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HomeEurope TravelClimbing in Denmark – The Gendarme Path

Climbing in Denmark – The Gendarme Path

To rejoice the 100 yr anniversary of the current Danish/German border in 2020, a very good good friend and I made a decision to hike the 84 kilometre path known as Gendarmstien, or The Gendarme Path. It follows the japanese a part of the border on the Danish aspect and is roughly comprised of the identical paths the previous border patrol – the Gendarms – used to police the world from 1920 to 1958 to stop smugglers bringing in items to Denmark with out paying tax.

The path gives sights of each historic significance in addition to scenic and was the primary route in Denmark to obtain the European High quality Path certification. The 84 kilometre climbing route is split into 5 phases, however may be accomplished in 4 days and even much less. You encounter many enjoyable info about Denmark, its historical past, geology, wildlife alongside the way in which.

An important route, bordering to excellent! Try the path with map in the long run of the article for extra sensible info.

Stage 1: Bjergetapen / Mountain stage 

The primary leg of the path is named Bjergetapen – Mountain stage – due to the various hills and ravines that have been created over the last ice age 10.000 years in the past. The tunnel valley was shaped by meltwater that ran in tunnels beneath the ice and washed massive quantities of clay, sand and rocks out in entrance of the ice the place it deposited. You may see the consequence in the present day within the type of the wealthy clay soil, the steep slopes and gorges in addition to the various springs, lakes and streams alongside the trail.

From deep ravines to charming meadows, by means of deep inexperienced birch forests and alongside a shoreline dotted with lovely villas and mansions, this brief stage delivers contrasting views. Particularly Kollund Forest is awe-inspiring with its costal forest. We saved a watch out for the black woodpecker, which is present in solely a only a few locations in Denmark in the present day. Related in measurement to a crow, the black woodpecker is a powerful chicken with a robust beak that may strike a tree 20 occasions in simply 2 seconds! Lots of the timber within the forest bear witness to its visits, and whereas we noticed the various holes, the woodpecker itself didn’t reveal itself.

The stage ends in Sønderhav after solely 15 kilometres, starting at Padborg Practice station, so its attainable to reach by practice within the afternoon and get began on the path. We, nevertheless, had begun the hike a bit earlier and walked one other 3,5 kilometres to spent the evening in a cabin close to Rønshoved.

Superior variety!

Stage 2: Tegletapen / Brick stage 

We spent the evening in an enthralling cabin at Naturlejrpladsen close to Rønshoved and awakened prepared to overcome the following stage of Gendarmstien; Tegletapen, or Brick stage. We began by strolling previous a monument to the primary Danish Queen; Margrethe I, as she is meant to have died on her ship simply off the coast again in 1412.

In any other case, this 20 kilometre stretch was clearly outlined by the various brickworks (as many as 76!) that operated on this space. As a result of the Ice Ages deposited the best clay on this space, it grew to become the muse for brickworks relationship again so far as to the Center Ages. When a brick was broken through the baking course of, it was both tossed out into the firth or used as basis for the various jetties. This implies, that the seashores alongside the path are stuffed with clean brick stones in all sizes.

The “capital” of the brickworks was Egernsund, the place we crossed the bascule bridge and admired the brickwork sculptures simply off the bridge, while devouring a sizzling canine from the native sizzling canine stand. The city was house to a gaggle of artists through the time when the world was a part of Germany. From 1880 to 1920, the Ekensund Artists’ Colony was Germany’s model of the Danish “Skagen Painters” and created many lovely artworks.

The day was completely lovely for climbing, and we washed away the journey mud within the firth after we’d arrange tent on a primitive (and free!) camp at Brunsnæs. Sitting collectively across the campfire with fellow hikers and exchanging tales and laughs was an ideal approach to finish an ideal day!

Little did we all know, that the following day was going to be radically totally different.

Stage 3: Krageetapen / Crow stage 

The third leg of the Gendarmstien path is called Krageetapen, or Crow stage. Not (solely) as a result of we traverse the again of the past of the peninsula Broagerland (in Danish, a distant place is named “the place the crows flip again”) but additionally as a result of the trail goes by means of the world known as Kragesand (crow sand).

We wake to the dripping sound of rain on the tent and put the kettle on for espresso, whereas we look ahead to a vibrant spell. When that doesn’t occur, we pack collectively our stuff as greatest as attainable and head out on the path, grateful for our raincoats.

This stage of the path is serene, solitary and sandy. If the climate had been higher, it will’ve supplied many possibilities for a dip or two. The route alternates between coastal trails and roads alongside the various grainfields. As a peaceable, life-giving vein, the firth blends into the panorama. However within the previous days, when the ships left the secure ports heading for the Baltic Sea and past, many risks awaited. Within the 1200s, a pirate known as “The Crimson Ons” resided at Skrækkehøj. Right here, surrounded by pure embankments, lay a pirate fortress, and lots of harmless folks have been held captive within the murky basements.

These tales add color to an in any other case gray and moist day with some vibrant spells. It’s fantastic to absorb the solitary great thing about the panorama whereas we stroll, and any rain gloominess is chased away with singing and speaking about necessary in addition to unimportant stuff.

What a good way to reaffirm friendships!

We hiked a bit additional than the outlined leg of 19 kilometres, so as to arrange camp at one other (free!) primitive campsite and handle to arrange tent throughout a vibrant spell. To sit down beneath the canvas and put together the dinner over a small fuel burner, whereas the rain is gently tapping was extraordinarily fulfilling and really cosy!

The whole lot simply tastes higher after a 24 kilometre hike!

Stage 4: Strandetapen / Seaside stage 

After a morning dip and shut contact with in the present day’s theme, we’re prepared for stage 4 of Gendarmstien: Strandetapen, or Seaside stage. This leg of the journey supplies ample likelihood for bathing. If solely the climate had been nicer..

We stroll previous the historic Dybbøl Banke, the place the Danes took a beating by the German forces again in 1864 and ended up dropping Sønderjylland – the southern a part of Denmark – for 56 years. The previous windmill Dybbøl Mølle stands sentinel over the panorama, that also bears its mark from the historic battle, and an fascinating museum 1,5 km. from Gendarmstien tells the story in regards to the sophisticated and catastrophic battle.

We attain the attractive metropolis of Sønderborg and savour a very good cup of espresso earlier than strolling the harbour promenade in the direction of the imposing, medieval fortress Sønderborg Slot. The town is alive with folks and it’s a vibrant distinction to the solitary climbing we’ve been doing the final couple of days.

The path follows the harbour and seashores earlier than, in and after Sønderborg. Then we enter the inexperienced cathedrals which can be the Danish beech forests. The woodlands have been beneath stress within the Center Ages and finally, wooden grew to become a scarcity. To unravel the issue, the Duke declared in the long run of the 1600s, that farmers couldn’t marry till they’d planted timber within the Duke’s forests. Every farmer needed to plant 10 oak timber or 15 beeches and take care of them for 3 years, earlier than he may current his bride to the priest. This scheme continued for greater than 100 years, and to today there are nonetheless some locations known as “Groom’s avenues” and on Gendarmstien, you stroll previous “Groom’s oaks” alongside the roads.

The 19,2 kilometre Seaside stage ends in Høruphav, after a beautiful however moist hike with superb views. Whereas a bathe halted our hike for some time, we ready for the final stage of the path and accomplished 2 phases in 1 day.

Stage 5: Mølleetapen / Mill stage 

The ultimate leg of Gendarmstien is named Mølleetapen, or Mill stage. All through the ages, there have been 75 mills on the island of Als, of which 10 have been watermills. Among the mills have been destroyed by explosive fires, however a lot of the mills have succumbed to fashionable occasions and in the present day there may be only one watermill and 4 windmills left on Als.

This final stage is simply 10 kilometres, and so we determined to hike it in sooner or later in succession of the Seaside stage. The truth that a very good good friend had joined us in Sønderborg and we may relieve ourselves of our heavy backpacks in her automotive, made us (suppose we have been) mild and quick. As we have been strolling, we fist talked in regards to the necessary issues in our lives, then the unimportant issues and ended up simply silent and content material in one another’s firm, earlier than bursting right into a communal “Bohemian Rhapsody”, grateful for the dearth of viewers.

After Høruphav we trekked alongside an enthralling seaside with cottages proper on the seaside and noticed many geese and birds on this stage of the path. The final kilometres went throughout streams and thru fields earlier than we reached the ultimate vacation spot, simply outdoors of the little city of Skovby.

Climbing is a good way to get in contact with your self, and a fair higher approach to get near your mates. These reminiscences we created throughout these days of each fantastic and moist climbing, will stick with me perpetually.

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