Friday, 7 June 2013

Hjøllund to Aarhus; Bryrupbanenstien and the Silkeborg Aarhus trail.

With my goal to walk the missing sections of the E1 in Denmark, I set about planning the walk, having already walked the Hærvejen, I preferred to start in Vrads and then follow the marked trails east to Aarhus. However, even with the plentiful supply of public transport in Denmark, Vrads was well off the network. Further research led me to the bus from Vejle to Hjøllund, which then required a 5km walk along a quiet bitumen road to the outskirts of Vrads. However, the bonus of arriving in Hjøllund was the small supermarket, and the little park nearby. I sat in the shade eating ice cream and relaxed.

  Heath at Vrads Sande

After a pleasant walk along the road I joined the Hærvejen, and wandered thorough the undulating heath covered terrain, soon finding myself crossing the main road then following the forestry road towards Byrupbanenstien, a path that would take me to the outskirts of Silkeborg. I walked through the tree covered area in the late afternoon warmth, the birds were singing and all in all it was very pleasant. Soon I turned on to the Byrupbanenstien and being a former railway line, which has been described as the most beautiful in Denmark, is was easy walking. As I walked I was passed by a couple on roller blades, one of whom was pushing a pram and a couple of cyclists. A campsite was found and I settled in for the night.

 I was awoken during the night by two unusual events, one was the sound of 3 or 4 deer trotting away, they had obviously realised that my stealth coloured MLD Cricket was very close (or maybe it was my snoring). The second was equally fascinating, I heard something hit the sylnylon and assumed it was a pine cone or the like, but then it flew away. Clearly a bird had flown into the shelter, been slightly surprised and then flew off.

 I set off the next morning along the trail, enjoying the varying scenery from forest, to farmlands, small townships, including Them, and small streams.

  Bryrupbanenstien
I met more cyclists, as I walked as well as dog walkers. Near Silkeborg I left the Bryrupbanenstien and joined the Silkeborg to Aarhus trail. The trail descends to Borre Sø which is followed for a short time.

  Borre Sø
The weather was overcast but as I headed towards a large picnic area I could hear the sounds of children laughing as they ran, climbed, stood under the waterfall while their teachers looked on.

  Jetty on Borre Sø
But for now it was time to climb away from the lakes and appreciate the forests of which there is plenty in this area. The sign "Udsigten" encouraged me to take a short detour and locate a bench upon which to sit and relax.

  View
I began the descent but recognised that before long I would need to ascend the "Sky Mountain"(Himmelbjerget).

  To the Sky Mountain
Along the way I passed a trail with a Hans Christian Andersen sign, indicating he had walked this way to his bench. It seems to me that he was everywhere, as you forever see signs indicating that Hans Christian Andersen was here. Soon the ascent of Himmelbjerget (The Sky Mountain), had begun, at one time it was thought to be the highest in Denmark, but sadly a little further south there are two peak that a little over 20 metres higher. But I am told that Himmelbjerget is so much better. By now it was after midday and with very low water supplies I was hoping to find a stream during the arduous climb, sadly the forests were dry. But then I spied it, the tower on top of the mountain, I knew then that there would be plenty of water.

  Himmelbjerget Tower
After the final ascent I headed straight for the ice cream kiosk and did what all tourist do, buy ice cream. As I settled down for a late lunch the 40 or so Harley Davidsons sped off from the hotel, and as they descended, they left a large audio footprint on the area. Having recuperated from the climb I made the final ascent to the top of the 147 m peak and admired the views to the North, over Julsø.

  Julsø
It was all down hill from here, in more ways than one. The afternoon was spent walking along dusty gravel roads, with limited water and warm temperatures. Though I am still wondering why a child's bike is padlocked to a tree with a lovely pink and black lock.
  Childs bike locked to a tree
By the time I approached my chosen campsite I realised that I would be sharing it with about 20 adults and 30 or so very excited children. Hmmm, where to find a quiet corner, as well, the lack of a water supply was of concern. The next morning as the church bells chimed 8 am (it was actually 7 am) I left and headed past the Catholic Church study centre which had been opened by Pope John Paul in 1989. Before finding a pleasant place in the morning sunshine on the banks of Mossø.

  Morning sunshine Møsse
Denmark is a small country and as a consequence the forests and interspersed with large towns, and in my case the next large town was Skanderborg, I often get misplaced in the larger towns, trail signs are not obvious, or I just choose a different path. Ultimately after more bitumen I found myself at a Statoil at the other end of town, here I tried some of the local delicacies, as well as ice cream before setting off for more road walking.

 After some time I descended into the valley alongside of the Aarhus river, it was warm, the mosquitos were active, but it was still very pleasant. I sat next to the river for a while before finally finding a campsite. The following morning I dawdled and spent time taking photos and enjoying the amenity of the area.

  Aarhus Å
Finally, I rejoined the roads and bicycle paths along the the banks of Årslev Engsø and Braband Sø. These paths would take me into the city centre which for a Sunday was reasonably quiet. Soon after I was being transported back to Copenhagen after 3 days in Mid Jutland, it had been an enjoyable trip and there were sections especially around Silkeborg and Skandeborg that I will happily return to.