Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Wandering the Verkaån valley

Last October, I had spent a very enjoyable time walking the Österlenleden, around the coast and into the forests on the east coast of Skåne. I had enjoyed the trip so much that I wanted to return, as well I was aware of the "yellow trail" which followed the southern side of the Verkaån to the sea. In October the trees were in the process of shedding their leaves and the with the sun higher in the sky it was a very enjoyable experience.

I and been waiting and hoping that the Christmas New Year period would provide a weather window to revisit the area and in particular enable me to find, and wander, the yellow trail. So while others are writing of their plans for the coming year and thinking about hiking, I chose to go hiking, which would enable me to plan for future tours in 2013. A weather window, of 1 day of fine weather appeared, so I packed, and later in the day I alighted from the bus as temperatures hovered around zero. Wandering into the forest I found a spot for the night and set up the Scarp. As the evening progressed the temperatures dropped below zero, but I was rewarded with wonderful views of a full moon rising. I was rewarded with the sounds of owls and birds singing in the cool morning sunshine. Surprisingly to me at least it was very late before I left camp the following morning, I had been so warm and comfortable on my Multimat and old Thermarest Prolite 3, and after a leisurely breakfast, I packed up and set off.

North along Brösarps backar

I was soon entering Verkaåns nauturereservet in brilliant if somewhat cold sunshine, perhaps wishing I and been a little earlier or ideally camped with the views such as this. Note that camping in Verkaåns nauturereservet is not allowed. There was still remnants of snow lying around.

And with the temperatures below zero there was many patches of ice and frozen flora.

  Frozen Leaf
I headed across the tops to Brösarps backer (an area used by the TV series Wallander) before passing Glimmeboda and locating an ideal lunch spot with panoramic views, albeit with a cool breeze.

  South across Brösarps backar
I spent some time admiring the views and photographing, recognising that once I left this area I would descend into the valley, and until I remerged the following day, views would be limited.

Ultimately Idescended into the valley to meet the Skåneleden which I had followed in October, except in this case up stream, not down stream. I passed by the area where I had seen Trolls, sadly it seems they had gone into hiding for winter. Passing Vantalängan, I continued along the trail, impressed by the ice caught up in the eddies near the bank.

  Ice in Verkaån
I wandered up to Hallamölla, but as I did I was now paying the price for a late start as it was getting dark (by 4 pm it was very gloomy) however, as I begun to look for a campsite a dog found me, he was all kitted out in reflective gear and an electronic device on it collar, his role as I soon found out was to find deer and chase them towards the hunters. The dog not did appear to be having much success but the nearby hunters had obviously found things to shoot at, as it grew dark the hunters went home and the dog with his jester like collar disappeared. I set up camp and at this point its was -3C and dropping. Later in the evening the temperature rose and the rain fell. The following morning it was gloomy and with water on top of frozen ground the beginning of the day provided its own challenges. The weather prediction had been correct, one day of sunshine was all I was going to get. Crossing the Verkaån I headed back towards the coast. Firstly I wandered thorough open beech forest interspersed with the occasional pine forest before entering a beautiful valley with a small stream and ice encrusted branches.

  Ice and water 2
I stopped to enjoy the area, in the mist, and met a Swedish couple we chatted and they commented that I needed to come back in spring, as it was even better then. Leaving this area I was soon descending through the streets of Brösarp and even though it was Saturday morning, it was very quiet, the mist and cool wind was keeping the inhabitants indoors. Before long I was out of the township and back following the river downstream, soon I began to recognise places on the other side of the river which I had seen in October. I found a place to sit and had lunch with the only sound I could here was the water as it flowed downstream.

  Above Verkaån
I climbed away from the river and followed the high ground as it approached the railway line and bridge which I had seen on my previous trip.

  Built by
Once I had crossed the railway line I gradually descended towards the beach passing by the weir on the Verkaån.

  Weir on the Verkaån
I watched the water as it flowed over the weir.

  Water arches
Soon it was time to find a campsite and I was again impressed with ease of the setup of the Scarp and the space inside, as well as the benefits of a liner in such damp environments. The following morning it was still misty and grey as I headed towards Kivik, in stark contrast to my last trip in the area, however, I was taken by the wooden legs on the sand.

  Wooden Legs Vitemölla
Arriving in Kivik, and then finding the newly relocated bus stop I waited for a bus which would take me back to Copenhagen.

Reflection, it had been a pleasant journey through a variety of landscapes and even in less than ideal weather I had been glad to get out and the long nights had enabled me to catch up on the Outdoors Station podcasts as well as begin to think about other walks I would like to take this year. 

Equipment Reflections.

Tarptent Scarp; I was very impressed by the Scarp and in the future it will be competing with the Moment for which shelter will accompany me, if you are in the market for a shelter that will withstand fairly harsh weather then take a look at it.

Stove and Pot; I used a Firemaple 117T stove partnered with a FireMaple XK 6 pot which incorporates a heat exchanger. I was quite pleased with the results given that temperatures were around zero C each night. Gas consumption was in the vicinity of 15 gms per litre of water boiled which is less than the 20 gms I usually use with such stoves. More testing is required before I can make any definitive statements, though I must admit to being a little unimpressed by the lid on the pot, you can not just take it off to have a peak inside. Also the combination weighs in at about 320 gms for pot and burner, which is heavier than other combinations but about the same weight as a Jetboil Sol Al.

Rab Xenon, wore it most of the time and was warm and comfy.

Innov-8 288's (now 286) boots accompanied with DeFeet Blaze socks and this combination kept my feet warm and dry.

Finally, there is nothing like a Possum Fur merino I have a beanie, gloves and socks made out of this fabric and no matter whether they are damp or dry as soon as I put them on I quickly warm up.