KYST 34 – from Frederik’s Quarry to Nexø Harbour, 24.08.18

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See here for an introduction to the KYST project

KYST 34 I arrived back at the granite/sandstone boundary, under slept and a little apprehensive of the day ahead. There was no wind and the crimson rising sun, at first hidden, suddenly revealed itself between the banks of thick clouds.

I walked on, over the thin beach that separates the old stone quarry, now flooded, from the mirror-calm sea. I paused several times but lacked conviction, my mood indecisive. In the quarry, now a popular coarse fishing spot, the silence was broken only by the relentless mewing of a hungry young herring gull and the slap of the fish that periodically leapt acrobatically out of the water. I journeyed on, past the campsite, and sat on the beach for a while. Suddenly, clouds of chattering swallows and martins flew low over the water, mirrored by their reflections.

I walked on through a misty rain, through the scrubby wasteland separating the houses and the coastal road from the sea. As the rain built up I huddled under the M60 and enjoyed the form and colours of a particularly flamboyant Common chicory, of which there seem to be so many this year.

With neither rain jacket nor warm clothing I quickly started to feel cold and miserable. I painted a sheet of paper and exposed first half, then the other half to the rain.

The rain was relentless and I remained under the M60, rotating it a little towards the multitude of wild grasses and flowers, with the industrial buildings of Nexø looming in the background.

When the rain eventually stopped I packed up my sodden things – now weighing twice as much – as continued towards the harbour. My aim was to keep to the water as much as possible and follow the outline of the harbour. I stopped by the huge silo buildings, with the ferry from Poland in the dock. The grey skies matched my mood.

Today, Nexø harbour supports Bornholm’s largest active fishery, as well as being a ferry terminal and sailboat harbour, and presents an eclectic blend of industry and tourism, old and new. I walked the length of the harbour, past the sail boats and into the industrial sector, past wharehouses, piles of twisted nets and rusty metal.  Cod, herring and salmon have always been a core resource on Bornholm but as recently as 40 years ago, the fishing industry in Bornholm experienced a golden age, with Nexø its nucleus. Millions were made but the stock was overfished, quotas were introduced and the industry collapsed. The few able to adapt and survive are still based in Nexø, and at the end of the harbour fishing vessels are still fitted out and painted.

The gusty wind at one point hurled all my paintings out from my folder, one of which ended up in the sea, lost forever. I had spent far too long on the boat and needed to get back to painting living and moving things. Some majestic Great black backed gulls fitted the bill.

A troglodyte cormorant perched on a ladder, while pristine gulls sat on the pier above, basking in the early evening sun.

I carried on, walking the entire length of the harbour and almost doubling back to where I had started. I watched a mink weaving between the huge granite boulders of the breakwater, at one point emerging from the water with a large Round goby between its jaws – one invasive species predating another. The sun set behind the masts of a recently arrived tall ship and the silos I had painted earlier in the day (see top).


Weather report = Mostly cloudy with rain in the morning. More sunny in the late afternoon. Temperature between 16°C and 21°C. Wind between 1 and 8 m/s from the west.  Visibility: poor. Hours of sunshine: 3 hours.

Lessons learned – always put something heavy on the drawing folder, and don’t always believe the weather forecast. Rain jacket mandatory from now on.

Stops with the M60 = 1

Kilometers walked = 8.45 km

Day lasted = 14 hours, 16 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 28 species (0 new ones = running total 102)

Other stuff = I can really feel the shortening day now – for the first time in ages I didn’t have (time for) a nap.

People talked to = 2 (1 + 1)

In my head – I was thinking about the Fox News clip doing the rounds where the newsreader criticized Socialism and pointed to Denmark as a country where ‘no one wants to work’, remarking that ‘everyone wants to start cupcake cafes’. A ridiculous and superficial observation – and plainy nothing to do with the evils of socialism – but Nexø is certainly a good example of a society dealing with the transformation from an industrial past to a service-based present. Just try walking through the harbour and seeing the juxtaposition of the foodie cafes and empty warehouses. Though there is a sense of faded grandeur or fomer glory, Nexø retains an refreshing authenticity that is absent from Bornholm’s other more picturesque harbours.