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HomeEurope TravelClimbing in Denmark – The Gendarme Path

Climbing in Denmark – The Gendarme Path

To rejoice the 100 12 months anniversary of the current Danish/German border in 2020, an excellent pal and I made a decision to hike the 84 kilometre path referred to as Gendarmstien, or The Gendarme Path. It follows the japanese a part of the border on the Danish facet and is roughly comprised of the identical paths the outdated border patrol – the Gendarms – used to police the realm from 1920 to 1958 to stop smugglers bringing in items to Denmark with out paying tax.

The path presents 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 mountain climbing route is split into 5 levels, however may be accomplished in 4 days and even much less. You encounter many enjoyable information about Denmark, its historical past, geology, wildlife alongside the best way.

A terrific route, bordering to excellent! Take a look at the path with map in the long run of the article for extra sensible data.

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 past ice age 10.000 years in the past. The tunnel valley was shaped by meltwater that ran in tunnels below the ice and washed massive quantities of clay, sand and rocks out in entrance of the ice the place it deposited. You’ll be able to see the consequence at the moment 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 way of deep inexperienced birch forests and alongside a shoreline dotted with stunning villas and mansions, this quick stage delivers contrasting views. Particularly Kollund Forest is awe-inspiring with its costal forest. We stored a watch out for the black woodpecker, which is present in solely a only a few locations in Denmark at the moment. Related in dimension to a crow, the black woodpecker is a formidable chook with a robust beak that may strike a tree 20 occasions in simply 2 seconds! Most of the bushes 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 doable 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 night time in a cabin close to Rønshoved.

Superior range!

Stage 2: Tegletapen / Brick stage 

We spent the night time in an enthralling cabin at Naturlejrpladsen close to Rønshoved and awoke prepared to beat 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 inspiration for brickworks courting again so far as to the Center Ages. When a brick was broken throughout 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 full of easy 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 scorching canine from the native scorching canine stand. The city was dwelling to a bunch of artists throughout the time when the realm 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 stunning artistic endeavors.

The day was completely stunning for mountain 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 option to finish an ideal day!

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

Stage 3: Krageetapen / Crow stage 

The third leg of the Gendarmstien path is known as 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 in addition as a result of the trail goes by way of the realm referred to as Kragesand (crow sand).

We wake to the dripping sound of rain on the tent and put the kettle on for espresso, whereas we watch for a brilliant spell. When that doesn’t occur, we pack collectively our stuff as finest as doable 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 could’ve provided 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 outdated days, when the ships left the secure ports heading for the Baltic Sea and past, many risks awaited. Within the 1200s, a pirate referred to as “The Crimson Ons” resided at Skrækkehøj. Right here, surrounded by pure embankments, lay a pirate fort, 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 brilliant spells. It’s fantastic to soak up the solitary great thing about the panorama whereas we stroll, and any rain gloominess is chased away with singing and speaking about vital in addition to unimportant stuff.

What an effective 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 brilliant spell. To sit down below the canvas and put together the dinner over a small fuel burner, whereas the rain is gently tapping was extraordinarily fulfilling and really cosy!

All the pieces simply tastes higher after a 24 kilometre hike!

Stage 4: Strandetapen / Seashore stage 

After a morning dip and shut contact with at the moment’s theme, we’re prepared for stage 4 of Gendarmstien: Strandetapen, or Seashore stage. This leg of the journey offers ample probability 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 shedding Sønderjylland – the southern a part of Denmark – for 56 years. The outdated windmill Dybbøl Mølle stands sentinel over the panorama, that also bears its mark from the historic battle, and an attention-grabbing museum 1,5 km. from Gendarmstien tells the story in regards to the sophisticated and catastrophic battle.

We attain the gorgeous metropolis of Sønderborg and savour an excellent cup of espresso earlier than strolling the harbour promenade in direction of the imposing, medieval fort Sønderborg Slot. Town is alive with folks and it’s a vibrant distinction to the solitary mountain 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 are the Danish beech forests. The woodlands have been below stress within the Center Ages and finally, wooden grew to become a scarcity. To resolve the issue, the Duke declared in the long run of the 1600s, that farmers couldn’t marry till that they had planted bushes within the Duke’s forests. Every farmer needed to plant 10 oak bushes 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 referred to as “Groom’s avenues” and on Gendarmstien, you stroll previous “Groom’s oaks” alongside the roads.

The 19,2 kilometre Seashore stage ends in Høruphav, after an exquisite however moist hike with wonderful views. Whereas a bathe halted our hike for some time, we ready for the final stage of the path and accomplished 2 levels 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 trendy occasions and at the moment there may be only one watermill and 4 windmills left on Als.

This final stage is barely 10 kilometres, and so we determined to hike it in in the future in succession of the Seashore stage. The truth that an excellent pal 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 vital 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 shortage of viewers.

After Høruphav we trekked alongside an enthralling seashore with cottages proper on the seashore 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 an effective way to get in contact with your self, and a fair higher option to get near your pals. These reminiscences we created throughout these days of each fantastic and moist mountain climbing, will stick with me eternally.

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