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See here for an introduction to the KYST project
KYST 12 Arriving at Hammerhavn harbour just before 6 am, I was still tired and groggy after an unsettled night’s sleep. For perhaps the first time, I was not really ‘up’ for the day ahead. It was cold, but just above zero, so freezing paint would not be an issue. The sky was completely overcast and there was little or no wind. Compared to the gusty energy of KYST 11, the day seemed a little flat. I settled down and got stuck into the view of the castle and the cliffs beyond.
Some gulls and jackdaws were hanging around, the jackdaws perching on roofs of the smart new wooden cottages. Some yellowhammers sang, but otherwise there was little birdlife and spring felt far away.
I walked onwards, north and up on to Hammerknuden – the granite peninsula that is almost separated from the rest of the island. Just before in one of the cottages in the harbor, I had read about and seen photographs of the huge granite quarries which had dominated the social and economic life of the area until very recently. Now, however, they were closed; either filled with water or clad with vegetation, and once again I was reminded how dynamic and ever-changing the landscape is.
I passed through a low wood of twisted oak, birch and juniper, up over the cliffs and on to wind-blown slopes of juniper and sloe. Here I could look down at the groups of razorbills and guillemots cavorting on the waves far below. There was a manic energy in their movements which I tried to capture – first strung out in a line, then bunched together, sometimes in unison, sometimes in disarray.
I walked onwards along the eroded path, testament to the popularity of this walk in the summer. Today, however, I was alone, apart from the highland cattle and hardy-looking sheep that grazed on the slopes.
Whenever possible I tried to clamber down the cliffs on the shore. The geology was incredible. Slabs of pink granite, covered in all colours of lichen and moss, in some places hard and sharp, in others rubbed smooth and flat by glaciers. I found a fantastic spot, looking down over some interesting rocks. I tried to really follow the visual planes of the rocks, but the light was changing and uneven, as the overcast sky opened out and the sun shone in sporadic bursts. Unable to deal with the conditions – too hot, too cold, paints drying too quickly, too slowly – I gave up.
I clambered around on the huge granite boulders at the base of the cliffs before looking back one more time southwards at the distant blue shape of Slotslygen, Mulekleven and Vang, before heading Northeast, for the first time.
The coastline around the Hammer peninsula is wonderfully picturesque, but I was disorientated, cold and tired and struggled to find my groove. I decided to concentrate and faced a slab of lichen-flecked granite.
Just as I was about to set off again I almost trod on a water rail, which must have been there the whole time watching me as I drew. It flew weakly off. I tried to find it again, but could not. What an earth was a water rail doing on the coast – a bird whose pig-like squeal I was familiar with from the reed beds in the middle of Bornholm? Perhaps it was on its way north, to Sweden (see top).
A little later and I had reached my destination, Salomons Kapel, a ruined chapel from the 12th century that was once surrounded by a thriving herring market – now long since disappeared. My feet were wet and freezing and I struggled to even think about painting. Instead I walked around and looked for birds, and I was rewarded in no time by my first eider ducks of the year – a sure sign of spring – and a pair of black guillemots, my first ever on Bornholm.
The day was long and I huddled under my M60 umbrella. A beautiful chocolate brown mink passed just metres in front of me trotting along the shore. I made a squeaky cat noise – it looked up at me for a second or two, then carried on neither interested nor alarmed. As the end of the day approached, a sea fog came rolling in from the east, over the granite outcrop and on to the spot where I sat and brooded.
Weather report = Cloudy with regular sunny periods around lunchtime. Sea fog in the late afternoon. Temperature between 1 and 3 degrees. Wind between 1 and 3 m/s first from the east and later north-east. Visibility: medium. Hours of sunshine: maybe one and a half hours, if squeezed altogether?
Lessons learned – it doesn’t have to be amazing every time. It’s ok to just put the brushes down and have some time walking around, looking at birds and so on.
Stops with the M60 = 1
Kilometers walked = 7.2 km
Day lasted = 12 hours, 25 minutes (have now passed equinox)
Birds seen and heard = 32 species (no less than 7 new ones = woodcock (overflying), guillemot, black guillemot, skylark, rock pipit, eider duck, water rail = running total 57)
People talked to = 3 ( 1 + 2)
Other stuff = bigger paper next time?
In my head = Det er så fuldt af sjov, ude i en skov..’ children’s song STILL in my head all day… Thinking of impending trip to Billund. School shootings. Plastic pollution. The end of the world.