Stenebyälven and the giant pots

Stenebyälven in Dalsland, Sweden is not the longest river in the world. It flows northwards. It starts at Taxviken in Ivägsjön and flows into Laxsjön ten kilometers to the north, a little outside of Billingsfors. Only a very few rivers in Sweden flow northward. Perhaps there are tales of the evil water spirit Näcken here, because it was just in the northward flowing rivers that Näcken’s power was the strongest according to old folk beliefs.

Mills and sawmills in Stenebyälven at Taxviken (copyright Monika Åhlund)

At the beginning of its course, Stenebyälven had a number of rapids and waterfalls. There are still the remains of the mills and sawmills there.

This is what it looks like now

Today there is a culvert down to the power plant.

Stenebyälven gives its power through this pipeline at Taxviken

Further downstream, Stenebyälven runs freely. We dared to go there. Yes, dared! Just by the church there’s a dramatic canyon. Steep mountain crevices and cliffs, where you walk in winding stairs down to the river that flows down there. On the way down we stopped and were amazed.

In the dark under ancient spruce trees we found the first giant pot.

In the mountainside, chiseled and ground by the violent melting water of the inland ice sheet ten thousand years ago, the giant pots still bear witness of nature’s power. Round, deep, just like pots. Some small ones. Just one meter in diameter. Some gigantic, seven meters across it’s been said.

One of the smaller giant pots
The largest cave is called Ingegärd’s chamber after a dramatic event with one of the daughters of the neighborhood

At the bottom of the canyon walking was comfortable. There is a hiking trail completely set in wood along the river. It was a nice walk, and we saw both the yellow river wagtail and  and a dipper. It was the day when the first catkins began to bloo.

Stenebyälven is not the longest river in the world, but it gave us an experience. The giant pots – they stuck in our memory.