Monday, 20 August 2018

Our Scandinavian Tour - Day 106 - 108

Our Scandinavian Tour - Day 106 - 108

Saturday 18th August 2018  🌞🌞⛅⛅🌧️🌧️🌧️⛅
Mileage 42 from a wild camp near Hirtshals on E39 to Grenen and then back to Rabjerg Mile Camping
Also about 3 πŸ‘£πŸ‘£miles
Parking Co-ordinates 57.65368, 10.45227

A 'borrowed' pic!
This morning we knew we hadn't got very far to go to our planned campsite on the Skagen Peninsula so, partly because the weather was predicted to be sunnyish till 2ish, and partly because we didn't want to arrive too early, we opted to visit Grenen.

Grenen lies at the northernmost point of Denmark right at the end of a sand spit, and it's the place where the Kattegat Sea (which leads to the Baltic Sea) and the Skagerrak strait meet head on, (the Skagerrak is the strait running between Norway, Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark and it connects with the North Sea).

Swimming isn't allowed here because of the very strong currents but it's possible to stand in the water with one foot in each Sea.  However,  it's another tourist hot spot, so to do so you'd have to wait in a very long queue, and anyway, John and I didn't fancy the water after everybody else had washed their feet in it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚! 

Us debating if we should dip our  πŸ‘£πŸ‘£or not!

But we did stand and watch the waves colliding for a while which on this windy day was quite a spectacular site, and we also very much enjoyed our walk along the almost white sand beach that was backed be windswept dunes.

The Waves Colliding 
Around this spit of land there are 60 kms of such beaches and on the Kattegat side the waters are very shallow with gentle waves, but North Sea side it's quite a different tale.  Here the waves crash in and apparently you don't have to go very far out before the water depth reaches as much as 400 metres!

Then once we'd done at the  πŸ–️ - and emptied all the sand⏳  out of our shoes we had another very enjoyable experience!  After nearly 7 weeks of being extremely careful and only putting essential items into our shopping trolley we visited Lidl - and I was like a kid in a🍬 πŸ°πŸ‘ 🍩🍬 πŸ‘ 🍩🍬🍰shop!!  All manner of goodies got chucked in, and if you know me and John that also included the 🍺🍺and πŸ·πŸΎπŸ·that we've been mostly deprived of while we've been in Norway and Sweden - so this weekend should be a very enjoyable one!!!

When we'd hauled all our goodies back to T4rdis2 we turned our wheels towards Rabjerg Mile Camping which has just come back into ACSI season. When we arrived our welcome was very warm from their manager, and we were given a wide choice of  pitches, so we were soon settled for the next few days and all for the princely sum of 19 euros (£18), but if we'd not had our precious green card with us the price would have totted up to about £30 - so once again - cheers ACSI for saving us a nice little packet of money!

Sunday 19th August 2018  ⛅⛅⛅☁☁🌧️☂🌧️🌧️
Mileage 0 today
🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️ 34 miles

Today was to be a cycling day, and after nearly 7 weeks of being locked in our garage our bikes we're raring to go!!  John had planned a ride using some of Skagen's cycle routes but there are so many dedicated paths that take you through the the wild dunes and pine forests where old World War 2 bunkers hide we were  a bit spoiled for choice.

We set off along one called 'Birds of Prey Rule the Skies', apparently the region is very popular with golden eagles, white tailed eagles and buzzards as the patrol high above the dunes before diving to catch small birds, hares or other little creatures who make their homes there,  but we only managed to catch a fleeting glimpse of one unidentifiable predator as he flapped off into the distance!

The Rabjerg Mile Migrating Sand Dune
Two steps forward and one back!
However, one thing that didn't move away from us (although it is travelling) was the massive sand dune of Rabjerg Mile which we came across quite early in our ride.  The migrating dune covers an area of one square kilometre and has a height of 40 metres, but it's quite difficult to climb because it's entirely composed of very soft fine white  sand that sucks your feet in and swallows them, thus making each upward step a battle as you slid back for half the distance of your pace.

Even big kids are allowed to play in the sand
The sand dune was formed on the west coast (Skagerrak Sea) of the peninsula way back in the 16th century, but since then the wind has blown  the 4 million cubic metres of sand across Skagen's headland at a rate of 15 - 20 metres per year towards the Kattegat Sea leaving a sand blasted stony plain in it's wake and burying anything that got in it's path

Once we'd done playing in the sand we remounted and proceeded to Skiveren beach where we paused for coffee while we watched the steel grey waves crash up amongst some old German bunkers, and then it was onwards through more forest and also the village of Tversted. 

Further on still we came across another area of deserted beach, but by this time the rain was just starting to fall, so rather than go any further we stopped off to scoff our lunch before the downpour got going in earnest.  And this was where I realised I was under a bit of a misapprehension😧!

 I thought John had told me our ride would be about 41 kilometres (25 miles), so as our lunch stop was at mile 18 I thought we'd only got about 7 more to do.  However, when I asked him how much further we'd got to go - and he replied 'only about 16 miles' my jaw hit the floor - and that was all to be in the pouring rain😲 - but Hey Ho - our skins are waterproof so it wasn't a problem - although it was a bit challengingπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚!

So as you might imagine, from there we switched on our battery power and just ran for home but even with aid it took us well over an hour - I'm not complaining - HONEST!  It really was lovely to be out cycling again - and it was made all the more special because the area we were passing through was so wild, beautiful and almost totally deserted!

Monday 20th August 2018 🌞🌞⛅⛅⛅🌞🌞⛅
Mileage 0
🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️ 22 Miles

Today our objective was to ride into the town of Skagen and also see some of the peninsula's land marks on the way.  Our main targets were the buried church, the grey lighthouse and also the 'beacon' that has saved many a mariners life!  However, to get to these targets we needed to cross about 8 miles of dune land, but this was very easy because for most of the way we were rolling over a sealed track that cut through the hilly dunes like a very long convoluted noodle.  And the dunes were far from boring on this lovely sunny day because there were loads of swathes of purple heather that was just coming into flower, and also lots of wild roses that had just finished, but now they were smothered in bright red and orange rose hips so made a perfect splash of colour.  Additionally, there were lots of birds about and also some magnificent views out towards the beach and the Kattegat Sea. 

First on our agenda was Saint Laurence's Church - which is now mostly buried in sand!  The church can trace it's history back to the early 1400's, and at that time it's walls stood about 5 metres tall and were of red brick.  But over the following centuries the shifting sand started to swallow it up, and by 1795 the problem was so severe that the King gave his permission for the church to be closed.  Some of it was demolished and the stone was recycled, but the sand hampered this process and up to 3 metres of the walls are still standing under the sand, along with a magnificent alter screen that has 60 gilt figures.  The tower was preserved as a navigation mark, and to make it more pronounced it was painted white - and this is the only bit that is still visible today.  However, the outline of the old church is marked out with stone pillars, so with a bit of imagination, and with the aid of the pictures on the info boards it's possible to see what it was like many years ago.  It also made me wonder, if at some stage in the future, will the old structures reemerge as the sand marches on to claim other things that might be in it's path!

How it used to be
Next came Vippefyret which was originally constructed in 1627 and was Denmark's first bascule light with an open fire basket.  The bascule light was operated by dropping the brazier down to the ground where it would be filled with flammable material and lit.  Then a counter balance was used to lift the basket back into the air so that ships could see it from a great distance.  This was important because just of the coast of Grenen there is a huge reef which caused many ships to come to grief.   Unfortunately, the device  we saw today was surrounded with scaffolding, but it wasn't the original anyway - it seems it was reconstructed in 1913 to mark Skagen's 500th anniversary, but the one that stands now was from as recently as 1958 - therefore, a year younger than me!

Further along our way we stopped off at 'The Grey Lighthouse' which at 46 metres high is Denmark's second tallest!  It was built in 1858, and originally it was situated so that it was an equal distance from both Skagerrak and Kattegat, but now because of the constantly changing sandy landscape the lighthouse is located just a few metres from the Kattegat Sea.   After it's construction it became far safer for ships to sail past Skagen but this was to the detriment of the town folk because they lost income from all the salvage they used to collect along the beaches.   Nowadays the lighthouse no longer serves it's original purpose, it's taken on a new lease of life as a bird experience centre and a cafe, but although we ate our lunch in it's shadow it was our usual picnic style rather than anything we'd got to pay for!

After that we pottered around Skagen's shopping precincts which were filled with lots of boutique and unique shops, but because we've mostly got 'a one in one out rule' within the limited confines of T4rdis2  we didn't buy anything.  And finally, it was just a retracing of our tyre tracks back across the lovely open dunes for a cuppa in the last of the late afternoon sunshine.

Tomorrow we'll move on again so we'll see you from wherever our ship lands next
Bye for now πŸ˜™πŸ˜™

Click here to see our Danish Camping Spots