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KYST 28 We drove through Bornholm under a divided sky – to our left, and receding, a cloudless sky – to our right and oncoming, thick grey clouds. At the end of the pier arm at Bølshavn I made a slice painting, recording the dynamic skyscape. I was gracious for the humidity in the air and the energy from a brisk onshore wind, but soon I was cold and I was thankful had remembered my gloves (see top).
By the time I was finished, the day was already in full swing, with bathers jumping off the pier for their morning swim. I packed up and wandered on passing through one of Bornholm’s largest and richest coastal meadows. There was a profusion of colour with yellow and purple loosestrife, hemp agrimony, viper’s bugloss and chicory particularly abundant.
I walked on through an open area, grazed by sheep, under a light mist of rain. By the time I had set up my M60 for some food and a nap, the rain had increased in severity – the first on Bornholm for many, many weeks – and I woke to the evocative and comforting patter of rain drops on canvas. Under the shelter of the M60 I painted some juvenile common gulls. I thought back to the baby gulls I had seen just south of Gudhjem a few weeks ago.
Hidden amongst the mustard coloured lichen on the rocks rested two female red breasted mergansers.
I enjoyed the humidity in the air and its impact on my watercolours and paper.
When the rain had died back down to a dusty drizzle I packed up and continued along the path. Compared to last week’s arduous trek the going was easy and I soon arrived at ‘Hellig Kvinde’ (the Holy Lady), a collection of stone monoliths with eleven stones forming an oval ring. According to legend the tall stone was once a holy lady who was forced to petrify her children (the small stones) in order to protect them from danger. The monoliths now sit by the busy coastal road and I was eager to get back to the sea.
A photograph of Hellig Kvinde from 1869 from almost the same position reveals how much impact a few thousand grazing sheep can have on a landscape.
I trudged on, keeping to the coast instead of the coastal path, and soon came to a fence blocking my way. Armed with my new found knowledge relating to my rights on Denmark’s coast, I hopped over the fence and continued along the rocks and meadows, forcing my way through a wild and lush terrain flanked to my right by an impenetrable and unkempt wood with huge mature ash and alder trees. I pushed through and eventually rejoined the coastal path just before Høl, where I paused for a while. Here I looked north east and recorded the fact that I had crossed the border between the dark and angular gneiss bedrock into the softer and crumblier Svaneke granite.
In the distance I could see some gulls flying repeatedly around some tall trees, hanging in the wind. With my telescope I could see that they were in fact plucking cherries from the outermost branches – not something I had seen before.
By now time was running on and I passed through the charming Høl Havn and into Listed proper. Listed is another of those idyllic fishing villages strung along Bornholm’s coast, with a gentle and laid back demeanor. I sat on the gravelly beach and painted the extraordinarily rich wild flowers and grasses flanking the harbour.
At the harbour in Listed, a live Jazz band performed in the café, and a steady stream of tourists mulled around in the early evening gloom. I sat on one of the pier arms and finished off the day, exhausted but – as ever – thankful and invigorated by the day’s unfolding.
Weather report = A few minutes of sun to start with, then overcast with scattered showers throughout the day. Temperature between 15 °C and 18°C. Wind between 6 and 8 m/s from the east. Visibility: good. Hours of sunshine: 0.5 hours.
Lessons learned – I’ve lost the bag of pegs for the M-60. Boulders worked fine.
Stops with the M60 = 2
Kilometers walked = 6.93 km
Day lasted = 17 hours, 5 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 28 species (0 new ones = running total 98) difficult to hear birds with the surf…
Other stuff = According to the information panel (and various other sources) sailors and wayfarers would greet the Hellig Kvinde standing stones (the lady and her children) as they passed. For how long have they been doing that? When did they stop? How do we know people actually did? When did the story of the story start?
People talked to = 1
In my head – Croatia-England – how quickly ‘It’s Coming Home’ turned into ‘oh well, I might as well go home…’ The Hellig Kvinde story got me thinking – it actually encapsulates rather neatly the paradox of parenthood – our need to protect our children coupled with our desire to have them experience the world. Over protection = petrification… or what?