Sunday, 21 June 2009

Båstad to Båstad: Around the Bjärehalvön Peninsula




Båstad to Knösen

A return to familiar ground perhaps epitomises the start of the walk. This was my third visit to Båstad Railway Station. The station sits next to the slopes of Hallandssås and provides views to Laholm Bay. As is normal these days it is an unmanned railway station with electronic machines that will take your money and give you a ticket. There is also a very nice glass studio at the station, and if it is open it is worth a visit.
So I set off down the hill to meet up with the trail which would take me first to the coast and then along the coast past Båstad Hamn with the yachts and boats moored. After passing the harbour the trail follows the coastline for another three kilometres before climbing past Norrvikens Trädgårda and Apelrydsskolan. The walk along the foreshore was enjoyable but extremely windy, the sun was shining but the wind was around 12 metres per second and given that I was walking into the wind it made life a little challenging. As I walked along the foreshore I was once again reminded of the history of the area as I passed the gun emplacements, a feature that I was to see on a regular basis over the coming days.
After leaving the coast to climb past the school the trail entered a wonderful forested area, which was sheltered from the wind and provided a pleasant change from the hard surfaced paths. Soon however, I came across a sign that warned me of wild animals wandering in the paddocks and if I was worried I should turn back and take another route. The wild animals were Highland Cattle and to be honest I would be more worried about wandering some city streets than about Highland Cattle.
This was not the only time I came across such a sign, which made me wonder if there was some sort of requirement in Sweden for such a warning. I did see the cattle wandering but they were of little concern. having wandered through the paddocks and climbed to a view point overlooking Laholm Bay I then headed inland following foot trails and minor roads. The trail wanders through undulating farmland and provides glimpses of the sea to the North, ultimately it climbs to Knösen which has a delightful campsite and shelter placed about 100 metres below the top, it was here that I choose to stay the night.
After setting up camp and having dinner I wandered up to the top of Knösen to take a look around, not realising that in the morning I would share the top with 30 or so students from a local school.



Knösen to Gyteskär

Today was intended to be a short day so I was in no rush to get moving, the sky was blue and whilst not warm the weather was pleasant with less wind than yesterday. Finally I decided to set off just as a large number of voices could be heard further down the hill. Yes a school group was heading up to Knösen a place where I had decided to spend some time enjoying the view. The students around the age of 10 arrived at the top just after me and while some admired the view and took photographs, others chatted away whilst 3 boys happily played football, I am not even sure they knew where they were. Meanwhile I took some photos and enjoyed the location while recognising that these students had been given a chance to spend the day experiencing the outdoors. After they left I took a few more photos and wandered down the hill towards the coast. As I walked I admired the coastline, the variations in the forest as well as listening to the many different bird calls a truly enjoyable experience. After passing more gun emplacements I arrived at Hovs Haller with its accompanying restaurant and wonderful views along the coast to the north and west. The students were also here sheltering from the wind or visiting the shop and playing football. I was quickly on my way to find a spot overlooking the coast for morning tea. Having spent a pleasant half hour out of the wind in sunshine looking out to see I decided it was time to head towards Torekov, my intended destination for the day. The trail descended from the cliff tops to the coast line and provided wonderful views particularly west and Southwest. It was easy walking and I soon passed the swimming and boat harbour near Ripagården. As it was approaching lunchtime I choose another gun emplacement as shelter from the wind and took the time to enjoy the surroundings. After lunch the trail passed a a number of Iron Age Burial mounds as it followed the coast line, the sun continued to shine but the wind ensured that even with my Montane Litespeeed windshirt on I was never warm. Ultimately I arrived at Torekov shelter, my intended home for the night. It looked a nice spot set in between the caravan park and the swimming pool, but as it was very early I decided that walking another 17 km to the next campsite was a good idea. So off of I set firstly into Torekov, with its harbour and numerous boats. From here you can take the ferry to Hallands Väderö an island and nature reserve approximately 3 km from the Torekov. After passing through the village of Torekov with its nautical attractions I headed south along the coast to my new planned campsite. As I was leaving the centre of Torekov I noticed the sign (and the rock) describing the fate of three Danish Royal Children Thora, Arilid and Gille the legend states that the “young maiden (after being drowned by her wicked stepmother) floated ashore beside this stone which is now called St Thoras stone”. There are also similar legends for Thora’s brothers Arild and Gille. So I headed south along the coast looking across the water to Kullen a planned future destination. The trail along the coast is an easy walk and whilst there is no obvious geographical features there are many indications of the use of the coast by man as well as birds. The evidence of mans inhabitation of this area is evident including Dagshög, a burial mound for the Viking King Dag and his warriors who were defeated by the men from Halland and Blekinge fighting on behalf on the King of Uppsala. However, according to the information given, the mound itself was probably constructed during the Bronze Age. Further south is the remains of a quarry originally established in the late 19 th century. Wandering along the coastal fringe with sheep and cattle grazing made for a pleasant afternoons walk. Ultimately I reached the small coastal village of Rammsjöstrand which was quiet at the moment but gave all indication of being a thriving holiday destination with its out door barbeque area and large ice cream kiosk. Leaving Rammsjöstrand the trail enters a more populated area with small seaside villages consisting of summer houses, before passing through Ängelsbäcksstrand. Beyond Ängelsbäcksstrand the trail heads to Gryteskär Shelter, home for the night which was also to be my last night on the Kust till Kustleden. Gryteskär Shelter has a wonderful camping area and overlooks the bird sanctuaries located on islets out to sea. Along with the sounds of waves hitting the shore there is the calls of many birds spending their evening on the rock formations out to sea. Having pitched my Laser Comp I quickly settled down to make a late dinner whilst looking out on the windswept sea. The sunset was glorious and the evening despite the wind was enjoyable but the on coming change was evident and it was not long that it started to rain and I retreated to my tent for the evening.






Gyteskär to Båstad

After some rain in the evening the wind had died down but the sky was grey. After packing up I headed back to Ängelsbäcksstrand to the section of the trail which would take me across the Peninsula to Båstad. Initially the trail followed a number of country lanes as it headed inland before reaching the Grevie Nature Reserve which it then passed through for approximately 2 kms. The nature reserve was fascinating, it incorporates the Grevie hills which are part of a system of eskers which were created in the final stages of the last ice age. According to Skåneleden website “the Eskers or ridges are like giant snakes which wind their way through the landscape". On the hills there are graves from the Bronze and Iron Ages, abandoned strips of cultivated land, sunken roads and painstakingly laid stone walls. “ Certainly the hills were interesting, with their short sharp climbs and the panoramas at the top, before a steep descent and climb to the next top. After the Grevie hills and a walk along route 105, the trail swings north towards Böskestorp and onward to Axelstorp. The trail follows the road, however, I found it a pleasant walk though farm land, past Böskestorp Stugby a place we can recommend, and then forest which which continued to the outskirts of Båstad.

Soon I was back on familiar ground passing Körrod shelter on my way to Båstad Railway station. Then it was home to Copenhagen with a feeling of accomplishment, having completed the Kust to Kustleden. On the train I spent some time reflecting on my walk along the trail and its many variations.’