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KYST 14 An orange disc perched on the horizon in a clear cobalt sky was the magnificent sight that greeted me as I arrived at Sandvig strand. The icy wind, however, put paid to any notions of an easy day, and I spent a long time trying to find a sheltered spot. Nestled between some boulders with a view of the ocean, I quickly got to work
I watched the day unfold. I was hoping for more bird song, but the day felt wintery. Flocks of wood pigeons passed regularly overhead on their way north to Sweden. White wagtails and black redstarts flickered about between the pink granite boulders. Some red breasted mergansers cavorted in the bay, and I studied their strange courtship dance.
Some very friendly highland cattle silently passed by, munching on the tough brown grass between the boulders. On the rocks below I watched a mink patrolling the water’s edge. Despite being an American pest escaped from a fur farm, it seemed utterly at home. The mink’s flat head reminded me somewhat of a fur seal, and at one point, instead of following the rocks it decided to swim across the bay. I could see its little head powering through the choppy water, unconcerned with the mobbing gulls.
I painted Sandvig town and harbor over the bay, with the sun reflected in the many hotels’ windows.
Some clouds spoiled the morning and the day suddenly got much colder. I walked around looking for birds, partly to keep warm. Eventually I packed my things and walked across the bay and under a boardwalk, where I sheltered for a while. The sun returned and I set up my M60 on a rocky shore, looking back across the bay to where I had just been. The tussocks of dead grass had green shoots poking through.
A solitary sandwich tern, shadowed by a freeloading common gull, dove repeatedly after fish. I marveled at its grace and energy as it battled effortlessly with the strong wind and its annoying companion.
A large flock of cranes flew north, battling against the wind. I tried to sketch their flight formation as it bent and twisted.
I packed up and walked around Sandvig for a while. For centuries a small and insignificant fishing hamlet, Sandvig expanded during the 19th century as granite extraction became increasingly industrialised. At one point the majority of the working men would have been employed in the quarries, many of whom would have been Swedes who migrated to Bornholm. In the last century Sandvig became a popular tourist destination, and today the town is a strange and charming mix of old stone cottages, terraced workers’ houses and hotels and guest houses. I sat in the protective arms of the tiny harbor and felt warm and drowsy in the sun.
I continued southeast and scrambled over the impressive pink granite rock formations, sometimes sharp and angular, sometimes soft and folded, in places ground and polished smooth by glaciers. I struggled to find a good vantage point out of the blustering wind. I watched huge flocks of long tailed ducks frolicking in the distant waves, suddenly taking flight or diving in unison. There was an incredible joy and independence to their movements. Closer to shore a huge greater black backed gull brooded menacingly, while nearby a herring gull kept a watchful eye open.
It was getting late and there was still a way to go. Here there is no coastal path, so I decided to keep to the rocky shore, passing in front of hotels and private gardens. Despite having right of way, I felt almost like a trespasser as I scrambled over innumerable rocky outcrops and through patches of brambles. The houses and hotels here are exclusive and the views are incredible. Now, in the early evening I had the sun on my back for the first time, and the rich saturated colours of the mustard yellow lichen, the pinkish granite and deep blue water was intoxicating. I met a friend and we shared a sublime whiskey on the rocks, before I got to work on my last painting of the day, finishing as the sun dipped below the horizon behind me (see top).
Weather report = No rain or snow. Sunny with a short cloudy period in the morning. Temperature between 2 and 5 °C . Wind between 12 and 5 m/s from the west. Visibility good. Hours of sunshine: 10 hours 30 minutes.
Lessons learned – I need to stop overthinking assessing and rating my paintings and the day itself. The day is so long, and such a physical and emotional roller coaster, that any idea of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is made redundant.
Stops with the M60 = 3
Kilometers walked = 6.92 km
Day lasted = 13 hours, 4 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 34 species (9 new ones = black kite, red necked grebe, pheasant, common crane, sandwich tern, black redstart, goldcrest, starling, carrion crow = running total 67)
Other stuff = for a moment, a starling in all its metallic finery, with the blue sky behind.
People talked to = 3 ( 1 + 2)
In my head = aches and pains, my shoulders and back, how can I improve my posture, my Achilles, need to start running, etc, etc… the shitstorm that is UFC 223…