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For an introduction to the KYST project, see here
KYST 03 After a brief walk through the murky woods at Skovly, I arrived at the coast and found the patch of grass where I had concluded KYST 02 the week before. The sun was not yet risen, but already it was apparent that the weather was mild and the snow and ice that covered most of the rest of the island was nowhere to be seen. Even better, there was no wind, and looking up I could see patches of cloudless sky. I sat still as a pair of buzzards drifted just over me, calling plaintively, one settling on the twisted branches of a nearby birch. A jay shrieked just as an energetic flock of siskin bounced past. No one else about. A good start to the day.
I headed north, facing the ragged collection of fishermens’ huts at ‘Sorthat Odde’. The sun had broken the horizon now, and the fine colours together with the contour-like lines of shingle and seaweed left by the waves caught my eye. I made an unsuccessful study of some mosses, lichen and a small dead fish which I found on the water’s edge (a sea trout, a smolt?), and then a charcoal drawing of an incredible root system of a pine tree, perched on the edge of the dune between the beach and the forest. The black centre surrounded by twisted roots looked like a portal to the underworld.
Eventually I continued north, past the huts and the rather feeble but lovingly restored gun emplacements, and up to the edge of ‘Pyritesø’ (Pyrite Lake) an old clay pit now filled with fresh water and separated from the sea by a thin wall of mud, clay and sandstone. It is here, specifically in the Jurassic ironstone deposited as a by-product of the clay extraction, that Bornholm’s dinosaurs have been found (well, their teeth and the odd footprint). I had a quick look for any fossils, but, no luck. Instead I settled on the wall and made some studies of the tufted ducks and Goosanders resting in the calm waters of the lake. Before my lunch I made by a study of the reflections on the far side of the lake. The waves will eventually break through the wall and then the lake’s present shoreline will become part of Bornholm’s coast.
Incredible to think that just a few hundred meters away, deep in the woods, lies the derelict remains of the ‘Hasle Klinker og Charmottesten Fabrik’ a factory extracting first coal, then clay and kaolin, and producing tiles and refractory mateirals. Closed only in 1980, it was the island’s biggest employer, at one point providing the livelihood for over 600 families.
But now, just the odd dog-walker, a few joggers, some canoeists paddling by, and a birdwatcher friend. Looking to the sea I could see bands of rain passing slowly northwards. The edge of one cloud must have just clipped the island, and for a pair of minutes it sleeted a little, followed by a ten minute burst of bright sunlight. Packing up the M60 I trudged northwards again. Here the coast is rather straight and at one point I could see the distant chimneys of Rønne to the South and Hasle to the North, both about 5km distant. Over-heating in all my gear I sat on the beach and watched a male Long-Tailed Duck feeding not far from the shore. It is a fantastic privilege to share time, to really observe a wild creature going about its business. To watch it struggle for survival, a perfectly evolved amalgamation of form and function. The Long Tailed Duck is an tough little bird, and it was extraordinary to imagine it swimming underwater looking for food on the sea bed, as it periodically disappeared from my view with a rather flamboyant dive.
Reaching my destination, Levka, I was tired now and the wind had picked up. The sky and sea were huge and almost absurdly dramatic. I made a painting in ‘strips’, trying in vain to capture, tame or follow the ever changing movement of tone and colour as the sun set behind the clouds. Each time I looked I became aware of new colours and new movement and the overwhelming hugeness of it all together with my tiredness resulted in a complete and thorough exhaustion. This time I was, thankfully, picked up.
Weather report = overcast, but some very brief sunny spells in the afternoon. 0 – 3 °C. Wind 0 – 3 m/s from West. Visibility: Good. Hours of sunshine: 15 minutes.
Lessons learned – Walk slowly. Before you pack up completely, walk ahead a little just to check that something good is not just around the corner.
Stops with the M60 = 1
Kilometres walked = 5.51km (again!)
Day lasted = 8 hours, 16 minutes
Birds seen and heard = 29 species (12 new ones = running total 35)
Other stuff = A flock of 7 Whooper Swans flew right over my head.
People talked to = 1
In my head = the difference between recording the coastline in a sort of objective and didactic way, and recording my own subjective experiences. The two possible extremes, and the balance between the two. Relationship between observation and perception. Francis Ngannou vs Stipe Miocic. Glad for some birds. Feeling that I’m ‘owed’ some bad weather…