Thursday, 31 December 2009

Coastal walking in winter: Ängelholm to Torekov

I alighted from the train at Ängelholm after a 2 hour trip from Copenhagen, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground and the prediction was for temperatures around -5 C with little wind and clearing skies, the next day was to be even colder. I was on familiar ground as I had walked much of this trip before but it seemed like an appropriate walk for a quick get away. I was soon in the forest walking on frozen ground with my pacer poles barely sinking into the earth, I was quickly reminded of the challenge of frozen puddles and the options for ice skating, fortunately I was able to stay standing. The forest walk passed uneventfully with the occasional dog walker looking at me and probably wondering why I was carrying a sleeping mat as no sane person would camp out in this weather. This was the first trip for a while where I had a sleeping mat (Thermarest Ridge Rest) strapped to the outside of my Gorilla pack and there were several times i was asked was I camping out in such cold weather, not a common occurrence I assume in these parts. Soon it was into the summer houses area with many vacant houses with more sliding along icy roads. This section is perhaps the most uninteresting with bitumen bike paths trapped between the railway line and the coastline and as the wind picked up and the sleet began to fall it was not much fun but I knew that soon I would be on the trails passing through the coastal forest.

The forested section though short provided a little shelter from the wind and sleet and allowed for a lunch stop combined with a mist shrouded view of Kullabergs Naturreservat

After lunch the sleet had stopped but the wind was still cool so walked the rest of the afternoon in my Haglöfs Oz Pullover, feeling comfortably warm, however, I did notice some minor condensation inside at the end of the day. I continued north westward along the coast through the large coastal village of Vejbystrand clearly a popular area in summer but deserted now. After which it was about 3 kilometres to camp in the vicinity of Gryteskär shelter, located adjacent to a number of small rocky island which form part of the Bjärekustens naturreservat and are a protected bird sanctuary. However, as soon as the Hilleberg Soulo was up, it began to snow lightly so dinner was prepared on the gas stove in the tent. After dinner it had stopped snowing and I spent the remainder of a very still evening listening to different bird songs.

The next morning was very cool, with a thin layer of ice on the tent and the ground crunching under the feet. The section from Gryteskär to Torekov is mostly off road and follows the cost line within Bjärekustens naturreservat, a narrow strip of land separating the sea from the farming and summerhouse areas. Along this part of the coast there were swans, ducks as well as other sea birds happily drifting with the currents and feeding.

As the sun rose above the horizon, the clouds could be seen clearing further to the south and east and eventually the sun arrived where I was, it did nothing to increase the temperature, the reverse really.

The further along the coast there is less houses and the coastline also becomes rockier, however the views in the clear cold air were wonderful and with no wind it was a pleasure to be out on such a day.

The remainder of the walk was across frozen ground interspersed by the occasional ice covered small lake or stream all ensuring that care was taken when walking whilst appreciating the views.

This is an area of great beauty and on my two visits one in summer and one in winter have ensured that I will return again as there is so much to see and so much space that it is possible to have your own little bit of the coastline.

Have a great new year everyone