The Borgstrom Family contribution
to World Sportfishing Excellence
The Cottage or
Fiskestugan at Svangsta (Memories.....in
(at least in my mind) lead to Svangsta...forgot who sent me this...
can keep the drawings of the ABU Lodge..
The final lodge did not have the same interior and a basement was
also added including one guest room and a sauna. ( important for
President Kekkonen’s frequent visits)
As a matter of fact, the cottage was inaugurated by Prince
and President Kekkonen.
The President presented the lodge with the sauna oven!
If yIf you want a recent picture of the lodge, look at the Fiske for alla artikel by Patrik Tjornmark.
Fond regards! Len>
So many wonderful memories must have been created here, Royalty,
leaders of business, journalists and ordinary ABU fishers. t is
worthy of repeating some from Len's book "ABU and Garcia What
"The most interesting guest we had the pleasure of
having in Svangsta was Finland's President Urbo Kekkonen. The first
time came to Svangsta, he was the guest of our Finnish
representative. My parents had organized a black tie dinner that
evening, and everything was very formal. Kekkonem, however, never
really cared for all that fuss, so it often happened that he retired
early from the festivities. He and I usually ended up in the kitchen
of our home up the street, where we shared an improvised meal of
simple fried herring and aquavit.
In 1969, we built a fishing lodge right by the Morrum
river about a mile from the factory. When this lodge was inaugurated
President Kekkonen and Prince Bertil of Sweden were out first
guests. Their signatures, as well as those of King Karl Gustaf and
Queen Silvia, are still inscribed in the marble slabs in front of
the lodge's fireplace.
After dinner at my parent's home, we returned to have a
nightcap at the ABU lodge, where everyone was then staying. Kekkonen
had brought along a bottle of Finlandia vodka and poured out a
straight shot for everyone. They all drank - except for Prince
Bertil's personal aide, who cordially declined. When the bottle was
passed around the second time, the aide again declined, at which
point Kekkonen set down the bottle and told him quite severely,
'Well , then I think that you should go to bed.' The rest of us
remained another hour or so, during which time something funny
During the entire evening, Prince Bertil and President
Kekkonen addressed each other according to formal protocol. The
Prince was 'Your Royal Highness' and the President was either
' Mr. President ' or 'Your Excellency'. A this point, one of the
gentlemen suddenly used the informal 'du' with the other. (Tis in
Swedish is like calling each other by the first name). What ensued
was a serious discussion about which one of them was higher in rank,
and therefore who should have been the one to suggest that titles be
dismissed, so that they might address each other informally. It
sounded something like this.
Prince Bertil: 'I thought that you'd be the one to
suggest it. After all, you are head of state and that must have the
President Kekkonen: 'Yes, but you're royalty. That must
be higher in rank!'
Prince Bertil: 'I'm just a lousy prince, that's nothing
much! Well what's said is said, now it's done , so who the hell
The the two men hugged each other and became friends for
life. President Kekkonen was one of Europe's greatest statesmen. In
my opinion, he was in the same class as Churchill ad Adenauer. Even
though Finland lost the war against Russia, I believe that Kekkonen
played a vital role in saving his country from suffering the fate of
its Baltic neighbours.
Over the years we became very close friends, and we
fished together not only in Svangsta. Kekkonen once invited me to
hunt grouse on the island in the Turku archipelago, where he had his
summer cottage. At that time, King Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, the
grandfather of the present King, was on his deathbed.
King Carl Gustaf was a frequent guest of ours fishing
the Morrum River. Like Prince Bertil, the King was a great
fisherman. The year before the King was engaged to Silvia Sommerlath,
I spent an entire week with him and his closest friends in his
fishing cottage north of Tarnaby in Northern Sweden. That year
Sweden's domestic airline Linejeflyg was on strike. Consequently,
the entire party met at Stockholm's Central Station to take a
sleeper to the town of Ostersund, from where we would travel to the
cottage at Tarnaby the following day. As I had injured my foot just
prior to the trip, I stayed near the cottage where I fished in the
company of the King's brother-in-law, John Ambler. He was suffering
from back problems and therefore had some difficulty getting in and
out of the boat that took the rest of the fishing party upstream.
John and I, however, caught just as many fish where we were and what
is more, we could take a break whenever we felt like it, to return
to the cottage for a beer or cup of coffee.
Whenever six gentlemen spend a week together without
television or any other kind of entertainment, they get to know each
other very well. Inthe evenings, we played backgammon or cards, and
we told every joke or story we had ever heard.
The official opening of the fishing season on the
private waters of the Morrum River takes place each year on March
15. The year after our fishing week in Tarnaby, I invited King Carl
Gustaf and President Kekkonen to the opening day. Also, as we had
just sold the major share of ABU to Incentive, we invited both
Marcus Wallenberg and Sten Gustafsson and his wife. I had also
invited Tom Lenk and his wife Mary. I thought this might be a good
opportunity for Sten and Tom to talk informally about the future of
ABU and Garcia.
A few days before the visit, the King's aide telephoned
to ask whether it would be all right for the King to bring along a
friend! Naturally this was fine! On March 14, the King announced his
engagement to Silvia Sommerlath. The future Queen was thus the extra
guest that the King asked to bring along to Svangsta. The very first
time that the King and the future Queens showed themselves together
in public after their engagement was at Svangsta. Some 250
journalists from all over the world came to see the woman who was to
become the next Queen of Sweden. Just imagine the P.R. for Sweden,
ABU, the Morrum River and sport fishing in general. Just like so
many successful events, this was a product of luck and favourable
Since the King and Miss Sommerlath were only engaged,
the protocol would not allow them to sleep under the same roof. She
therefore stayed in our private guesthouse, while the King remained
at the ABU lodge. As it was, we had an indoor swimming pool in our
guesthouse, and on that very evening, the dehumidifying system broke
down. How embarrassing the next morning, as I wakened the future
Queen while water dripped from the bedroom walls. and her looked
like she had just stepped from the shower. Fortunately we could both
laugh at the situation. The dehumidifier never broke down again.
To allow our guests to fish in peace and quiet, at least
part of the opening day on March 15, we kept the press people and
any other curiosity seekers away until after lunch. Every guest
caught a fish, and I had the good fortune to help the future Queen
bring in her very first salmon. I was rewarded with her lovely smile
and a kiss on the cheek."
Len, what a life! The cottage hosted some wonderful
times and I guess these traditions will continue for some time to
come...Wonderful recollections! Thanks for sharing them with us..