LAND 20 Dawn, 4:45 am. After the drop-off I walked westwards from the Skelbro quarry, and then north into the flat fieldscape of southern Bornholm. It was cold, with a partial ground frost, but clear and still. Embraced by the sound of birdsong and the sickly-sweet scent of the luminously yellow oilseed rape I painted the huge windmills as the sun rose beside me.
The area I found myself in has been earmarked by the Danish Government as the site of a huge high voltage transformer station to process energy harnessed from two gigantic offshore windfarms. I tried to imagine the landscape completely transformed. Southern Bornholm is scarred by countless attempts to extract mineral wealth from the landscape in some from or other, but Energiøen is on a completely different scale. At present people living in the area stand to receive no compensation.
I stopped for a coffee with a good friend in Sose, and then walked along the edge of the precipitous and narrow valley of lilleå (‘Little Stream’) that cuts deep through the fields on its way to the sea. In the steep and shaded valley – one of the very few truly ‘wild’ and uncultivated parts of Bornholm – I managed to find a spot to have some lunch. With the light breeze, cherry blossom intermittently floated snow-like down through the tangled mass of knotty boughs, before settling on the narrow stream far below.
Emerging from the valley I walked along the main road. My mood darkened as I struggled to work with the watercolours in the hot sun. Always something to moan about. The day was long, I was underslept and exhausted, my mood swinging pendulum-like with the self-determined success, or lack thereof, of each completed painting.
I walked along the coastal path again, parallel to the sea, and tried to capture the kaleidoscope of greens as the sun shone through the leaves of the trees.
I took a short detour past wonderful old farms to visit a bronze-age rock carved with petroglyphs. Here I rested for a while. I pondered the importance and significance of these archaeological sites – both for my LAND project, and also in general.
Down towards the coast again, I walked along a well-known path between Sose and Arnager, I was now entering a part of Bornholm I knew rather well.
As I walked north again out of Arnager, I was entranced by some billowing white plastic sheets covering a potato field.
All around this part of southern Bornholm, fields were being watered due to the lack of rain. The evening was delicious now, my mood improved immeasurably. I walked along empty county roads accompanied by nightingale song, as the lowering sun cast a golden light over the fields.
The day’s destination, Lundestenen, was another barrow grave – Bornholm’s largest and finest. I struggled to find a path, and eventually had to walk across cultivated fields to reach the burial mound, where it sat marooned, like a desert island surrounded by a field of green. The sun slipped behind the trees and the day was done.
WEATHER REPORT – Sunny most of the day. Temperature 3 – 16 degrees. Wind 3 – 5 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 14 hours.
STOPS with the BIVVY – 0
KILOMETRES WALKED – 18.55 km
DAY LASTED – 16h and 27 m
PEOPLE TALKED TO – 7
BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 43 species: 0 new (!) running total = 106 species
LESSONS LEARNED – Remember, it is a very long day. Anything can happen.
IN MY HEAD – energy and growth. Also, I met several old friends and thought a lot about how long I had been on Bornholm, and how much we are invested in the island.