Sunday, 24 October 2010

To the Top End along the Nordsøstien

I attended a family christening (Barnedåb) before commencing my travels to Jutland. Interestingly Danish Railways (DSB) were offering a special on upgrades to first class and I decided to try it. Apart from an endless supply of coffee, fruit, biscuits and water, the peace allowed me to read Erin and Higs book The long trek home a wonderful book about the environment, conservation and the will to survive, a book I very much recommend. I alighted from the train at Tornby at 5:30 in the evening and with a 3 km walk to the campsite I quickly set off to make the most of the remaining daylight. Passing through the outskirts of Tornby I noted that there were several people out for a walk in the pleasant evening light. No doubt some of them wondered why there was a backpacker heading out of town at this hour of the evening. I soon entered the forest which was a mixture of pine and beech and arrived at the shelter place where I intended to camp, finding a nice spot in the lee of the trees I quickly set up my Trailstar and settled down to cook dinner and enjoy the moonlit evening. Soon I was in bed eagerly anticipating the coming days walk which would take me to the top of Jutland.

There was some rain during the night and the morning brought with it grey skies and with the prediction of rain late in the day I soon set off towards the coast and the Hirtshals.

The trail firstly took me towards the coast before heading inland through the forests of Tornby Klitplantage before returning to the coast at Tornby Strand. Following the trail along the coast I soon arrived at Hirtshals Fyr (lighthouse) which provides wonderful views of Hirtshals as well as bunkers from the second world war.

Descending into Hirtshals the rain began to fall as I passed by the port with its collection of fishing vessels as well as ferries bound for Norway.

I was happy to leave Hirtshals and continue my trek north through Lilleheden Klitplantage with its autumn colours and still waters.

The trail paid a brief return visit to the coast at Uggerby Strand with its broad firm sand providing easy walking along with access for motor vehicles.

I returned inland to follow the forested paths past the Uggerby Tårn (tower) before arriving at the campsite adjacent to Uggerby Å. The campsite consisted of space for 2 small tents a bench and a small fireplace, it was sheltered from the wind and it was soon evident that the trailstar would accumulate condensation. No sooner was camp set up, the rain started which persisted all night so the following morning after the rain had ceased I was left to pack a very wet shelter. It appeared that the weather may improve and the first views of Tannisby strand were further evidence of a good day.

The early morning sunshine provided interesting tones on the sand dunes providing a wonderful contrast of colours, light and shadows.

I was soon on the beaches and there were many different patterns brought about by the water such patterns endured ensuring that the walk was always interesting as every step brought a new perspective on the landscape.

Passing by the popular tourist spot of Tversted Sø where the ducks were eager to be fed I headed into Tversted Klitplantage, the oldest plantation in Northern Jutland. As I approached Østerklit Stokmølle (windmill) I entered a camping area and much to my surprise there was a Sauna, this was the first time I had found a sauna in Denmark, it provided ideal shelter as the rain poured down for the next hour while I ate lunch.

As the rain eased I set off to the windmill and was pleased to find that not only was it open but there was an audio display in 3 languages.

For a while the trail continued through the forest before finally returning to the beach, which would be followed for the next 8 km or so. It was a pleasant walk, with little wind, firm sand and I was entertained by all the variety that can be found on a beach, such as rainbows.

Windblown sand dunes.

Sand, sea and clouds.

As I departed the beach the sun was beginning to set and with one last look along the beach I climbed back into the forest and found a quiet corner to set up the trailstar.

The next morning it was to be a different story, having been awoken about 2 am by strong winds requiring a "tighter pitch" on the trailstar and before settling back to sleep, when I finally arose it was a gloomy grey and windy morning. I reached the beach near Højen and began the long trek north along the beach, but today was to be much harder as there was a headwind gusting to 40 km/hr, this was the only time I used 2 trekking poles for the whole trip helping me to propel forward.

As the beach curved towards Grenen the wind became more of a cross wind and thus a little more bearable, and with Grenen coming into view my spirits lifted.

Soon I was at the top of Denmark accompanied by many others, some who came by tractor and some who had walked a kilometre from the carpark into the same wind that I had. Here I just stood and enjoyed the moment having finally achieved a goal that I had set when I first moved to Denmark, it was a rewarding moment.

So as some left by tractor, I joined the others in walking back to the carpark area then for another 5 km to the Skagen railway station and home from what had been a memorable and rewarding trip.