This document describes in general the Iso-Tarjannevesi lake basin paddling possibilities both from the perspective of kayak and canoe touring. At the end there is a summary about the tour skating possibilites.
Iso-Tarjannevesi is the second largest lake basin in the Kokemäenjoki waters. Its surface area is about 210 km2. The lake starts from the neck of the Murolekoski rapid in Murole and continues curving around to the north to Herralankoski rapid in Virrat and east of Rouvesi to Vilppula rapid. The lake basin as a whole consists of several smaller connecting basins through narrow canals. The most noteworthy of these from south to north are: Palovesi, Jäminginselkä, Ruovesi, Mustaselkä, Tarjanne, Visuvesi and Vaskivesi. East from Mustaselkä towards Vilppula there is still Paloselkä. The lake basin is very maze like, there is a multitude of islands and the aforementioned smaller basins ar connected to eachother with narrow streches of water. Paddling considered this means, that even in strong winds it is usually easily possible to alter the tour route to go on more sheltered sides and even the most open streches open to the most high winds are only a kilometre, two kilometres at the most in lenght. In maximum the open areas with free blowing wind and waves are a short 10 km in lenght, but very narrow. In widht the more open areas are in maximum a few kilometres.
In the Suur-Tarjanne area the shore sights are in many places rugged. Many rocky shores, both on the sides of islands and the lake, and some of them have steep rock faces. Inbetween there are ofcourse more verdant and lushious streches. Next follows a short description about each of the aforementioned parts of the lake basin.
Palovesi, streching from Murolekoski rapid north to Kirnusalmi canal is the most maze like part of Suur-Tarjanne. There are plenty of islands and some of them are quite rocky. There are also a lot of summer houses, but you can find enough island without any houses to accomodate your camping needs.
From the south end Jäminkiselkä is an open water completely without any islands. A paddler on route will usually cross it from quite north. With strong south winds the crossing has about a kilometre in lenght challenging totally shelterless strech. From the south end the basin is more verdant from the north end more rugged. On the eastern shore near Miestamo canal you can also find sand beaches.
Rouvesi is most verdant of the basins. There are wide sand based shallows in the lake and many sand beaches. There are also a lot of summer houses, but you can find enough island without any houses to accomodate your camping needs.
Mustaselkä is totally open water. Only in the middle of the open water there is a rocky island called Teerisaari, that is really suitable for a paddler. From a paddlers perspective the best shores of the open water are filled with summer houses, so the importance of Teerisaari is emphasized. On the open water the wind and waves can freely develop for about 3-4 km distance pretty much indipendent of the wind direction. Considering the route choises of a canoe tour the situation is eased with Salonsaari island, which is the north shore of Mustaselkä. You can either paddle towards the north either from the west or east side of the island. Syvinkisalmi canal on the west side is stark and the eastern Salonsalmi very maze like, verdant and rocky.
From Mustaselkä towards Vilppula the route waters continue as a island dotted maze, where the sceneries change from verdant to rocky. The general characteristic is although verdant.
On the north side of Mustaselkä (Salonsaari) is the actual Tarjannevesi. By its shores it is very rugged. The hill like shores are at their starkest straight up rocks. There are plenty of nice rocky islands for a paddler, and luckily such that are without any summer houses. From Tarjannevesi, pointing towards the north there are many big bays: Kolkinlahti, Pohjaslahti, Monoslahti and Hauhuu. The vast bays give the feeling of an open water and with high northerly winds you should also take route options into consideration.
Visuvesi and before Virrat Vaskivesi are located nn the west side of Visuvesi canal/Pusunvuolle. These parts of Suur-Tarjanne are dotted with many islands and are maze like. There are plenty of rock islands. And also a multitude of summer houses. Luckily a paddler can find also islands without any cottages for a break site. On the west side shore there are also two lean-to shelters that belong to the Pirkan Taival hiking route.
The maze like basin of Iso-Tarjannevesi offers, when a paddler wants so, a possibility for a round tour, where the sceneries are different all along with the exception of a few narrow canals. Cirling around islands and mazes the outward and return journey stay with far enough distance from eachother. With normal tour speed (20-40 km/day) you can spend even an over week long time, because the direct ship route from Murolekoski-Vilppula-Virrat-Ruovesi-Murolekoski is about 200 km. Going round the maze like bays and islands a nice canoe tour can easily grow into 400 km in lenght.
The water route from Tampere to Virrat as been named the Poets Wat already in the dusk of water traffic tourism. Already in 1953 Suomi Filmi made a documentary movie about the route. The acknowledgement for the route comes primarily from the Iso-Tarjannevesi basin area. The route has been named after the national poet Runeberg. He lived and acted as a home tutor at Ritoniemi manor in Rouvesi for a short period in 1825. Dating from these times comes the backgrounds of the stories of Vänrikki Stool that are connected to the Finnish War veterans Polviander and Pelander. The masters of the Finnish golden age of painting art Akseli Gallen-Kalela, Hugo Simberg and Ellen Thesleff found the sceneries of Rouvesi comfortable. The handsome wilderness ateljé of Gallen-Kalela built in the end of the 18th century is located on the east shore of Pöytäselkä in Rouvesi and can be nicely seen for a paddler passing by. Also the pioneer of Finnish tourism and versatile pre-seer August Ramsay noticed the enchantment of these sceneries especially from the view point of paddling. In his book Kesämatkoilla Kanootissa (Summer Tours in a Canoe) one of the canoe tours goes through from Ähtäri to Pori. The interest in the Ruovesi area and the sceneries of Iso-Tarjannevesi states strongly for the view, that even today there is much to see for a paddler, both nature and culture. Getting to know the culture is easiest and most concisely achieved by visiting village center Rouvesi in the midst of your paddling tour. You can walk by the harbour or from Rouveden Kanoottipurjehtijat (a local canoe club) base towards the old village center. On the journey you will pass a 200 year old wooden church and a museum church boat called Eeva by the church. When coming to the village main street, you will cross Ritoniemi manor houses. When you visit the diverse and wide village museum located just in the center, inspect the old architecture of the town hall and take a glimpse into the old stone mill of Ritoniemi, you can emphatize in the view of culture, why the Poets Way was branded as a water tourism route already after the II World War. As a curiosity into Finnish paddling history you can visit the, from one generation to the next passed on Vinha book store. The owner of the store, Tuomas Vinha was a center figure, when the canoe club Ruoveden Kanoottipurjehtijat, the oldest Finnish speaking canoe club in Finland was founded in 1930. Vinha wa the chairman of the club for over 50 years!
The best tour skating area in Iso-Tarjannevesi is the main Tarjanne from Tuuhoskylä to Visuvesi. There are many nice islands on the lake and majestical, rugged sceneries. You plan the route thus, that the against wind streches are minimized. Only until near Kilvensalmi in Visuvesi you have to take the canal currents into close notice. Also on the south side of the area, near the highway, Syvinkisalmi canal and with less stress Salonsalmi also have currents. Elsewhere is this water area there are many current areas that weaken the ice. There has been plowed a skating track on the village shore of Ruovesi on many years.
Hiking Travel serves customers in this area with renting canoes/kayaks in the open water season from our base in Tampere and organizing shuttles from Tampere to the destination area. It is cheapest for the customer, if the tour starts and ends at the south end on Iso-Tarjannevesi at Murole canal. During the time of ice cover on the lake, you can get tour skating equipment from our rental shop. With the wishes of the customer in mind, our regular service includes also advice and tips on planning your tour.
-Track master Pekka Tyllilä