KYST 32 – from Årsdalehavn to Svenskehavn, 10.08.18

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KYST 32 Great clouds of swallows and martins flittered and chattered around the harbour at Årsdale, but the screaming swifts from last week were gone, with just a few stragglers remaining. The rising sun was obscured behind a thick bank of cloud over the horizon, and the day was warm despite a strong offshore wind. I got to work, making sure to include the lamppost from last week’s final painting (far left).

By the time I had finished a few returning fishermen were sorting the night’s catch. A group of older men shared a coffee by the harbour, some dog walkers appeared, and life returned to the village. Commercial fishing vessels still frequent Årsdale’s harbour and the village retains an authentic charm, without being too touristy.  I walked around the harbour, past the volunteer run shop and stopped by the boules club where I sketched some herring gulls enjoying the morning sun.

The gulls were perched on one of the many rocky islands surrounding the harbour, the granite characteristically rounded and smooth.

I carried on around the coast and walked along the rocky shore, past wonderful houses with fantastic views of the ocean. Banks of threatening clouds rolled in and the wind increased to a gale. After weeks of sun and blue sky, the day felt invigorating and energizing.

I continued heading south over the boulders and rocks, disturbing the ubiquitous common sandpipers that seemed to be strung all the way along the shore. Further on still, gulls, cormorants and a pair of swans perched on a large rocky island just metres away from the shore. I sheltered from the wind under my M60 and spent the next several hours working on a ‘slice painting’, recording the changing light and skyscape. By the time I had finished, the day had brightened, despite the forecast rain (see top)

In a break between slices, I sketched the plants by the shore. The willowherb now with white downy seeds, and a huge wild celery completely dry and gone to seed.

Just as I finished, I was mesmerized by a tiny red spider mite running around on my paper. Remembering Paul Klee’s quote ‘… a line is a dot that went for a walk’, I decided to get the mite working on my behalf and set him on a new piece of paper, where I followed his path with my pencil.

Eventually I moved on and carried on along the coast, sometimes taking the coastal path when the going was too hard. I passed the granite boulder-strewn beach at Skåret and continued to Gulhalds Batteri, an old coastal entrenchment with fine views back towards the lighthouse at Svaneke. Here an open landscape of hawthorn and juniper was grazed by some very friendly horses. The yellowhammers and linnets were practically silent now, and I hadn’t heard a whitethroat for weeks.

Heading towards Svenskehavn I paused by some rocks, cut deep with scars of diabase. The green fringe of seaweed surrounding the rocks was very visible. The tides at Bornholm are very weak, and I had never noticed the green seaweed so exposed, but someone I met on the path explained how the sea on this leeward side of the island had been ‘pushed away’ by the powerful wind and atmospheric pressure. I looked back at the slice painting I had finshed earlier I had noticed how I could see a fringe of green seaweed around the rocks on the last ‘frame’.

At Svenskehavn I finally had some food and a good rest. The irritating gusty wind started to die down a little just as the sun approached the horizon and the colours began to turn. I made two quick studies as the colours really increased in intensity, but wished I had made another one or two, as the orange turned to crimson and then a wonderful pinkish-rose.

KYST 32

Weather report = Mostly cloudy with sunny intervals.  Temperature between 19°C and 23°Cthough it felt cooler in the shade and the wind. Wind between 7 and 11 m/s from the west.  Visibility: good. Hours of sunshine: 5 hours.

Lessons learned – how wonderful to meet people who are following this blog

Stops with the M60 = 2

Kilometers walked = 6.53 km

Day lasted = 15 hours, 27 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 34 species (0 new ones = running total 101)

Other stuff = As I sat by the water painting the green seaweed, a movement by my right hand caught my attention. Looking down, I saw that a small mink – completely oblivious to me – was sniffing around the bag by my feet. I stayed still but made a squeaky noise and it stared at me for what seemed like ages, obviously trying to work out what I was. It showed no fear and at one point actually walked over my shoe. Crazy.

People talked to = 1 + 3 + 3 + 2

In my head – The weather. The rain that never comes. Armageddon. The aftermath of all the family visits. As I ran back to Årsdale harbour to collect my car, I wondered how I had sat there in the dusk with my brother exactly one week previously. Crazy too.

KYST 31 – from Svaneke Lighthouse to Årsdale harbour, 03.08.18

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KYST 31 Still no rain, and yet again a clear almost cloudless sky and a breathtaking sunrise. Today, the light breeze was from the west, meaning an even hotter day. I settled in under the lighthouse and got to work, by now the witch on the bonfire a familiar friend.

The waters under the diving board at Hullehavn were still and untouched. Whilst I painted, the first bathers arrived and jumped in.

I walked through the campsite to my brother’s pitch. My family and friends were visiting and by chance were staying at Hullehavn on the day I passed through on my KYST trip. We sat and had breakfast whilst the children slept on. Soon, I walked on, back down to the coast where I looked once more back towards the lighthouse. For an instant, someone about to dive off the diving board mirrored exactly the position of the witch on the bonfire.

The day was heating up now. I walked on a little to Kirreskær, where some red breasted mergansers were hauled out, preening. I jumped off the rocks into the refreshing and clear water.

I walked on a little over the crumbling granite boulders veined with thick rock crystal. A herring gull appeared white and pristine against the lichen covered rocks. Some hooded crows lurked in the background, surprisingly camouflaged.

Yet another mink appeared, heralded by the cawing of some alarmed hooded crows, and slunk quickly off.

I walked around the cape of Frenne Odde and tried to rest in the shade of the M60, but it was far too hot. I walked onwards and looked across Frenne Bay towards Årsdale, the day’s destination. On the many rocky outcrops in the bay rested hundreds of gulls and cormorants in the oppressive heat.

I tried to protect myself from the burning sun under the M60, but it sheltered me also from the cooling breeze. The gulls in the bay sat and sweltered under a strong facing light. Bands of reddish seaweed stilled the rippling water (see top).

I jumped off the cliffs again into the water then walked on a little and came to a small landing stage. Here I looked back towards the gulls, this time with the light behind me. The head of one exhausted common gull kept slowly drooping, until he awoke with a start, reminding me of a sleepy life drawing model I once had in England.

Time was running out and so was my water. The day was already late and I had barely reached the halfway point. I walked briskly to the granite outcrop of Hestekløve, where there was a fantastic view back towards Frenne Odde, the colours intensifying in the late afternoon light.

At Hulenakke on my way towards Årsdale, I stopped to paint the golden light before it disappeared. I was hungry, thirsty and annoyed that I had left the last part of the journey so late. I forgot my binoculars and had to run back and fetch them.

I finally entered the harbour with an hour to go before sunset. I thankfully refilled my water bottled and boiled some food. Again, the air was filled with the mechanical maniacal screaming of swifts. Just minutes remained for me to finish off with a painting of the harbour arm, and as the sun finally set my brother appeared to collect me.

KYST 31

Weather report = uninterrupted sun all day. Temperature between 19°C and 26°C. Wind between 2 and 5 m/s from the west.  Visibility: good. Hours of sunshine: 16 hours.

Lessons learned – pacing, try to arrive half way on the trip around midday. And don’t run out of water.

Stops with the M60 = 2

Kilometers walked = 8.77 km

Day lasted = 16 hours, 11 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 30 species (1 new one, greenshank = running total 101)

Other stuff = During the walk I passed the wooden hollowed out bench near Grisby, where my family and I had sat almost exactly eleven years ago, whilst holidaying on Bornholm – which resulted in us moving the year after. The walk between Svaneke and Årsdale was my first on Bornholm and occupies a special place in my heart.

People talked to = 4

In my head – the fantastic party, the chaos of family visits

KYST 30 – from Vigehavn to Svaneke Lighthouse, 27.07.18

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KYST 30 Dawn at Vige harbour and, despite the fresh onshore wind, it was already over 20 degrees. The sun broke the horizon and began its journey through a clear and cloudless sky. Nobody was around, but the grinding screams of the energetic swifts filled the air, and a solitary kestrel battled in the breeze (above).

I walked towards Svaneke and paused to paint the five chimneys of Svaneke’s Smokery (one of which was already smoking) – one of the few smokeries remaining in use from the scores that encircled Bornholm a century ago.

Rounding the promonotory at Vagtbod Nakke I came to one of Bornholm’s best preserved coastal entrenchments. These small battlements once encircled much of Bornholm but have now mostly  been flattened or lie hidden under vegetation. Here, however, the small Russian cannons point proudly and unhindered towards the sea, where they once were aimed at the English fleet. Today, I watched sailboats sail past on the strong wind and choppy sea, one of which was skippered by my sister-in-law and her family. Around me the locals walked their dogs.

I painted the dead elm tree just before Svaneke harbour, with the lighthouse in the background. It was burning hot in the sun.

In Svaneke harbour, thousands of tourists milled around in the burning sun. I struggled to find a vantage point in the shade, facing the right way, without the wind in my face. The hordes of tourists and holiday atmosphere felt light years away from my other KYST walks, and I felt uneasy with the attention I received from passersby. I gritted my teeth and tried to capture the energy and light of the harbour before moving swiftly onwards.

Just past the harbour, I noticed how the orange-yellow lichen had started to colonise the old tree with starling nest boxes, a sculptural artwork in its own right. Not long ago my own children had swung from this tree, but it was now much reduced. Happy to be out of the town, I chatted to people about the KYST project.

The lichen covering the granite rocks by the shore was reflected on the chests of the resting common gulls.

I carried on and explored the wild and rocky landscape approaching the lighthouse. The sun was quite low now and I looked back towards the picturesque and historic town of Svaneke, one of Bornholm’s most popular destinations (and the venue for the opening exhibition of the KYST project next year). The church steeple, the Mill and the water tower designed by Jørgen Utzon were all visible. Svaneke means ‘swan bay’ and only later did I notice the happy coincidence of the swan family in the foreground of the painting.

Under the lighthouse I waited out the remains of the day, exhausted and windblown. In front of me, a huge bonfire topped with the effigy of a witch presented a somewhat apocalyptic vision, which fitted well with my mood and the day itself. The witch was meant to have been consumed by flames more than a month previously on midsummer’s night, and one fact that she remained unburnt due to the ongoing drought and resulting ban on open fires, seemed both poetic and strangely portentous at the same time. After an incredible blood-red sunset, my wife and I waited for the appearance of the Blood Moon, yet another symbol of an apocalyptic future.

KYST 30 

Weather report = sun for most of the day, some clouds in the early evening. Temperature between 21 °C and 29°C. Wind between 3 and 8 m/s from the northeast. Visibility: medium. Hours of sunshine: 14 hours.

Lessons learned – it is hard to paint when the sun and wind direction conspire to make it impossible to look towards the sea without being burned.

Stops with the M60 = 1

Kilometers walked = 8.59 km

Day lasted = 16 hours, 18 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 28 species (2 new ones, common sandpiper and canada goose = running total 100)

Other stuff = No warblers singing for the first time in months – rounded my second corner of Bornholm and heading due south from now on.

People talked to = 25 (!)

In my head – party planning, Armageddon…

KYST 29 – from Listed to Vigehavn (Svaneke), 20.07.18

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KYST 29 The single day of rain we had last week turned out not to have heralded the end of the drought, much to the chagrin of the local farmers, and the hot, dry sunny weather has continued. I arrived back at Listed to clear blue skies and a fresh northwesterly. I got straight to work, painting the rising sun reflected in the windows of the harbour buildings.

Walking through the harbour flooded with a golden light, I sheltered from the wind behind a wall, where a random collection of shadows and objects caught my attention.

I had an appointment with a journalist from the local radio station for a live interview. While I waited by the harbour arm I painted a pair of mute swans contentedly sleeping by the shore.

When we were done I stayed for a while and sketched the teenage eider ducks hauled out on rocks in the surf. I have been following the development of the eider ducklings over the last couple of months or so, and it was amusing to see them almost full size now, but retaining a downy fluff on their rumps.

I packed up and walked on – to Gule Hald, a rocky peninsula on the east side of the harbour transected by a huge diabase vein, as well as smaller veins of sandstone.

A little further on, just past the Vasa stream, I looked back towards Listed and tried to capture the energy in the wind that had now picked up a little (see top). Further on still, I came across another vein of diabase cutting through the Svaneke granit. Here the difference between the rounded coarse-grained granite and the dark, angular fine-grained diabase was particularly obvious. It was incredible to imagine how, millions of years ago, tensions in the earth’s crust had caused the granite to fracture and crack, allowing magma from the core of the earth to force its way into the fissures and solidify as dolerite.

I walked around ‘Møllenake’ – the rocky and dry terrain between Listed and Svaneke. Apart from single bird, the warblers had mostly stopped singing now, and the majority of the wild flowers had run to seed. It felt like a genuine summer’s day, and the unfamiliar soft doughy shapes of the Svaneke-granite contributed to the sensation of having passed through some sort of temporal and spatial portal or milestone into a new Bornholm – subtly different to the one I had walked through over the last two or three months.

The low humidity, wind and overhead sun meant that the watercolours dried instantly and it was almost impossible to paint. I decided to make small quick sketches of the rocky shapes as I walked through the shorescape towards Svaneke, recording the intensifying colours as I approached the end of the day and my target, Vigehavn – the smokery chimneys of which can be seen in the last ‘frame’ of the painting.

I finally crawled into the little harbour at Vigehavn and sat exhausted at the end of the pier, while screaming gangs of swifts swooped and plunged overhead.  With my pencil I traced their flightpaths on my paper and the darkening sky.

KYST 29

Weather report = Unbroken sun the whole day. Temperature between 18 °C and 22°C. Wind between 4 and 8 m/s from the northwest. Visibility: good. Hours of sunshine: 16.5 hours.

Lessons learned – don’t put your favorite paintbrush on a boulder where it might fall and never be seen again. Don’t sit by a rubbish bin while painting birds, or people putting rubbish in the bin will cause the birds to fly off…

Stops with the M60 = 1

Kilometers walked = 8.18 km

Day lasted = 16 hours, 48 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 33 species (0 new ones = running total 98)

Other stuff = There were quite a few young herons flying slowly north-east into the wind along the coast through the day. I watched a pair land on a rock, where a large family of eiders was resting. The slender graceful herons and the dumpy squat eiders seemed surprised at the sight of one another and faced off awkwardly, the eiders eventually succeeding in putting the herons on their way again.

People talked to = 2

In my head – new bed, parental visit, family party planning…

KYST 28 – from Bølshavn to Listed, 12.07.18

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KYST 28 We drove through Bornholm under a divided sky – to our left, and receding, a cloudless sky – to our right and oncoming, thick grey clouds. At the end of the pier arm at Bølshavn I made a slice painting, recording the dynamic skyscape. I was gracious for the humidity in the air and the energy from a brisk onshore wind, but soon I was cold and I was thankful had remembered my gloves (see top).

By the time I was finished, the day was already in full swing, with bathers jumping off the pier for their morning swim. I packed up and wandered on passing through one of Bornholm’s largest and richest coastal meadows. There was a profusion of colour with yellow and purple loosestrife, hemp agrimony, viper’s bugloss and chicory particularly abundant.

I walked on through an open area, grazed by sheep, under a light mist of rain. By the time I had set up my M60 for some food and a nap, the rain had increased in severity – the first on Bornholm for many, many weeks – and I woke to the evocative and comforting patter of rain drops on canvas. Under the shelter of the M60 I painted some juvenile common gulls. I thought back to the baby gulls I had seen just south of Gudhjem a few weeks ago.

Hidden amongst the mustard coloured lichen on the rocks rested two female red breasted mergansers.

I enjoyed the humidity in the air and its impact on my watercolours and paper.

When the rain had died back down to a dusty drizzle I packed up and continued along the path. Compared to last week’s arduous trek the going was easy and I soon arrived at ‘Hellig Kvinde’ (the Holy Lady), a collection of stone monoliths with eleven stones forming an oval ring. According to legend the tall stone was once a holy lady who was forced to petrify her children (the small stones) in order to protect them from danger. The monoliths now sit by the busy coastal road and I was eager to get back to the sea.

A photograph of Hellig Kvinde from 1869 from almost the same position reveals how much impact a few thousand grazing sheep can have on a landscape.

Billedet fra Svaneke Arkiv, se flere gamle billeder her http://www.bornholmerneshistorie.dk

I trudged on, keeping to the coast instead of the coastal path, and soon came to a fence blocking my way. Armed with my new found knowledge relating to my rights on Denmark’s coast, I hopped over the fence and continued along the rocks and meadows, forcing my way through a wild and lush terrain flanked to my right by an impenetrable and unkempt wood with huge mature ash and alder trees. I pushed through and eventually rejoined the coastal path just before Høl, where I paused for a while. Here I looked north east and recorded the fact that I had crossed the border between the dark and angular gneiss bedrock into the softer and crumblier Svaneke granite.

In the distance I could see some gulls flying repeatedly around some tall trees, hanging in the wind. With my telescope I could see that they were in fact plucking cherries from the outermost branches – not something I had seen before.

By now time was running on and I passed through the charming Høl Havn and into Listed proper. Listed is another of those idyllic fishing villages strung along Bornholm’s coast, with a gentle and laid back demeanor. I sat on the gravelly beach and painted the extraordinarily rich wild flowers and grasses flanking the harbour.

At the harbour in Listed, a live Jazz band performed in the café, and a steady stream of tourists mulled around in the early evening gloom. I sat on one of the pier arms and finished off the day, exhausted but – as ever – thankful and invigorated by the day’s unfolding.

KYST 28

Weather report = A few minutes of sun to start with, then overcast with scattered showers throughout the day. Temperature between 15 °C and 18°C. Wind between 6 and 8 m/s from the east. Visibility: good. Hours of sunshine: 0.5 hours.

Lessons learned – I’ve lost the bag of pegs for the M-60. Boulders worked fine.

Stops with the M60 = 2

Kilometers walked = 6.93 km

Day lasted = 17 hours, 5 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 28 species (0 new ones = running total 98) difficult to hear birds with the surf…

Other stuff = According to the information panel (and various other sources) sailors and wayfarers would greet the Hellig Kvinde standing stones (the lady and her children) as they passed. For how long have they been doing that? When did they stop? How do we know people actually did? When did the story of the story start?

People talked to = 1

In my head – Croatia-England – how quickly ‘It’s Coming Home’ turned into ‘oh well, I might as well go home…’ The Hellig Kvinde story got me thinking – it actually encapsulates rather neatly the paradox of parenthood – our need to protect our children coupled with our desire to have them experience the world. Over protection = petrification… or what?

KYST 27 – from Haralds Havn to Bølshavn, 06.07.18

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See here for an introduction to the KYST project

KYST 27 The rising sun was at first obscured behind a distant cloudbank low over the horizon, but in no time it had risen free and flooded the day with warming light. From my elevated vantage point on the side of a hill looking down to the coastal path and the sea beyond, I consumed the day and the ever-changing panorama spread out before me. There was no wind, and no sign or sound of humanity. The liquid twittering of skylarks filled the air, periodically broken by the mew of a buzzard or a pheasant’s sudden crow. A squadron of screaming swifts passed low over the field, and I felt submerged in a rare moment of harmony.

Eventually the moment passed and I packed my things and headed down to the coast. As before, the coastal path was divorced from the rocky coast and I continued for a while, until I came to a path down to the shore. I had arrived at Ypnasted, a tiny fishing hamlet with a few wonderful old houses spread along a stony beach, the wharf overgrown and long since bereft of fishing boats. I tried to walk back along the coast to see what I had missed, but the going was difficult. I paused by a ‘jættegryde’, where wave-thrown rocks had polished and worn the bedrock smooth over many millennia – its position high above today’s high water mark testament to the changing sea level of the Baltic sea since the last ice age.

I studied the flowers in the coastal meadow
(from left) Blackberry/Brombær/Rubus fruticosus, Sorel sp./Klippe-skræppe/Rumex bryhnii, Sea aster/Strandasters/Tripoliumpannocium, Hairy willowherb/Lådden dueurt/Epilobium hirsutum, Purple Loosestrife/Kattehale/Lythrum salicaria

At Ypnasted the pebbled beach from the Littorina sea, when the sea level was higher than today, is particularly obvious. Here I sat and looked northwest, painting the profusion of wild flowers. In the reed bed to my right a solitary reed warbler chirruped and grinded his hypnotic song.

On the sand under my feet grew a tangle of flat pea

I pushed on, but once again the coastal path headed into a wood, far from the shore. Eventually I took a very small and unkempt path which led me to the rocky shore, a wonderful and wild area where I managed to eat and sleep. The gneiss bedrock was layered and flat in places, with some of the most flamboyant lichen I had seen.

I had woken to a fierce sun and a blustery wind, but feeling refreshed I decided to keep to the rocks instead of heading back to the path. The going was hard and I was forced to stop for a breather every 100 metres or so, but I was rewarded by some truly wild and remote coast. The ongoing drought had killed off all but the most hardy grasses and plants, and the dead grass crunched underfoot as I passed over dried out pools and empy streams. Pausing on some rocks before I reached Bølshavn, the day’s destination, I sketched some gulls basking in the sun. The blustery wind suddenly threw my water pot onto my painting. The tranquility of the morning had long since evaporated in the hot sun.

I painted the cormorants drying their wings on the rocks. I worked quickly and energetically, eager not to get caught in detail that often results from low humidity and sunlight (see top).

Just before Bølshavn I stopped on the pebbly beach for a much needed break and some food. I was exhausted and spent, though the day offered still three hours of sunlight. I wandered around Bølshavn aimlessly, another quaint and picturesque fishing hamlet long since taken over by tourists and summerhouses. I found it difficult to muster up enough energy for a final assault, and I floundered and fussed around. Eventually I positioned myself at the end of the harbour arm and witnessed the changing colours of the lichen covered rocks as they were lit up and then deserted by the setting sun behind me.

KYST 27

Weather report = Overcast to start with, then sun in the afternoon. Temperature between 17 °C and 22°C (though it was baking in the sun). Wind between 4 and 6 m/s from the west. Visibility: good. Hours of sunshine: 7.5 hours.

Lessons learned – tape your painting down if its windy…

Stops with the M60 = 0

Kilometers walked = 7.87 km

Day lasted = 17 hours, 13 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 40 species (1 new one, reed warbler = running total 98)

Other stuff = when I began the KYST project in the winter, people were few and far between, but would often pause for a brief chat on the coastal path. Now, there are more people about, but no one approaches me or talks to me. Either I have managed to create an air of hostility, or people are less interested in the hot weather (tourists?). Probably a bit of both…

People talked to = 0

In my head – The Patrick Melrose novels again, the books have really infested my head. England-Sweden. Cormier-Miocic.

 

 

 

KYST 26 – from Kelse å to Haralds Havn, 29.06.18

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KYST 26 Two pebbles still remained from the tower of five I had placed on the beach to mark (incorrectly) the half-way point of the KYST project last week. It was warm and completely still, and again I was blessed with a truly spectacular sunrise.

Leaving the beach at Kelse å, I headed southeast, keeping to the rocky shore and passing through an area of rounded and weathered bedrock, where I stopped for breakfast.

Passing through some truly spectacular beachfront properties, some with their own private mooring berths, I clambered over the rocks and kept to the shore, eventually arriving at a large open area with towers of bedrock and large boulders scattered over the shore. Accompanied by the ceaseless singing of linnets and whitethroats I looked towards the rising sun.

While I was painting a breeze suddenly whipped up from nowhere. Within just twenty minutes a strong easterly wind had agitated the sea and completely changed the character and energy of the day. I sat further up and painted the first half of a time slice painting. Then, I had to race back to the car, and drive home for my son’s graduation party at our house for his class. I returned within an hour, disorientated and unsettled, and finished the painting – the light a little duller now as the sun shone through some cirrus clouds.

I walked on, along the coastal path looking down to the rocky shore. I sheltered behind some bushes and painted the impossible pink of a Japanese rugosa rose, an invasive ubiquitous alien species on Bornholm’s coast.

Continuing along the path I passed through some small wooded glades carpeted with yellowed and dying wild garlic – a catastrophic vision, as though the land had been flooded and scoured by a huge tidal wave. The path was high above the sea now and I tried to make some forays down to the coast but the going was difficult. Eventually I arrived at Randkløve – a vast open area with huge fissures and fractures in the gneiss bedrock. Incredibly, it was my first time here and I relished the sublime spectacle of the waves crashing into the angular rocks (see top). I sketched the gulls gliding on the on-shore wind

The visibility was fantastic, and the familiar silhouette of the islands of Christiansø and Frederiksø on the horizon less than 20 km distant, was particularly clear from my clifftop vantage point. With my telescope, incredibly, I could make out individual windows on the houses. I imagined the island’s 100 or so inhabitants going about their daily business, all of them encompassed within the arc of my telescope’s eye.

After a short sleep in the sun, it was time to push on. The path now was completely divorced from the coast, passing through a wild and unkempt wood. I walked past the remnants of a once glorious but now overgrown garden, and the whole area seemed somewhat melancholic and secretive. Eventually I managed to find a path down to the coast and yet another private mooring wharf. Here I made a sketch of the wild flowers in the sheltered coastal meadow (marsh woundwort and wild carrot).

Far from the main road and hidden from the coastal path with the waves crashing into the jagged rocks, the area retained a slightly eerie sense of otherness, but also of faded glory. I painted some cormorants huddled atop an impressive rock feature known as ‘white hat’, the sea and light breathtaking.

With my telescope, I had a better view of the cormorants.

I finished the day by walking away from the coast, up the gentle incline towards the main road. Glad for the distance and the sense of space, I looked back towards the sea over the ripened fields and the wooded coastal path, and I witnessed the kaleidoscopic colours of the setting sun. I had reached the true half way point of the KYST project.

KYST 26

Weather report = Sunny periods throughout the day. Temperature between 20°C in the early morning and down to 15°C in the evening. Wind from 2 and up to 9 m/s from the east. Visibility: fantastic. Hours of sunshine: 10 hours.

Lessons learned – don’t forget your lighter or matches, or you’ll be very, very hungry.

Stops with the M60 = 0

Kilometers walked = 9.46 km

Day lasted = 17 hours, 31 minutes (going down again…)

Birds seen and heard = 32 species (0 new ones = running total 97) definitely tailing off now…

Other stuff = what are the rules regarding private land in regards to the coastline in Denmark? How is it possible that so much of the coastline is open to all, and yet there are some areas fenced off?

People talked to = 1

Snakkede med = 1

In my head – My son’s graduation – enormous pride mixed with bewilderment and lack of understanding of the local customs regarding graduation. The World Cup. The incoming invasion of English family guests in the summer. I know I will be walking in Svaneke when they come. Each week I note how much closer I am to Svaneke when I look down the coast.

 

KYST 25 – from Kobbe Å to Kelse Å, 22.06.18

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See here for an introduction to the KYST project

KYST 25 It was so early when I woke that the cat didn’t even bother begging for food. I had returned from London late the previous evening and was, yet again, exhausted and underslept. At the start point by the Kobbe stream I had an appointment with Stefan from the local TV station, who wanted to make a short piece on the project. It was windy and even a little chilly, but we were both treated to a spectacular sunrise.

I was barely able to string a sentence together, and sat under the M60 brolly, sheltered from the wind. I embarked on a slice painting, recording the brief shower, the retreating clouds and the emergence of fine weather. By the time I had finished, the day was warm and I was suffocating under far too many layers. Steffan had left and I wandered onwards along the rocky shore.

This was a section of the coast I had never seen before. The going was extremely rough with savage crags and outcrops of gneiss bedrock separated by narrow coastal meadows with tussocks of grass and sedge and the occasional stony beach. The coastal path, as it is, was up by the main road, and I decided to keep to the shore as much as possible. Exhausted with the effort of hauling all my gear I took a break for a while, where I painted the meadow.

Walking on, I came to Himmerigsport, a small rocky promontory filled with deep fissures, clefts and cracks, and dried up rock pools. The bedrock was streaked with pinkish veins of pegmatite, a crystalline igneous rock that was formed during the final stages of the magma’s crystalisation. As they are coarse-grained, they are eroded more quickly than the surrounding gneiss bedrock by the action of the waves and wind, forming many of the cracks and fissures. I painted one rock face, lit hard and high by the mid-day and midsummer sun.

In Canterbury just 24 hours previously, I had given a talk about Land Art workshops for people with long term conditions, and I felt inspired to make some pebble towers: always relaxing and rewarding.

I stumbled on, cursing all my gear, over the craggy coast and through meadows pot-holed with invisible gullies and holes. Truly, this part of the coast is little known and seen. Though just one hundred metres from the coastal road, I didn’t see a single soul all day and I felt pleasantly marooned from the rest of Bornholm, and indeed the world.

Somehow the day was running out and I was only half way. I walked onwards, stopping by a meadow with access from the main road, to record some of the floral diversity I had been keeping an eye out for during the day. There were so many other new flowers that I hadn’t seen the previous week.

from left – Garden Loosestrife/Almindelig Fredløs, Rosebay Willowherb/Gederams, Bindweed/Snerle, Hemp Agrimony/Hjortetrøst and (bottom) Yellow Toadflax/Torskemund

Eventually I arrived at my destination – a small semicircular bay with a narrow stony beach where the tiny Kelse steam empties into the sea. The rain from the day before, the first in months, had had little impact and the stream was nothing more than a trickle, disappearing into the pebbles before reaching the sea. This bay actually marks the site of a large vein of dolorite, a valley reaching all the way into the centre of Bornholm, where it is known as Ekkodalen. On this, the longest day of the year, it seemed fitting that I should arrive at midsommer on the arm of a huge valley pointing all the way to the centre of the island like a giant clock hand. I made a stone tower, and painted the light and sky changing as the day faded – a huge rainstorm emptying into the sea, before finer weather returned just as the sun set – nearly 18 hours after it had risen so spectacularly in the early morning (see top).

KYST 25

Weather report = Cloudy to start off with, with a very small rain shower. Sunny periods for the rest of the day. Temperature between 11 °C in the early morning and evening and 18 °C in the afternoon. Wind between 11 and 7 m/s from the west (though I was sheltered most of the day). Visibility: fantastic. Hours of sunshine: 10 hours.

Lessons learned – I think I was too tired to learn anything. Oh yes = don’t lose the edge of the magic tape, you’ll never find it again.

Stops with the M60 = 4

Kilometers walked = 8.42 km

Day lasted = 17 hours, 43 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 37 species (2 new ones = curlew and green sandpiper  = running total 97)

Other stuff = waders on return – the mournful wail of a curlew flying overhead, together with green sandpiper flushed from a coastal meadow, in some ways heralded the onset of autumn and the change in the flow of the year.

People talked to = 1

In my head – The previous 24 hours had been hectic. My mind raced with the garbled intensity of my impressions from a lightning trip to Canterbury and England.

KYST 24 – from Tuleknald (Gudhjem) to Kobbe å, 15.06.18

For at læse denne KYST 24 blog på Dansk, se her…

See here for an introduction to the KYST project

Mild and still, with a thick layer of cloud, the day started imperceptibly, with no indication of the rising sun other than an gradual lightening. I started the day where I had ended it the week before, looking south past the Randkløverne towards Melsted and beyond.

Just metres away, a pair of common gull chicks gradually became used to my presence and emerged from behind a rock, under the watchful eye of their parents. The mewing of aggressive common gulls was to be a sound that followed me throughout the day. Across the sea, dark clouds threatened showers, but apart from a light dusting, the rain never came.

Nearby I watched a pair of hooded crows feed their newly fledged and vociferous young. The bushes around were full with baby birds, great tits, blue tits and linnets. It was as if all the island’s birds had fledged on the same day. I was drawn back to the local wild flowers (from the left clockwise, Hawkbit, Sheep’s bit scabious, Tufted vetch, Common centaury and Honeysuckle).

Eventually I packed up and walked on towards Melsted, the next town after Gudhjem. I passed through a campsite where everyone was still asleep, and continued on to a rocky outcrop where I could see Melsted’s small harbour arm.

The sun, now emerged and hot, passed across a rocky tower. I painted it both before and after a short nap under the M60 umbrella.

I was woken by the cacophonous shrieking of a common gull that actually landed on the M60, just above my head (photo).

On the beach at Melsted, I was drawn again to the incredible diversity of flowers (Common Nipplewort, Foxglove and ? and ?).

Melsted is a pearl of village, charming and quiet, despite being so close to Gudhjem. I’ve lived on Bornholm for ten years but had never been there. I wandered around for a while soaking up the peaceful atmosphere, and visited some friends where I refilled my water bottles. I was jaded and irritable: despite the fine weather, the day was challenging and my creative eyes were flagging. On the harbour arm I painted the gulls resting on the rocks while a procession of locals bathers jumped off the pier into the sea.

Melsted is bordered to the south by an open area, grazed by sheep, known to the locals as ‘little Scotland’. Here the parched grass crunched underfoot and yellowhammers, linnets and whitethroats kept an unceasing chatter amongst the juniper bushes (see top). I jumped off the jagged rocks into the invigorating sea, my first time in this year. Afterwards I sat and painted the shadows on a rock. Underfoot, amongst the vegetation surrounding now dried-out pools, thousands of newly metamorphosed minute toads walked and hopped about.

Further on another large campsite bordered the coast. I was feeling a little unsocial and walked quickly through the delicious haze of bacon and sausage smoke. Just past the campsite, I was again stopped in my tracks by some amazing wild flowers, this time Greater Knapweed.

I walked on to the day’s destination, the mouth of the small Kobbe Stream and enjoyed the gradual unfolding of the sunset.

KYST 24

Weather report = Cloudy with dusting of rain in early morning, otherwise sunny with a  few clouds. Temperature between 17 °C and 23 °C , don to 12 in the evening. Wind between 2 and 4 m/s from the west. Visibility: fantastic. Hours of sunshine: 13.5 hours. The hot and dry weather continues.

Lessons learned – Flowers, flowers, flowers

Stops with the M60 = 1

Kilometers walked = 8.43 km

Day lasted = 17 hours, 36 minutes

Birds seen and heard = 37 species (0 new ones! = running total 95)

Other stuff = tired, just tired

People talked to = 1 + 4

In my head = … thoughts relating to the presentation and talk I’m giving at a conference in Canterbury on Thursday (to a soundtrack of ‘Starlight’ by Muse, the earworm to beat all earworms).