Organisation Number: 556991-5381
Sustainable Nature Travel
Eco-friendly practices and protecting our precious nature have always been at the core of our philosophy. We feel it is our duty to go above and beyond, ensuring that our operation and our guests have a positive impact on the area. An important goal for us is also to inspire our guests to spend more time outdoors and take action to save wildlife and the environment.
We support our local community in any way we can. We have a great collaboration with landowners, small businesses and other locals, and use a wide range of local services and products, both for our own operation and through recommendations to our guests.
- We have been a member of the Swedish Ecotourism Association since 2006
- We collaborate with environmental protection agencies responsible for our area, especially focusing on sustainable tourism
- We endorse a total fire ban with fires only permitted at permanent sites
- We fully support conservational measures to protect our precious ecosystem
- We use eco-friendly practices for our operation
- We boost and support our local economy as much as we possibly can
- We are committed to ensuring our guests respect our environment to the highest degree
- We are dedicated to inspiring our guests to take action in regards to biodiversity
The archipelagoes on the east coast of Sweden are a sensitive ecosystem. The brackish environment of the Baltic sea is more susceptible to change than saltwater seas, with fewer species adapted to the very unique conditions for life.
The Baltic is presently suffering from nutrient over-enrichment generated from fertilisers and other pollutants, which especially effects marine species. It’s an ongoing battle, including for example measures to reduce impact from agriculture, and purifying coastal waters through mussel cultivation.
Saint Anna & Gryt are home to an incredibly interesting ecosystem with a variety of habitats. Species of freshwater and saltwater fish coexist, and just like in other parts of the Baltic most of them are on a decline. A successful mussel farm, acting as a water filter, has been established not far from our launch.
Many coastal birds breed here, 35 species, most of them on the outer islands close to the open sea. Large areas are protected as bird sanctuaries during breeding season. Species that almost became extinct in the recent past, for example White-tailed eagles, have recovered thanks to conservational efforts. These days it’s almost a given to see these elegant aviators soaring high up in the sky. Grey seals, also threatened to the brink of extinction at one point, have recovered and are steadily increasing. There is a protected seal sanctuary far out to sea, and seal sightings all over the area are becoming more frequent each year.
The islands of Saint Anna & Gryt vary in size, geological history, exposure to the elements and human activity, past and present. Primeval pine forests, sea meadows with a flora of salt-resistant plants, barren rocky outcrops, deciduous forests, long-since abandoned settlements where cultured vegetation now grow wild and active pastures. These are just a few of the many habitats you can find here.
Two of the areas our kayakers frequent are Marine Protected Areas in accordance with the Helsingfors Convention (HELCOM). A collaborative plan has been developed to ensure protection of the ecological processes of the coast, archipelago and sea of Saint Anna. We participate in meetings with representatives from HELCOM, the County Administrative Board, coast guard, landowners and other businesses with special focus on sustainable tourism.
We recycle all of our waste. We separate all plastic, paper, metal and batteries and bring to communal recycling stations. We use zero chemical products when it comes to cleaning and maintaining equipment. We buy electricity from wind and solar only.
We work actively to reduce driving distances through consolidation of pickups and drop-offs. We encourage arriving by train or car instead of air travel.
We choose high quality Swedish brands with an ethos similar to ours, for example Hilleberg tents, Haglöfs sleeping bags, Trangia cookers and Houdini staff clothing.
Outside the summer season, Saint Anna is a quiet community with around 800 permanent residents who live year-round on the islands or by the coast.
We give our guests detailed information about the nature, history and culture of the area, especially as many of our trips are self-guided. We make sure that even without a guide, our guests will treat the environment and locals with the utmost respect.
We focus especially on instilling a sense of thankfulness for the exceptional privilege to roam free around these islands. We emphasise that all the islands are either privately owned or protected nature reserves, and being a guest here means extreme respectfulness towards land, animals and humans. We advice of great ways to give back by supporting local businesses.
Tourism is crucial to the local economy, and all services and establishments are small family-owned businesses. Our mission is to contribute to our rural economy as much as we possibly can. We provide a comprehensive guidebook that includes useful details about locations, opening hours and services offered, allowing our guests to make a substantial contribution to a number of local companies. We also strongly encourage visits and donations to the two projects in the area for historical preservation, the Archipelago Museum at Tyrislöt and the Harstena Museum. For our culinary adventure, we use almost exclusively locally sourced ingredients, for example lamb from one of the islands, fish from the local fisherman, game from a hunter nearby, as well as vegetables and eggs from a farm on the mainland.
We who founded Do the North are Thomas and Helena. Many years ago we had an idea to try to capture the amazing freedom of wild camping & kayaking in Sweden, and do it for a living. Since 2004, we’ve been sending eager adventurers into a gorgeous area of Sweden where few foreigners ever go.
The holiday that became the roots of it all.
Many many moons ago a crew of our Aussie and Kiwi mates in London packed their stuff to go see us in Sweden. We were going kayaking and none of them knew anything about Sweden and the beautiful nature here. We spent a week paddling, with every camp spot greater than the one before, every day full of little adventures and games that you only come up with in such a peaceful and wild setting. And of course lots of nice food, lots of beer and lots of storytelling, swimming and relaxing. It turned out to be the best holiday any of the ten of us ever had!
The favourite holiday of travellers who'd been to all corners of the world.
A couple of years passed, life settled down a bit and it dawned on us. We had all been fortunate enough to visit many places with spectacular scenery, awe-inspiring vistas, breathtaking landscapes…all of it. So why was a seemingly simple experience in a location that doesn’t attract hordes of tourists the best one? The special ingredient wasn’t just stunning nature, it was freedom!
The freedom to paddle wherever you like, to camp wherever you like. The freedom to enjoy time with your mates with no distractions. The freedom to feel like actual explorers, figuring it all out together.
That’s what we’ll do! We’ll organise holidays, much like our own, to all the non-Swedes out there who haven’t experienced the amazing freedom of kayaking and camping in the untouched and beautiful nature of Saint Anna.
We were young at the time, adventurers who wouldn’t dream of purchasing a space on a guided tour. We wanted to do it on our own! And there you have it, we started offering self-guided adventures where we sorted out every single practical aspect, but the holiday is yours…all yours!
Back then nature tourism in Sweden was in its infancy. Sure, many Swedes had long known that spending time outdoors is the best holiday there is. We stay put in the summer – kayaking, hiking, camping, sailing. It’s in the autumn and early spring you’d see us chasing the sun in other parts of the world.
But as far as making it easy and practical for peeps from abroad to do the same, we were one the first. Admittedly, when we started out our trips didn’t uphold the quality they do now. But our guests loved it all the same. They loved the freedom and the beauty, they just had to be a lil more hardcore without the comforts of professional quality gear. And a lil less informed with a shakier briefing and the first edition of the guidebook.
And we loved it too! Getting to make people happy for a living, in a sustainable way that didn’t harm our surroundings. It was the dream!
Aiming to be the best
As the years passed we wanted to make each part of the experience the very best it could be. It’s up to you how much fun you have, but it’s up to us to deliver the best tools possible to make that happen.
In our extensive search for the highest quality gear it pleased us to learn that most if it we could find right here in Sweden. To be honest, these days our equipment is kind of a treat to use, as it’s hard to justify procuring gear of that caliber for yourself.
In addition to equipment, information is everything when you explore an unknown area. Our comprehensive guidebook is now on its 5th edition, and includes a wealth of useful and interesting info. Points of interest, history, geology, flora, fauna, fishing knots, establishments you can visit, you name it!
We were a sustainable business all along, but we have really focused our efforts to protect our precious environment, boost our local economy, and inspire our guests to spend more time in the wild and take conservational actions.
Guided tours you can't find anywhere else
After spending so many years of making our self-guided trips the best they could be, we were really inspired to take on new challenges with guided tours. But we didn’t simply want to make our self-guided trips into guided ones. It had to be innovative, unique guided experiences!
In 2018 we launched our culinary adventures – the only tour of its kind with foraging by kayak and cooking over-the-top Swedish cuisine on an open fire. We also started running guided kayaking expeditions specifically for Solo Travellers. In 2019 we’re very excited to team up with Wild Sweden for an early summer Wildlife Safari. It will be a fantastic paddling excursion in the outer archipelago, spotting an abundance of coastal birds and grey seals. We’re also organising our very own music festival, In the Sticks, only reachable by kayak. It will be the party of a lifetime! On the horizon for upcoming seasons we also have a Photo Workshop with one of Sweden’s best nature photographers and Nordic skating tours in the wintertime.