LAND 22 – Vasagaard to Aa Kirke, 02.06.23

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LAND 22 The dry sunny weather on Bornholm continues. Bleary-eyed and underslept I continued along the path following the Læså downstream. The cool morning air was bursting with wren song and the heavy scent of wild garlic. The first golden beams of light from the rising sun glowed ember-like on the twisted tree trunks and branches.

Wood, Læså

To my left, the fields and to my right, the densely wooded valley down to the stream – now appreciably lower since last Friday. 

I arrived at Limensgadebrud, an overgrown quarry where layers of slate and limestone meet. I basked in the sun, trying to warm up. A white wagtail flitted about.

White wagtail

I headed north and then east, headed towards the pastures of Ugleenge, where horses grazed, surrounded by dense swathes of cow parsley and blossoming hawthorns. I tried to walk to Bosthøj, but the path ended suddenly. Returning to Ugleenge, I tried to capture the dizzying abundance of the blossoming hawthorn bushes. The hypnotic and rather grating song of whitethroats filled the air.

Peak spring: Hawthorn Tree, Ugleenge

Close to the road I stopped by another small and overgrown quarry – sandstone this time. The view south, all the way to the sea, encompassed the site where an army of Bornholmians had fought against their Lubeckian overlords in 1625. This area is also botanically significant – the thin soils have meant it has never been ploughed – but I was not able to find any orchids in the tall grass.

View south from Ugleenge

Heading north on a track through an oilseed rape field I crossed the old railway track – completely erased now, with only a small line of trees betraying its presence. In front of some overgrown farm outbuildings, I saw a hare nibbling on some weeds. Instead of hunkering down or bolting as I approached, it carried on eating. Through my binoculars I was close enough to see that it was blind in one eye.

I had reached Klintebakken, one of the areas on Bornholm where the geological fault zone running through the island is particularly obvious. Here granite and sandstone, divided by 1.2 billion geological years, meet. This is fittingly the site of ‘NaturBornholm’, the island’s Discovery, Science and Nature centre. In their small pond I watched smooth and great-crested newts swimming and cavorting in the water like tiny dragons. In front of the visitor centre even larger dragons were lurking.


The gneiss bedrock sits high over the flat landscape of Bornholm.

Hadeborg bakke

Layers of Balka and Nexø sandstone have been lifted by powerful forces.

Sandstone layers

I arrived at the Strøby sandstone quarry, well known for its fossilised seabed, where I had been looking forward to exploring and painting the pondlife – but time was running out. I made a quick sketch of the stony ripples, perfectly side-lit by the low sun.

Sandstone ripples

The last hour or so was a delicious brisk evening walk through quiet country roads up towards the village of Aakirkeby. The wind had died down now and the sun cast a golden light. Nightingale song mixed with the heady aroma of hawthorn. Some poppy flowers blushed impossibly bright in a field, but I had only time enough to make a quick sketch.

Setting sun, Kalbyvejen

Though I was only a five-minute drive from my house, I’d never walked to Aakirkeby before, and I felt somehow connected to Bornholm-past – walking over the fields towards the church. Just before I arrived at my destination I walked through a small wood where the last rays of the sun were cast – like glowing embers no less – on the twisted trunks and branches of the trees. The day was over and had ended just as it had begun, 17 hours earlier.


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny most of the day. Temperature 7 – 15 degrees. Wind 2 – 6 m/s changeable. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 15.5 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 17h and 1 m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 45 species: 1 new (sedge warbler) running total = 112 species

LESSONS LEARNED – shoes and legs get completely soaked walking through wet grass

IN MY HEAD – newts

LAND 21 – Lundestenen to Vasagård, 26.05.23

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LAND 21 The day began cold and rather breezy. I watched the sun rise behind the trees – a luminous crimson disc, slowly turning orange and then yellow as it began its ascent into the clear blue sky.

Sunrise from Hovedgårdsvejen

I headed north on familiar roads.

Nylars Church from Hovedgaardsvejen

Soon I found myself walking along the bike path towards Lobbæk village. The path was built on the old railway track that connected Rønne with Aakirkeby. Lobbæk was built around a railway station in the early 20th century – at one point boasting several shops, a baker, a dairy and so on – and is still home to several hundred people. I stopped for breakfast by the old station and enjoyed the cacophony of birdsong. A red-backed shrike was an unexpected visitor. Swifts, my first of the year, screamed overhead.

I continued along the bike path for a while, and then headed north into the intensively cultivated fieldscape between Nylars and Vestermarie. The area had once been a mixture of pasture, marsh and heath, and had slowly been drained and cultivated over the centuries. Large dairy and pig farms were strung along the landscape.

Udsigt fra Smørenegevejen

My route took me south again, across the main road and into an area with smaller farms and homesteads, poorer soils, and more variety of vegetation. I headed east until I crossed Læse å, a small stream (though Bornholm’s second biggest) that on account of its unique geology and nature, is protected by law. For several kilometers a public path follows the stream along its heavily wooded valley, with fantastic information panels describing the succession of geological strata the stream flows over.

Huge windmills and a giant solar cell park welcomed visitors to the beginning of the path. I watched through my binoculars as a marsh harrier flew close to the huge rotating arms of the windmill.

Marsh harrier and windmill

Down by the stream I was sheltered from the breeze, but easy prey for mosquitos. I was entranced by my eye’s ability to see reflections on the surface and stones on the stream bed, but not both simultaneously.

Reflections, Læseå

I took a break by the side of an oilseed rape field, now fading a little. A low-flying marsh harrier was lit yellow by reflected light from the flowers.

Down in the wooded valley again, I felt overwhelmed by the insane visual complexity of the vegetation and water, by the myriad patches of sunlight and shadow, the colours, patterns, and shapes – all flickering with the wind. I tried desperately to simplify what I saw but to no avail.

Where the stream bends and meanders through a flower-rich meadow heavy with the scent of wild garlic, I spent a while trying to capture the layers of shale. Curious horses watched my every move. As evening fell, they became skittish and galloped about.

Graptolite shale, with layer of bentonite (volcanic ash)

I followed the path out of the valley into the open fields of Vasagård – one of Bornholm’s, and indeed Denmark’s, most important archaeological sites. A cromlech was built in the early Neolithic period over 5,500 years ago, then a passage grave, and then both were combined into one barrow. Here funerals and other ritual activities have taken place over thousands of years. I crawled inside and along the passage into the pitch-black inner chamber and tried to imagine all that history. Outside again, the sun set behind the mound, with the entrance looking like an eye into another universe.

Langehøj ved Vasagård


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny most of the day. Temperature 10 – 15 degrees. Wind 6 m/s from the northwest. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 12 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 16h and 42 m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 50 species: 5 new (icterine warbler, red-backed shrike, house martin, swift, cuckoo) running total = 111 species

LESSONS LEARNED – more water needed – I ended up boiling water from the stream.

IN MY HEAD – so much. I knew the area well, so I thought often of previous trips and encounters, my kids and so on. I thought a lot about time and impermanence, how things come and go (paths, ponds, railways, fields, barrow graves…)

LAND 20 – Skelbro til Lundestenen, 19.05.23

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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.

Windmills at dawn, seen from Vasagaardsvejen

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.

Looking south from Søndre landevej

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.

Green leaves

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.

Hellerestningsten. Lille Strandbygård

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.

The pier at Arnager

As I walked north again out of Arnager, I was entranced by some billowing white plastic sheets covering a potato field.

Watering potatoes, Arnagervejen

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.

Watering fields, Sorteengevejen

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


DAY LASTED – 16h and 27 m


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.

LAND 19 – Grødby to Skelbro, 12.05.23

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LAND 19 For the first time: no hat, gloves, scarf, or thick jacket. The sun rose into a clear steel blue sky, and from my start point surrounded by fields of yellowing rapeseed, I was completely covered by joyous peals of skylark song. As I slowly headed towards the woods of Raghammer, the skylark song was gradually replaced by the repetitive and overpowering rattle, chack and whistle of the newly arrived thrush nightingales.

I was to spend the first half of the day in the Raghammer Military exercise area. Covering over 300 hectares of forest, dune, and heathland, much of the area is protected on account of its diverse fauna and flora. I headed east and followed the outer boundary along a well-mown and signposted path, through a mixture of scrub and open woodland and accompanied all the way by an intoxicating cacophony of bird song and cherry blossom.

Wild cherry and pine, Raghammer

Eventually I arrived at the coast. Bathed in the morning light, the completely deserted beach was nothing less than paradisical. I was glad to meet the sea again and was reminded of my visit during the KYST project, in the autumn of 2018.

Eider duck, Raghammer Odde

I walked around Raghammer Cape, and then doubled back inland into the open heathland where meadow pipits, yellowhammers, and wheatears flitted about.

Raghammer skydeterræn
Wheatear studies

Overhead a honey buzzard and later a black kite. Huge areas of Bornholm once looked like this, but little heathland remains. A large flock of noisy chattering sand martins were busy excavating their nests in some huge sand bunkers – I was drawn to the light and flickering shadows, but they were seldom still for long enough and I struggled.

The day was long, but I still had a way to go. I was overheating and running out of water, my pack heavy. I headed west through a twisted and sleepy pine forest, and eventually arrived at the small seaside village of Boderne. Passing quickly through, I then followed the coastal path running atop the sandy ridge, parallel to the coast and the route of my KYST walk five years earlier. I was glad for the opportunity to paint some shelduck and a herring gull bathed in the strong reflective light of the sea, familiar and comfortable subjects for me.

Shelduck study, Vester Boderne
Herring Gull study, Vester Boderne

My route took me through wild scrubby meadows and blossoming cherry woods. At places the ridge had slipped towards the sea, exposing the red and green clays that were now cracked and dry because of all the dry weather. A rusty winch was possibly a remnant of the clay extraction industries that had been established here during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Winch, Munkerup

Just before the mouth of the small Rise stream, I arrived at a natural amphitheater grazed by sheep, and here I paused to admire frothy blackthorn blossom caught by last rays of the setting sun.

Sunset. Gryden, Risestrand

Time was getting on, and I followed the steam inland back towards the main road and my destination, the old limestone quarry of Skelbro.


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny all day. Temperature 11 – 20 degrees. Wind 4 – 7 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 15 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 16h and 02 m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 57 species: 14 new (Black-throated diver, Common eider, Goldeneye, Red-Breasted merganser, Kestrel, Common Sandpiper, Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Thrush Nightingale, Wheatear, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Wood Warbler) running total = 106 species…incredible to see so many birds in one walk!

LESSONS LEARNED – I need to have a soft water bottle, so I can fill up in small sinks.

IN MY HEAD – despite the amazing weather, I fought against a bad mood and the symptoms of a cold all day

LAND 18 – Kastelsbakke to Grødby, 05.05.23

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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.

The view from Siegårdsvejen

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.

View from Højlyngsvejen

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.

Looking south from Lille Myregårdsvejen

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.

A field, Kratgårdsvejen

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.

View from inside Jættedal

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.

Saxebro Windmill

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.

Grødby Menhir

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.

Grødby å, from the bridge


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


DAY LASTED – 15h and 29 m


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.

LAND 17 – Ølene to Kastelsbakke, 28.04.23

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LAND 17 Dawn found me perched on the bird tower again, overlooking Ølene marsh. The drive had been spectacular, with shrouds of low mist floating delicately over the landscape. The denizens of the marsh slowly awoke from their slumber and soon I was surrounded by a cacophony of birdsong.

Dawn.View from North tower, Ølene

As the sun rose behind and flooded into the marsh, I noticed several marsh harriers perching on dead trees, enjoying the warming rays. I was still in shadow, and for a while the bird tower was enveloped in mist and my paints froze on the paper.

Frozen marsh harriers warming up

Soon the sun rose high enough to warm my back, and I was happy I had bought my telescope and could enjoy the stunning lapwings and smart reed buntings.  The winter thrushes had now moved on and for the first time, willow warblers and blackcaps dominated the soundscape. Sap was rising.

Eventually, it was time to move on, I headed south and then west, skirting the edge of the marsh. An old birch tree and a beech tree had grown together, fused in an eternal embrace. It was difficult to see where one started and the other ended.


From the southern bird tower, I had great views over the marsh. Several marsh harriers drifted overhead sometimes engaging in aerial mating flights.

View from the South tower, Ølene

A pair of cranes were very wary – then I noticed the fluffy crane baby.

Cranes and baby

I pulled myself away from the marsh and walked back into the forest. An old hunting lodge had recently been converted into a shelter/gathering place for walkers, with information panels describing how this part of the island had been transformed from common grazing heathland into parish-owned forestry plantation over the previous hundred and fifty years or so. In the forest, it was still just about possible to make out the impressions of the old ‘Holloway’ tracks over the heath. The old way markers – piles of stones – still existed deep in the forest.

I walked on, crisscrossing between dark plantations and more open areas. I came to a large shallow pond, where I spent several hours gazing into the water and losing myself. I saw sticklebacks, agile frog tadpoles, smooth and great-created newts, water boatmen, diving beetles, and dragonfly larva. I could have spent all day there – far from everyone and everything.

Pond, Siegårdsvejen

Back on the path, I headed into the forest. At times following paths, sometimes walking randomly through the trees. I stopped to draw an oblivious hedgehog, and some anemone.

By the afternoon, the sun was hidden behind clouds, but in a ditch, some fantastic marsh marigolds did their best to compensate.

Marsh Marigolds

It had already been a fantastically long day – I was exhausted but far from the day’s end point. I stumbled out of the forest and headed south, down from the old ‘high heath’ and towards the fields and farms of southern Bornholm again. Looking back up to the plantation, I watched a line of red kites gathering in the gloom, to roost in some secret place deep in the forest.

Red kites, Bedtime. Siegårdsvejen


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny morning, hazy then cloudy in the afternoon. Temperature 0 – 11 degrees. Wind 0 – 4 m/s changeable. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 8 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 15h and 30 m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 52 species: 6 new (wigeon, redstart, whinchat, blackcap, willow warbler, reed bunting, running total = 88 species)

LESSONS LEARNED – Bring more water next time. I had run out by early afternoon.

IN MY HEAD – My pond. My kids. Chimpanzees. Biodiversity.

LAND 16 – Hellig Hågen to Ølene, 21.04.23

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LAND 16 Dawn found me rearing to go – well slept for a change, and excited to see what the day would bring. The day’s forecast was fantastic, and the forest echoed with birdsong and promise. I painted the sun rising behind the fir trees and a nearby crane suddenly erupted into song, its unbelievably loud trumpeting calls reverberating through the cold and still morning air.

Sunrise, Anhoj plantation

I headed north through the forest, arriving soon at Dynnedalmose, where a rather forlorn observation tower overlooked the swamp. Sections of the plantation had been felled, grazed and rewilded, and for the rest of the day I would pass between silent and dark fir plantation monoculture, and rewilded areas full of light, birdsong and insect life.

I followed a path along the Øle Stream, amazed that I had never visited this wonderful site before, despite so many years on the island. Several times green sandpiper shot out from the swampy margins bordering the stream, my presence shattering their peace.

Øleåsti, Poulsker plantage

The day heated up, and for the first time on the LAND tour, I took off my woolly hat and gloves and jacket. I doubled back into the plantation and tried to capture the sunlight through the trees.

I headed south and then east through the woods. Not a soul was about. Not for the first time I was struck by the dissimilarity between paths, roads, and trails on the map – and their reality. At times I found myself with nothing to follow but ancient rutted tyre tracks. Common brimstone and mourning cloak butterflies, and even a jay, paused long enough for me to do some quick sketches.

I had a rendezvous arranged with Wilhelm from TV2 Bornholm, the local TV company, and we spent a couple of hours filming. By the time we had finished, the sun was lowering and I still had a way to go. I sped up and marched along empty trails and forest paths.

Mod Vibebakke

Eventually I arrived at the day’s destination – the bird tower at Ølene, Bornholm’s largest marsh and a mecca for breeding birds. An unusually late Great Grey shrike showed very well.

Great grey shrike

Periodically the peace was broken by enraged lapwing acrobatically confronting ravens or marsh harriers as they passed overhead.  Below the tower, groups of grazing greylag geese were followed by their newly hatched goslings. Waders milled about linnets and starlings gathered to roost.

View from the bird tower, low sun.

I gazed out over the marsh, as the sun slowly set behind the trees. It was another long day filled with innumerable encounters and experiences. I was completely and simultaneously exhausted and elated.

Sunset, Ølene


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny all day. Temperature 6 – 16 degrees. Wind 5 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 14.5 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 14h and 33 m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 49 species: 8 new (shoveler, greenshank, green sandpiper, wood sandpiper, swallow, great grey shrike, dunnock, mistle thrush, running total = 82 species)

LESSONS LEARNED – In the morning, when it was cold, I thought I had made a mistake by not having all my warm clothing on. Later however, I ended up overheating – so not sure what I learned there.

IN MY HEAD – My newly dug pond. Hearts and health.

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.

LAND 14 – Peders Church to Hjortebakken, 10.04.23

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LAND 14 Delayed three days because of illness, I somehow cheated the weather Gods and was rewarded with a crystal-clear start to the day. I sat in a field close to Peders Church and looked straight towards the sun rising over the fields.

Sunrise seen from Hegnedevejen

I headed north, making my way steadily along the narrow country roads. I passed by woods echoing with the song of chaffinch and song thrush. Cawing rooks flapped lazily overhead. In the open fields, skylark song rained down over the recently turned soil, where hares galloped amongst squadrons of feeding starling, fieldfare, and redwing. It was a wonderful sunny early spring morning.

Fieldfare and redwing feeding on the field

The area I walked through, Smålyngen, was historically heathland and rough pasture, with the soil rather thin on sandstone bedrock. Since the 1800s, however, the area begun to be drained and cultivated. Today it is a gentle agricultural landscape of fields, farms and small woods, crisscrossed by bicycle paths.

I arrived at the Smålyng Sandstone Quarry, which had once provided employment for the inhabitants of a nearby poor house. Closed in the 70s, the flooded quarry is now the site of the municipal waterworks and a biodiversity hotspot. I enjoyed the modernist lines of the waterworks and dozed to the soporific sound of croaking frogs and drumming woodpeckers.


Continuing north the land rose gently ahead, towards Bornholm’s granite centre. I looked back towards the south and the distant sea.

View of Ølenevej and beyond, from Egeby

I paused for a while by Egeby Stubmølle, a small post mill built at the end of the 18th century and still in use in the 1920s. In the sun, out of the chilly breeze, it was deliciously warm.

Egeby Mølle

I walked on, in and out of the woods, and ended my day by Hjortebakken – a ring of standing stones in a small clearing deep in the forest. In the centre of the ring stood a twisted oak tree. It felt like an enchanted site, a little unsettling. I was glad to make it back to the main road where I was thankfully picked up just as the sun set. Against all expectations, I had lasted the day.


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny all day. Windy. Temperature 1 – 11 degrees. Wind 3 – 5 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 13.5 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 13h and 42m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 45 species: 3 new (white wagtail, chiffchaff, common snipe, running total = 73 species)

LESSONS LEARNED – If I am tired enough, I can fall asleep on sandstone

IN MY HEAD – Succession (HBO), my health/tiredness, but mostly just enjoying the sun