Friday, 26 October 2012

Österlenleden: Along the beach, Simrishamn to Vitemölla

Simrishamn Harbour
I alighted from the train at Simrishamn, in Skåne Sweden, my normal plan at this time of the year is to visit the west coast of Denmark, but with rain predicted in the west and sunshine predicted in the east the choice was easy, especially given that travel was also considerably cheaper. The weather was cool with a hint of blue sky. I set off through Simrishamn admiring the fishing boats and the buildings adjacent to the waterfront. Soon I was out of Simrishamn and following the bike/walking path adjacent to the coast line far off in the distance was the goal for the day, Stenshuvud-National-Park. For now though I was happy wandering along the coastline, appreciating the views across the calm sea, listening to the birds and enjoying the sunshine.

South from Vårhallarna
I chose to stop at the rocky outcrop at Vårhallarna and admire the sea and the rocks it was very relaxing.

Cliffs at Vårhallarna
I could have just sat and watched the waves, listened to the sea and enjoyed the ever-changing seascape. Eventually I set off again, admiring the old winch as I wandered along the beach, then on to a foot track adjacent to the beach. I met a few day walkers along the way and passed through an interesting stone garden, across a quietly flowing stream. I admired the fishing boats in the harbour at Baskemölla as headed towards Vik.

North to Stenshuvuds
With Stenshuvuds clearly evident on the horizon, I was intrigued by what looked like a dead tree but as I got closer I realised it was a sculpture of sorts.
 Interesting wood sculpture
Passing the sculpture I was soon in the streets of Vik and once again I was presented with an unusual sight, a very well preserved petrol bowser.

Gulf Vik
As I climbed out of Vik, I took a moment to admire the small harbour and reflect upon what had been a very enjoyable walk adjacent to the beach.

Climbing out of Vik
But for now I was to head inland following minor roads, passing around and through apple orchards, some of which still contained apples, yes they were ripe and delicious, eventually I returned to the beach at Rörums Strand. Once on the beach I realised that the tide was in and wet feet were a distinct possibility, but with some agile footwork and adept rock hopping I managed to avoid wet feet.

Rörums Strand
Approaching the point the trail climbs up to the Naturum, before taking you over the north and south peaks of Stenshuvuds, the views to the south are extensive, but today it was hazy and with a very cool wind blowing I spent very little time on top before heading down towards Kivik. So I leave you with a photo from the archives.
 View from Stenshuvuds
By now it was late in the day so as I approached Kivik, I found somewhere to camp and settled in for the night, listening to the waves rolling onto the shore, it was relaxing. The following morning I was up early and begun the road walk into Kivik. But there was a surprise in store (one should never read guidebooks). I was happily following the bitumen, when there in front of me appeared this large stone mound.

Kings grave
I later discovered that the mound is approximately 75 metres in diameter and is known as the Kings Grave now it is questionable that there is a King (or chief) buried there but the enormity of the mound keeps me wondering why was such a large mound built.

One of the plaques indicated that 6 teenagers had been buried there over a period of 300 years, why? I left with many unanswered questions, maybe one day I will know more.

Apple Sculpture Kivik
Kivik is the centre of the apple growing region and is famous for its apples, cider, and every year there is a festival, I just missed the festival but the remnants of the festival including this sculpture were very obvious. Heading out of Kivik, the trail followed the road to Vitemölla, the road was quiet and was flanked by the coast line one side and a raised sand ridge on the other. With the sun shining and very little traffic early in the morning it was a pleasant walk, as I entered Vitemölla I was taken by the sign. The sign confirms to me at least,as an english speaker some signs can be easily misunderstood.

Ban golf
For those wondering, the sign indicates a mini golf course. Vitemölla is a sleepy village hamlet and was a pleasure to walk through, my feeling is that in summer it is a lot busier. After passing through Vitemölla I entered the Vitemölla Strandbackar Nature Reserve, which is part of the EU's Natura 2000 network Vitemölla nature reserve is a magic place, with beautiful sandy beaches, large flat areas and tree covered hills as a backdrop. As I walked along the cliff top adjacent to the beach.

I admired the surroundings enjoying every step I took. before descending to Klammersbäok after crossing the stream it seemed that morning tea was appropriate, and finding an ideal location I settled down to watch the waves roll onto the shore.

Single tree
Whilst sitting I could here the occasion "thump" from further up the coast as the Swedish Military practise their shooting skills at Ravlunda firing range. I continued northwards along the coast continually admiring the view out to sea, and as I crossed the final stream before the trail turned inland, I decided to stop for lunch and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and the views. It was very relaxing.

More will follow in Part 2.