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See here for an introduction to the KYST project
KYST 08 Nearly two months in – I’m already an eighth of the way around the island and an eighth of the way through the year. Each walk is logistically more challenging, as the days get longer and the start and collection points are further from home. The project’s internal rhythm is settled now – recovery, research, walk, blog, recovery – and each Friday is a fantastic revelation, an adventure.
I settled in the snow at the top of the wooden staircase. It was completely still, the sea down below mirror-like and reflecting the pinks and oranges of the clear sky. It was minus 7; so cold that my fingers froze almost as quickly as the watercolours on the palatte.
As the sun crept over the horizon I wandered on a little, out of the shadows in the forest, and to a clearing where I basked in the warming light and gazed down at the ocean below. Suddenly a yellowhammer sang its familiar song – my first of the year and my first sign of spring, of rebirth. I tried to work with the ice and the colours, whilst all around me and further along the coast, I could see and hear yellowhammers singing and flitting around.
I moved on a little, but was unable to get down to the coast below. Up on the rocky coastal path, the familiar blackthorn, juniper and wild cherry trees hugged the hillside. An incredible feeling of peace and contentment.
I was joined unexpectedly by a friend and we walked on for a while, then rested in the sun, enjoying a wee Bornholmian dram and a warming coffee. I ambled on alone, but still couldn’t find my way to the coast. Eventually I walked through the huge Vang granite quarry and down on to the rocky coast. Here, in the gloomy shadow of the cliffs, my aim was to walk back along the coast, to Krogeduren, a huge freestanding granite outcrop which I wanted to paint. There was no path and I jettisoned my chair and M60 brolly as the going was tough. The granite boulders were rounded and slippery by the water, but angular and unstable closer to the cliffs. Eventually I made it to Krogeduren and found a wonderful vantage point, just as the first rays of sun broke over the top of the cliffs and onto the top of the granite tower…only to realise I had left my paints and drawing board sandwiched in the chair. Much swearing. I made a quick pencil drawing, but I was cold and tired.
Back where I had left my equipment I looked towards the edge of the Vang pier, with Hammerhus visible in the far distance. I had intended to make a timed study of the passing of the sunlight and shadows over the rocks, but by now the sun was obscured by thick clouds and the wind was beginning to blow.
I boiled some water for my late lunch, a pot noodle, only to spill all of the newly boiled water over my drawing board, my bag and my tarp. Much more swearing. In the space of half an hour the day had gone from clement to inclement, and my mood with it. I walked around a bit to warm up, then made a quick and wintery study of the Vang ‘art bridge’, where the cliff between the quarry and the coast was dynamited to provide improved unloading facilities from the quarry to the pier.
On the pier itself, in the freezing wind and gloom, I was momentarily cheered up by a small group of zestful meadow pipits. The heavy grey clouds slowly pushed on southwards, gradually covering the remaining strip of light on the horizon, as it passed from yellow, to orange, and then to red, before finally disappearing altogether (see top).
Weather report: clear start to the day, later overcast, minus 7 to 0°C, wind 1 to 6 m/s from north. Visibility: not bad. Hours of sunshine: 4
Lessons learned – always put the stove on something level and stable, and take gloves off before taking the boiling water off. If you’re going to put the frozen watercolour palette in your trousers to warm it up, be prepared for defrosted paints to run down your legs.
Stops with the M60 = 1
Kilometers walked = 7.45km
Day lasted = 10 hours, 18 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 18 species (3 new = yellowhammer, robin and meadow pipit = running total 45)
Other stuff = roe deer bounding across the field in the freezing dawn
People talked to = 3
In my head = ‘alene i vildmarken’ (‘Alone’), what it would be like to NOT have anyone to talk to at the end of the day, to NOT come home to a lovely shower and a cold beer. Chess, again. Trust.