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KYST 47 The day was cold, dank and grey. A thick blanket of grey cloud completely obscured the rising sun and the brisk onshore wind was bitterly cold. I unpacked my things from the car and looked over the broad sweep of Sose bay. As I turned to pick up my rucksack I caught sight of a sparrowhawk flying fast and low over the field heading straight towards me. In a flash the hawk shot past, slicing through the air in silent intensity and slamming straight into a hawthorn bush from where the panicked scream of a blackbird filled the air. What a start to the day.
I walked along the cliff edge, heading east in order to arrive at the place I finished last week’s trip. To my left fields and to my right the cliffs and then the sea.
I soon arrived back at the beach and headed west again, now below the path upon which I had just walked. The water was low, thankfully as a high water sometimes makes it difficult to walk below the cliffs. Great landslides of mud and clay collapsed onto the beach taking trees and grass and depositing them on the pebbly shore. The coastline was being eaten by the waves, and the clifftop path I had just walked on would soon end up on the beach below. I looked back towards the east and painted the rich and dynamic colours and patterns, with rivulets of water seeping through the clay and running out on to the sand.
I packed up and walked on, arriving at the strange little quay or landing stage at Sose point, in front of which several fishermen were already waist deep in the water amongst the rocks. I walked on and found myself in a new bay with good views to the west – of next week’s destination, Arnager, and the faintest glimpse of Rønne and the journey’s end, beyond that. The geology was fascinating with a bewildering and I was split between wanting to paint the intricate patterns of the rust red ironstone and the layers of sediment exposed on the sloping sea cliffs. In the end I looked down and concentrated on the tiny strands of half-submerged seaweed leaving delicate patterns on the sand.
Hidden behind the clouds, the sun had already begun its descent and I was feeling pressured with my lack of physical and creative progress. At Dalegårdsodden I stopped for a quick lunch under the M60, where I became fixated on the subtle and understated tones and colours of the sea and sky. For the first time since starting the KYST trip, I worked on a full and uncut sheet of watercolour paper (detail, see also top).
A fine dusty rain coupled with the generous washes of water and pigment meant that the paper took an eternity to dry. Before I could begin on the sea I needed to wait for the sky to dry somewhat, so I turned my attention to the rather stark and foreboding silhouette of the trees behind me. Most of the trees had dropped their leaves now, and it felt winter-like for the first time since much earlier in the year.
I packed up and walked on, exploring the open area by Mølledal, where dunes sloped gently from the coast up to some summerhouses hidden within a small pine plantation. By three in the afternoon the day was almost over. I sat and watched a solitary mute swan bobbing around in the choppy waves. The day seemed so short and dull and the weather so harsh, I wondered how the swan could thrive or even exist in such an environment. As the light faded and the misty fine rain returned, the swan preened and jigged about in the water, both separate from, and at one with, the world surrounding it.
Weather report = Cloudy all day. Temperature between 2°C and 3°C. Wind between 4 and 6 m/s from the southeast. Hours of sunshine: 0 hours.
Lessons learned – I tried out my new binoculars today – they were a vast improvement on the old pair.
Stops with the M60 = 1
Kilometers walked = 7.53 km
Day lasted = 7 hours, 57 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 18 species (0 new ones = running total 138)
Other stuff = The KYST project consists of 52 journeys, and since starting I have tried to see each trip as a signifier for each year of my life. While physically walking around, I’ve tried to recall my life events during the corresponding year. Thus, I started school in Brighton as a five year old child during KYST 05 – just before Hasle, I became a teenager at KYST 13 as I rounded the Hammer peninsula, and I met my wife Tina just before I reached Gudhjem during KYST 22,. My first child was born just outside of Bølshavn, and I moved to Bornholm at Snogebæk during KYST 37.
KYST 47 then, marks the point where I have ‘caught up with myself’, and amazingly my 48th birthday is actually next Tuesday. It has been an enlightening way of visualizing my life and manifesting the passing of time in a physical and visual way. At Duegårdsodde I stopped and marked the point where I pass into the future for the remaining five trips. I thought a lot about my life and the choices I’ve made and been forced to make, knowingly or not. I thought about people I’ve known and their own journeys around, some of whom whose lives had been tragically cut short.
People talked to = 6 ( 1 + 1 + 2 + 2)
In my head – My son in Auckland, Library project and deadlines, BJJ, poker.