The whistling wind and the sway of the train indicated that the wind was a little stronger than I had expected, so it was with some intrepidation I stepped out onto the platform at Viborg. The sun was shining but the blustery wind ensured that jackets were zipped up tight and sunglasses on to protect my eyes from the windblown dust.
A friendly wave from a passing motorist soon encouraged me to continue on through the town to its outskirts. After a minor panic when my OR Pocket Cap decided to stray into an electric fenced paddock, after recovering the hat, I finally settled down to the walk. The beauty of leaving from Viborg was that within 30 minutes I was out of the town and heading south through farmland and then forests. Whilst the forests were not necessarily special they provided shelter from the wind and an uplifting atmosphere as I headed south. Ultimately I exited the forest adjacent Hald Sø, nearby there were young children, probably a kindergarten group, playing in the forest and even with the wind and darkening skies the forest was filled with the sounds of laughter and fun. I descended to Neils Brugge Hotel and I was quickly attracted to the view of the dam,
and the water outlet.
As I passed the hotel one of the staff was collecting the chairs from the windswept courtyard, yes it was getting windier and darker. I had quickly found that the trail designers in this part of the world had endeavoured to ensure that the trail never followed the bitumen for more than it had to, instead the foot trail followed the banks of Hald Sø.
Ultimately there was a climb, there is always a climb, this time it was to the top of Dollerup Bakker, now I enjoy climbing more than I enjoy descents and this was no different. But the tops of hills are prone to a little breeze and in this case a howling gale, I quickly recalled that Chris Townsend had commented on twitter a day before that there were 100 mph winds in the Cairngorms, hmmm… does the weather come from the west hmmm, …. probably.
Anyway steadying myself I took a couple of photos of Hald Sø. I had always envisioned sitting on the top of Dollerup Bakker in the sun and whiling away the hours, instead I beat a hasty retreat to the slightly more sheltered township of Dollerup.
The weather deteriorated and as I passed through Dollerup and headed into the open farmland the wind increased and the rain fell, it was not pleasant. However, using my ULA rain wrap combined with Montane Featherlite pants worked well, albeit for the puzzled looks from occupants of passing cars. The experience convinced me that such a clothing arrangement would work in the fells of lapland. For those wondering I was wearing an original Haglöfs Oz (I was not expecting rain) it held up well and what is more I could feel the wind through the fabric, I never over heated.
The good part about this trip is that I was never far from a forest, so I soon entered the sheltered Havredal Plantage. A sound of metal poles clanging together soon attracted my attention and I looked around to see a person collecting what appeared to be tent poles. Soon the gentleman caught up with me and I discovered that he was collecting the markers from an orienteering competition the previous day, after a short discussion he jogged off. Another jogger passed and looked at me quizzically, it was at this point I took the rain wrap off. Collecting water from the "lake" I then found a campsite. Having set up camp I spent some time admiring the surrounds.
I slept well and with time on my side I did not rush to get out of bed. However, all good things must come to an end so I set off along he trail southwards, admiring the mist covered hills, though the wind was still present.
As I headed south I was taken by thoughtfulness of the trail designers, yet again, who had provided excellent trail signage, including and indication of where to get a shopping trolley if your pack was too heavy.
It was obvious that it was cultivating, and planting season and there were many fields that had just been cultivated, the rich brown colours of the soil provided a wonderful contrast to the green and sometimes brown landscape.
I spent some time just sitting, listening to the birds and the nearby tractors as they worked the soil, it would have been so much different in the days of horses (or bullocks) dragging heavy ploughs through the soil.
All too soon it was time to go, but before long I found myself departing the pine forest and entering an area covered in heather. I appreciated the stark contrast of the gloomy forests to the bright but windswept open heather covered spaces. A nearby tower provided wonderful oversights of the area and if it was not for the wind I may have spent more time on top of the two admiring the views.
Forests, forests and more forests, but then I met a fellow Hærvejen, section hiker. I had stopped for a lunch and the gentleman with a small day pack stopped and asked me if was I walking the Hærvejen, I was. He then told me he was section hiking the Hærvejen, by driving his car to a spot walking for 2 or 3 hours, returning to his car often by the same route and then driving to another spot and repeating the process. He was a local (from Aarhus) and indicated that he had walked the length of the Danube, using a similar plan. I was impressed and it made me recognise that getting out there and walking is more important than gear, distance covered or time taken.
After many sections of forest I finally arrived at a windswept Bolling Sø, the sun was shining, but it was cold in the wind so there was no encouragement to "hang around"
Before long I was out of the wind and in the forests, passing under the freeway
and onto the old railway line, now cycle path. A campsite was located near on an old railway siding and I settled in for the night.
It was a cold night, and it had been a little colder than I expected.
Once out of bed I quickly packed and headed along the cycle path (Den Skæve Bane), the sun was beginning to rise and the frost on the ground was still very evident.
As I walked I admired the artefacts from days gone by
before heading under the railway line and back to the frost covered forests.
There are always surprises as you wander in this case it was discovering that Mark from BackpackingNorth had left his mark here.
I knew I was getting weary and I suddenly found the explanation, I was now about to enter Sherwood Forest and possibly meet the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Though I was hoping I would meet Robin and his merry men, I think there was 7 of them.
Returning to reality, the early morning light on the heather in Skærbak forest provided a welcome respite from the pine forests.
After passing the linking trail on the E1 to Grenaa, I entered the intriguingly named Vrads Sande. With the sun shining and the wind easing, I took some time in amongst the heath covered sand to enjoy the warmth and the views.
Leaving Vrad Sande the trail wandered through forests and farm land before delivering me to Nørre Snede the end of the walk and the link to my previous tour southwards. And thus the conclusion of my walk along the Hærvejen.
However, there is a funny tale to tell, as I entered Nørre Snede a large Mercedes wagon, with german number plates pulled up and asked me a question, I have no idea what the question was, my response was "I am an Australian in Denmark" they laughed and one said have a good trip as they drove off. Now I am not accustomed to seeing young guys in matching grey dinner suits complete with bow ties, I assume they were off to a wedding, I hope they found it.
This is not the first time I have been asked questions. Would you ask a backpacker a question about the local area?