Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Kust to Kustleden: Ängleholm to Båstad crossing Bjärehalvöns Peninsula
An uneventful train trip led to to the start of the walk and one end of the Kyst til Kystleden at Ängleholm. Adjacent to the railway station is the Swedish railway museum, however, my interest was in setting off on a warm Sunday morning towards the coast.
The trail quickly took me into Kronoskogen, the forest has many trails criss crossing it and I encountered many joggers, dog walkers and couples happily enjoying the sunny weather. I guess I looked a bit unusual wearing my Tilley Hat and carrying a rucksack. The early part of this trip was certainly one of meeting many Sunday picnickers, cyclers, dog walkers, families and couples in this beautiful area. I continued on through the forest ultimately encountering a large caravan park at Råbocka requiring me to circumnavigate the park before meeting the bitumen which was to be one of my constant companions for the trip. Leaving the surrounds of the caravan park the trail entered a nice summer house area before finally meeting the beach adjacent to Klitterhus
Here the trail followed a cycle path through the sand dunes with no views of the water until crossing a large footbridge across the Rönne å before passing a large boat sales company as well as a restaurant where there were many persons happily ensconced at the tables eating and drinking, a tempting lunch place, but …..Onwards through the boat yards of Småbåtshamn to meet up with the railway line as it heads east and north to Göteborg. For now the path followed the coastline with views out to Skälderviken, along this section of path you also pass the remains of several gun emplacements a remnant of days gone by. The continues through several small fishing villages including the picturesque Skepparkroken.
Vejbystand to Hålehall
Finally after a short lunch break near Vejbystrand, I turned inland as the temperatures rose into the low 20’s and with the sunny reflecting off the bitumen it made for a warm afternoons walk, all the while longing for the coolness of the forest on Hallandsås. The next 8 km took me along quiet country roads to the foothills of Hallandsås. There was very little traffic on the roads (apart from crossing Route 105) which was a pleasure and the views across the farmland towards the hills kept my mind focussed on the destination (not always a good thing). As I closed in on the hills I began to pass small forest allotments consisting of Birch and it was in one of these that I took a breather and wondered why in the midst of farm land was there this small allotment, I guess there is reason but I doubt if I will ever know. Soon afterwards I left the bitumen to enter a woodland (Flickebäck) which at times is grazed by cattle, I was surprised to find that the trail had been coated with woodchips to cover the mud. My feet were eternally grateful for this soft surface after many miles of bitumen. Passing through the reserve the trail then crossed Grievievägen. The hills were now very close but I also begun to realise that in order to find the cooler breeze and shade I would have to do a bit of climbing. Passing a large farm butik the trail then turns towards the hills and begins the climb to the ridge and Hålehall, home for the night. Once on the top of the ridge the shade of the large birch tress coupled with the mountain breezes made for a relaxing camp site.
Soon I was eating dinner and admiring the view from Hålehall towards Förslöv and Skälderviken. I was soon ready for bed and quickly fell asleep to sounds of automatic rifle fire. Yes I knew there was a military area nearby, but why did they choose a pleasant Sunday evening and night to conduct manoeuvres?
After awakening to the sounds of another ambush in the forest then listening to many colourful tales from one of the locals who had walked up the hill in the morning I set off towards Orlid and Bastad. Today was to be spent wandering the varying forests of Hallandsås plateau before descending to Båstad.
Leaving Hålehal the trail continued through beautiful stands of birch before entering one of the many pine forests in the area. Views were limited but the cool morning sunshine made for a pleasant walk after the warmth of the day before. As the morning progressed the trail gradually approaches the E6 motorway which was evident from the increasing hum of vehicles heading north and south. Not to be deterred I endeavoured to block these sounds out and appreciate the surrounds, the birds singing and the gentle breeze in the trees.
One of the features of the days walk was to pass a memorial where in 1757 Bengt Nilsson working for the Norwegian postal service and travelling on the Kings Road between Varberg and Helsingborg was robbed and killed. A information sign and engraved stone Postrånarstenen (the post robbers stone) are located here. The Kings Road in the 1700’s was the main thoroughfare between Copenhagen and Oslo and it was no place to be at night time, with many undesirables lurking in the forests, but on this bright and sunny morning there seemed little to fear.
Not long after passing the stone I came across a very comfortable but not ultra light seat, sadly it did not fit in my pack. In this section there is a mixture of forest and farmland as well as the border between Denmark and Sweden (1645 to 1658).
Soon I was on familiar ground having passed through here in February when there was snow on the ground and a very cold wind. However, now it was warm and the warm weather had brought out the locals including a smooth snake happily warming itself in the sun near Älemosse. This small snake seemed in no hurry to go anywhere. I did wonder though having now seen the two non venomous Swedish snakes was I likely to meet the third as I entered Älemossen? The contrast between winter in Älemossen and spring was evident with the grass now green, flowers out and generally a much more pleasant feel to it. It was also warming up again as I crossed the heath-land. Travelling over familiar ground I knew what to expect but there was always a surprise or two including the cherry tree blossom, the wonderful view down to Laholm Bay. There was also the sign indicating an old Bronze Age burial ground which I do not recall seeing in February. With the sun shining the warm descent into Båstad commenced and I was soon at the railway station. One last surprise remained, the train line passes through some wonderful stands of forest as well as many views out to sea providing a fitting conclusion to a warm and wonderful trip.
My original plan was to have started in Båstad and walk to Ängleholm, however I was glad I had changed my mind as I feel that second day with its forest walks and views was a more appropriate finish to the walk. I hope to return soon for the coastal walk around Bjärehalvön