the island of Pite-Rönnskär. Outside, the landscape is covered in a beautiful morning mist. I should probably have pulled down the blind to get the best possible sleep, but that has never been the way I have handled summer. I love the fact that I do not sleep well during summer, that I live my life in harmony with the sun. I tiptoe down the stairs and slip out through the door. Then I put my running shoes on. It’s completely calm. Stillness. In the mist, I feel like I have not just an island to myself, but a whole world.


A trail leads across the island, to the west. It is almost two kilometres long. I run it back and forth a few times. In the mist I see cobwebs, damp and clearly visible. After a while I no longer bother whisking it away with my hands. There is something almost refreshing about running into the cold, wet cobwebs. It’s as if it makes your steps longer. But I hold back. Partly because I don’t have very much to give, partly because it feels almost brash to storm across the island on such an almost sacred, quiet morning. Out by the coastal inlet, I can hear the seagulls calling.


We came here yesterday. We took the tour boat from Kinnbäck with skipper Mats Johansson. He and his partner Jeanette Larsson have been running the café on Pite-Rönnskär for a couple of years now. According to Mats, business is good. He has seen a 20% increase in the number of passengers this year. It’s not surprising. It’s a pleasant tour, 15 minutes to the outermost islet. And with Mats and Jeanette running such a good café and hostel on Pite-Rönnskär, naturally guests will want to visit.

Pite-Rönnskär, a kind of slumbering gem in the southern part of the Bothnian archipelago, has been opened up to a wider audience. Four rooms, with a simple, rustic feel have already been prepared on the ground floor. A couple of newer, slightly larger rooms will be finished this autumn. 14-15 people will be able to sleep there if they share the rooms and 7-8 people can easily stay in separate rooms if that is preferred. “We are thinking about extending our season” explains Mats as we head out with the boat. “You know, it’s really beautiful out here in March, in early spring, with the pack ice.”


It is easy to make yourself comfortable in the house beneath the second highest lighthouse in Sweden. One afternoon it turns out that one of the island’s resident summer guests is going up into the lighthouse to show friends and family the view. We go along with them. The view is, of course, magnificent. The red Heidenstam lighthouse provides a 37-metre-high observation post in the middle of the island. The Heidenstam lighthouse is a construction designed by Gustav von Heidenstam, for placement on the most inaccessible islands. Incidentally, he was the father of poet Verner von Heidenstam, who wrote the famous passage “It is fairer to listen to the string that broke than to never strain a bow”.


After my run and a dip in the sea, just because it feels so good, I eat breakfast outside in the sunshine. Mats and Jeanette are hard at work. Mats will be running boat tours of the archipelago, many people have booked a tour in the fantastic weather. I check the forecast and it looks like the next days out here are going to be great too. I feel a pang of melancholy. It feels too soon to leave. I have taken on the island pace, I’m on “island time”.

Unique accommodation in Skellefteå