Wednesday, 24 October 2007

ALONG THE NORDSØSTIEN (North Sea Trail Denmark): UDBYHØJ to GRENÅ





Photos in accompanying Web Gallery.

I had a few days to spare so thought I would take a trip along the North Sea Trail in Denmark, it seemed logical to start at Randers Fjord and in particular at Udbyhøj Ferry a short walk along the bitumen takes you through the summer house area to farmland following a track at the base of Udbyhøj Bjerge (mountains which in this case approximately 30 meters high). The trail follows the western edge of the fields and offers a contrast between forest, crops, and the sea it is a pleasant walk and allows the walker to become attuned to the delights of Djursland. After following farm trails and small bitumen roads I arrived at the ‘primitive campsite’ of Store Sjørup, the campsite consists of 3 shelters as well as a toilet with running water. A trail near the campsite takes you to Store Sjørup Strand (beach) which overlooks Hevring Flak.

The trail follows the road, which only had a small amount of traffic on it, to Hevring where it skirts the military training area before heading north towards Hevringholm Strand passing the impressive buildings of Hevringholm (which was originally established in 1457) along the way. Upon reaching Lystrup Strand the trail follows the road through the summer house area before turning onto the beach. The next 8 km of the trail follow the beach past Havhuse to Fjellerup. This section of beach consists of fine sand which when damp makes for easy walking. But with the wind coming off the water it was a cool trip walk with little shelter, however, it was a pleasure to be able to watch the birds, the waves and enjoy the surrounds of this popular tourist area in summer.

Once entering the holiday resort of Fjellerup Strand you will pass many summer houses before reaching the main access road from Kastbjergvej, after leaving Fjellerup Strand the path enters Nederskov, this forest links the townships of Fjellerup Strand and Bønnerup Strand and provides a pleasant contrast to the two summer house areas which abut the forest. The trail follows the coast line and provides many views of the sea and the fishing vessels along with the sand bar located approximately 200 meter offshore which stretches from St Sorrup in the west to Gjerrild Nordstrand in the east.

After following the coast with the Bønnerup Wind Energy Power Plant always in view you will enter the outskirts of the large township with its harbour and distinctive wind turbines sitting out to sea. The trail enters Emmedsbo Plantage, once you leave Bonnerup Strand, the Plantage links Bonnerup Strand to Gjerrild Nordstrand. Once again the trail follows the shore line closely and makes for a pleasant walk amongst the trees overlooking the shoreline. In contrast to the day before there was very little wind and the calm waters near Stavenshoved were in distinct contrast to the waves pounding the shores the day before. This pleasant stroll along the trail leads to Gjerrild Nordstrand a summer house area, this quiet little hamlet overlooks beautiful expanses of sandy beaches. It is at this point the Nordsøstien turns inland towards Gjerrild, before meeting up with the beach again at Gjerrild Bugt. However, an alternative unmarked route takes you around the Knudshoved and Gjerrild Klint. This is the route I took as the seas were calm, there is ample space between the waters edge and the cliffs. This was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the trip, as the tide was low the firm sand made for pleasant walking and when it was necessary to move a little away from the shoreline the the sand remained firm. As you approach Gjerrild Bugt the shoreline becomes covered in pebble gravel a significant feature for the area and one of the many informative North Sea Trail signs provides information on the industry that grew up around the pebble gravel. Late in the afternoon as the seas calmed down even more it was possible to watch a pod of dolphins cruising offshore as well as the occasional fish jumping in the clear waters of Gjerrild Bugt. I was fortunate to be able to watch the sunrise on the cliffs of Gjerrild Klint the following morning the varying colours displayed on the cliffs as the sun rose made for a very special start to my final day on the trail.

At the end of Gjerrild Klint the coastline meets up with the Trail coming from Gjerrild, sadly the trail leaves the beach and heads inland on several quiet bitumen roads allowing the walker to take time to reflect on the pastures and amount of cropping that is undertaken in all seasons. It is these areas that also provide the opportunity for the walker to sample some of the local produce which will be found for sale outside homes along the way. After leaving the Sangstrup the trail turns east before arriving just north of Store Sandvig. The trail continues south around Store Sandvig to Fornæs Fyr, the lighthouse overlooks Kattegat, ships use this lighthouse to turn in an easterly direction to pass through the narrow straits running between Helsingør (Denmark) and Helsingborg (Sweden) into Øresund before continuing to the Baltic. The trail then continues through a cattle paddock with an interesting warning on the gate as the trail passes around Ålebugt the views of Grenå Havn and the ferry terminal for the Varberg (Sweden) ferry which runs twice daily. Ultimately the trail turns inland to the Grenå Havn.