Töppönen boulder field

Eevinpisto Halsua


The Töppösen luolikko boulder field is an ancient shore comprising 7.5 square kilometres in Halsua. In addition to groves and bogs, the field encompasses vast areas of boulders. About 7000–8000 years ago, after the continental glacier had melted, enormous waves washed away the finest soil and left only the rocks that had been torn and rounded by storms. “One can only imagine how high these waves were if they could move boulders that sometimes weighed several tonnes,” as Hans-Peter Schulz (2004, 15) has noted. As a result of land uplift, the seashore gradually shifted westward and the large boulder field remained on dry land. This gave birth to an unusual mosaic landscape, which can also be called “a rocky sea”. The area has been preserved mainly in a natural state.


There is no scientific explanation for the place name Töppönen, but we can rely on old legends saying that a giant’s footprints (töppönen = e.g. felt boot) have been found on the rocks. A slightly more ordinary explanation is that a squirrel hunter’s footwear would have been stuck between the rocks. It has also been suggested that the name Töppönen comes from the old Swedish word döppa, which at least in Västerbotten in the Swedish Lapland has meant “someone hiding underground” and “boulder-field elf”.




The boulder field and tar manufacturing are linked to a sad story about Loulu Juho, who in December 1873 was making pitchy wood near the boulder field. According to folk memory, one late evening Juho got lost when trying to return to the tar-burners’ cabin, where he was supposed to lodge during his working spell.


Children in the yard of a nearby house thought they heard someone cry for help in the storm, but this did not lead to actions by adults – who thought it was an owl. When wandering around in the winter storm, cold and exhausted Juho arrived at a drying frame and crawled to it with his last strength. Markku Jyrkkä (2010, 68) has created a story that could very well be true: “Juho is dreaming: he is a little boy, it is Christmas. Clean straw has been spread on the floor of the farmhouse kitchen. Candles are burning on the table. Juho’s grandparents are also in the room, just like his sister who passed away in the famine years. It is warm in the room, everyone is smiling. Juho is happy.”


A few weeks later, a man riding his horse in the forest found Juho’s frozen body at the drying frame near the boulder field and carried him carefully to the sleigh.


At the southern edge of the Töppönen boulder field, you can still find a wooden cross as a memorial of the sad event, with the text “LOULU JUHO” and “K. 1873”. Juho’s origin and final burial place are not known, but legends are alive. Near the boulder field, there is also an old tar-burning pit with an information board.




Töppösen luolikko information board


Töppönen boulder field


Footbridge on the boulder field


Loulu Juho’s wooden cross


Coordinates for Loulu Juho’s wooden cross


The location of the wooden cross on the map




Töppönen boulder field