KYST 02 – from Hvideodde to Blykobbe Å, 12/01/18

se denne side på DANSK her

(see here for introduction to the Kyst project)

KYST 02 From the moment I sat down on the grassy knoll where I had finished KYST 01 the previous week, I was aware of the peculiar weather conditions. There was no wind at all and the sea was glassy and mirror-like. A thick layer of low cloud meant that the rising sun was completely hidden. Instead the day started with a slow and almost imperceptible brightening. I could just about make out some feint orange edges on some of the lower clouds, but otherwise it was an almost apologetic start to the day.

I started right where I left off, looking south to the chimneys and church spires of Rønne. My first painting out of the way, I headed north, around the ‘corner’ of Hvidodde and left the town behind me. Now I found myself on ‘Antoinette Beach’, a narrow and gently sloping sandy stretch of coastline stretching north for 10km all the way to Hasle and bordered by a forest of mostly pine, birch and spruce, planted in the 19th century to halt the spread of the migrating sand dunes which threatened the coastal farms at that time. The forest bordering the beach is criss-crossed with innumerable paths for dog walkers, joggers and mountain bikers and, in the summer at least, is Bornholm’s unofficial nudist beach. No luck today though as the beach was almost empty, and I trudged on northwards.

The complete lack of wind meant that it was easy to keep warm, and I didn’t even need to put up the ‘M60’. Stopping by one of the huge granite erratic boulders (‘vandreblokker’) that dot the shore – deposited by retreating glaciers in the last ice age – I struggled to depict the huge sky and sea in all its subtle glory. At first glance, the mirror-like sea seemed to blend almost imperceptibly into the cloud covered sky, but over time I became aware of the incredible and delicate variation in tone and colour. Even more challenging, the everything was changing over time – but so slowly you hardly noticed it. At one point the sea at the horizon would be bronze and darker than the deep violet blue of the clouds it bisected, a moment later, it would be lighter than the clouds and silvery grey. But everything happened so slowly, it was incredible to just sit there at watch it all unfold right in front of me. Amazing.

I had my telescope with me, and the tranquil sea meant I was able to see much further than usual – for miles and miles in all directions. Groups of graceful Great Crested Grebes (store lappedykker) were preening and resting on the undulating waves, and further out a large and active flock of Long Tailed Ducks milled around. A solitary Common Scooter rested close by some Goldeneye. The huge vista, the glass-like sea and the gentle lapping of the wavelets at the water’s edge, together with mournful calls of the Long Tailed Ducks created for a calming, almost soporific spectacle.

The traces of mica and patterns left by retreating waves is definitely something I want to return to.

In the afternoon the sun tried to break thorough, but to no avail. Eventually I reached the mouth of the Blykobbe river, my destination, but the day had passed too quickly again and I had little time to really explore the area. This is one of the places where a kingfisher might turn up in the winter, but no such luck today. I wandered around, tried to get something down but with no great success. But I’ll be back next week, and that is a wonderful thought.

No pick up today, so I had a retrace my steps in the dusk, all the way back to Hvidodde and my waiting car. Thankfully, compared to KYST 01, I had lightened my load a little and the going was not too difficult. The walk back gave me time to reflect on the challenges and encounters of the day. A strange day, a dreamy day, and a real contrast to the frenetic and soggy KYST 01. As before, the question of what and why and how dominated my thoughts. Little or no progress was made in any of those regards, but find solace in the fact that there are still 50 weeks to go…


Weather report = overcast, thick layer of cloud. 1 – 3 °C. Wind 0 – 3 m/s from East. Visibility: Good. Hours of sunshine: none.

Lessons learned – not sure… get there earlier

Stops with the M60 = 0

Kilometres walked = 5.51km (not including walk back)

Day lasted = 7 hours, 17 minutes (ditto)

Birds seen and heard = 17 species (8 new ones = running total 23)

Other stuff = mica lines left by waves

People talked to = 2

In my head = why am I doing this? what am I (supposed to be) looking at/for? relationship between seeing and remembering, poker, trip to Brussels, NaturBornholm commission, dinosaurs, etc, etc,