LAND 15 – Hjortebakken to Hellig Hågen, 14.04.23

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LAND 15 Friday again. A cold gunmetal dawn, with Bornholm hunkering under a thick layer of clouds. Nevertheless, for a fleeting moment, I saw the glowing ember of the rising sun through a stand of pines, fleetingly colouring the sky.

From Lyngvejen

I headed north, towards the Bodilsker plantation, stopping by the side of a silent and still lake. A heavy mist descended, then a light rain.

View of the lake at the Stenbrudssø, Dalevejen

My route meandered up and down – crossing the escarpment that divides the Pre-Cambrian granite highlands of the centre and north, and the Cambrian sandstone and shale lowlands of the south. At the bottom of the gentle slope lies Bornholm’s last working sandstone quarry. I explored the site, marveling at the mysterious belts, pulleys, and machinery, and admiring the exquisite lilac and ochre sandstone. A pair of lesser ringed plover, that ubiquitous resident of flooded quarries, flew noisily overhead annoyed at my intrusion.  I chatted to one of the two people still working the quarry. Extraction industries used to employ thousands on Bornholm, and It was fascinating to meet someone still working in this field.


Heading northeast, my route took me towards Døvredal, through farms and fields. A thick mist now reduced visibility. A small herd of fallow deer stag walked across a field, seemingly oblivious to my presence.

I stopped for lunch at Gryet, where no less than 67 menhirs erected as memorials to the dead by iron-age Bornholmers stand in a beech and oak wood.

Beech sapling and menhir

I cheekily took a turn up a path towards an abandoned farm, which I had seen on Google Maps when scoping out the area. Within minutes a farmer, the landowner, drove up in his tractor and warned me off. We chatted for a while, and he began to tell me the story of the farm and how it had been occupied since the 17th century, and at one time had hosted tens of farm workers. The huge barn, with an intricate cantilevered roof construction of thick oak beams, was built in the early 20th century on the site of an earlier structure and reused huge granite blocks from this. Again, I felt connected to Bornholm’s past and present.

View into the old barn, Døvredal 11S

The farmer gave me permission to continue through the farm, down into the wild and picturesque Døvre valley, and up again to the plantation on the other side.

Bodilsker plantation

I walked through the forest, sometimes following the path, sometimes cutting into the forest and following old logging tracks. The plantation was silent, the atmosphere stifling.

Bodilsker plantation

Eventually I arrived at Hellig Hågen, a large menhir standing alone, deep in a fir plantation. According to local custom, one should greet the stone if passing – ‘Good day to you, Hellig Hågen’ – a failure to do so may result in bad luck. Whether it was my extreme tiredness after a long day, or the oppressive silence of the forest, but the stone seemed completely animated and the site positively enchanted. As the sun finally set behind the clouds, I thanked Hellig Hågen for the day, and walked off to find my lift.

Hellig Hågen


WEATHER REPORT – Overcast and misty all day. Temperature 4 – 7 degrees. Wind 3 – 5 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0.5 hours. Hours of sunshine: 0 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 14h and 1m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 41 species: 1 new (lesser ringed plover, running total = 74 species)

LESSONS LEARNED – It’s great to talk.

IN MY HEAD – Succession (HBO), ‘Bits and Pieces’ by Superbandet.