Carl Linnaeus and the falcon
In and around Gränslandet are several places with names such as Falkhöjden or Falkfangarhøgda. They probably originate from the time when falcon catchers set up traps by tall mountains.
The falcons were sold to Germany, Holland and various Arab countries where hunting with trained falcons was a popular sport among princes and gentlemen. The Swedish court also enjoyed hunting with falcons up until the mid-18th century but the sport was never as widespread as further south in Europe.
Linnaeus met the falcon catchers
When Carl Linnaeus walked from Grövelsjön to Røros in 1734, he passed two falcon catchers’ camps. He describes how the falcon catchers used a pigeon as bait and a great grey shrike as scout. When the shrike saw a falcon it gave a shrill whistle and the falcon catcher hid in his hut. The falcon swooped down on the pigeon and was caught in a net. It was then chained with a hood over its head, in wait for the long journey south.
Follow in Linnaeus’ footsteps
One of the falcon catchers’ camps that Linnaeus visited is located in Femundsmarka, just below Mount Store Svuku. You can still see remains of the camp by way of a cavity in the ground and a sign saying that you have come to the right place. The site is marked on the Norwegian mountain map. The other camp that Linnaeus visited was located between the mountains Salsfjället and Elgåhogna.
From the southern shore of Lake Grövelsjön you can follow in Linnaeus’ footsteps. The Linnaeus trail winds up the slope of Salsfjället and continues into Norway. Linnaeus and his company walked all the way to Røros.
“The views here between the mountains are quite beautiful and remarkable; for when you come in between two mountains, you see wide and even expanses with no forest or outcrops of stone, surrounded on all sides by the mountain tops reaching up to the sky, like walls or battlements …”, wrote Linnaeus about his walk from Grövelsjön up towards Mount Salsfjället.
Carl Linnaeus, The Dalarna Journey. Gullers publishing house. 2007.
Remains of falcon catchers’ camps...
... are also found on the bare mountain next to the trail to Jakobshöjden, east of Grövelsjön.
Did you know that...
... you could pay 50 000 Swedish crowns for a trained gyrfalcon in the 18th century, at today’s money value.