LAND 18 Kastelsbakke – ten past five in the morning. I hunkered down in the shelter of some trees and got to work, swaddled in layers and layers of thick clothing to protect me from the bitterly cold east wind.
I headed back up into the forest, partly to find shelter, but also because my planned route in Raghammer had been postponed due to military exercises. Some of the younger beech trees were already in leaf with wild cherry and plum trees in blossom, but it was difficult to stop and paint because of the gusting wind. A striking male pied flycatcher brightened my mood somewhat.
Despite the sun, my mood was soon darkened again by the constantly gusting wind. The painting board strapped to my rucksack caught the wind like a sail and I tacked and stumbled along the exposed country roads, heading south again towards the southern flatlands.
I passed quickly through the bungalows and well-kept gardens of Aakirkeby village, feeling like a stranger from another time and space. Back into the fieldscape, the first green shoots were emerging in smart green rows.
The wind, if anything, was increasing in severity. I arrived at Jættedal, a passage grave built in the late stone age over five thousand years ago, and first excavated in 1883. On my hands and knees I crawled inside and here in the womb-like inner chamber, I was somewhat protected from the wind.
Eventually, like a reluctant newborn baby, I crawled back out and faced the wind. Later, I found shelter in a small wood and even managed to catch forty winks, lying on top of an electricity box. The newly restored Saxebro Windmill looked fantastic in the late afternoon light.
I was flagging but still had many hours to go. After a long search I manged to locate Grødby menhir, hidden close to the banks of Grødby stream in some thorny scrub. According to the faded information panel, the site should have been accessible to the public, but there were no signs or paths, and the panel was almost hidden behind brambles and hawthorn.
To finish off, I sat by the bridge and looked towards the setting sun and the meandering stream – completely windblown and exhausted, but glad to have made it through the day.
WEATHER REPORT – Sunny morning, hazy then cloudy in the afternoon. Temperature 5 – 7 degrees. Wind 10 – 14 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 10 hours.
STOPS with the BIVVY – 0
KILOMETRES WALKED – 19.57 km
DAY LASTED – 15h and 29 m
PEOPLE TALKED TO – 0
BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 42 species: 2 new (pied flycatcher, lesser whitethroat, running total = 90 species)
LESSONS LEARNED – I hate wind even more that I hate rain (maybe?).
IN MY HEAD – I had just spent four days with a group of artists, working on September’s Klippekroppe project. Ideas, conversations and images were rattling around in my brain.