Where we visit Tisvildeleje beach, cycle the rural roads and lanes around Nyborg & a bracing walk around the interesting headland of Fyns Hoved.
From our quaint farm aire by the raspberry bushes, we drove up to Tisvildeleje beach on the north-west coast of this area of Sjælland. It was mentioned in our ‘Wild Guide to Scandinavia’ book, but following the GPS coordinates in the book almost ended in disaster. The road led through tiny residential streets, made narrower by huge mounds of recent tree and hedge cuttings that had been left uncollected on the verges, before arriving at the ‘car-park’ which was a single space on the narrow roadside. It looked much more like a passing place than a usable lay-by, and the road ahead was a dead-end. We had to reverse back 50m to the last junction, being watched by bemused locals, who then helpfully informed us where suitable beach parking was. We sheepishly made our way there to find a massive beach-front car-park that could easily accommodate 400+ cars; there were five on site, so we had a little more space to fit into than on our previous stop.
We parked up and walked barefoot along the beach away from town, dipping our toes in the lapping water as we went. The sun was bright and strong, feeling very warm on our skin when not concealed by cloud. There were a few other walkers with their dogs doing the same paddling, along with a couple of nude swimmers calmly braving the Baltic waters. We walked slowly down the sands for a few kilometres, paddling in the shallows, before crossing into the raised dunes behind for a different perspective. The beach was long and clean, and with the sun joining us on occasion our walk was a lazy delight. We returned back along the sand, soaking up rays and thoroughly chilled.
On our return we were approached to undertake a survey by a guy representing VisitDenmark, so we chatted a while as we completed his many questions. We made him a tea and had a long chat about our impressions of Denmark, and learned of his unfortunate dismissal from journalism at the hands of new ruthless American owners, leaving him currently stuck doing jobs well below his qualifications and experience. We overnighted in another aire in a large family home garden, offered to passing travellers by the owners who themselves are keen motorhomers. They asked for a small contribution from those who consume any services, either electricity, water or bin bags, which is more than fair, but simply stopping overnight is entirely free. We were joined late, after sunset, by one other motorhome, who was gone again before we opened our blinds.
We moved on again, this time to Kongshøj camping, where we planned a few static days. We seemed to be stuck in Groundhog Day with the weather, constant high winds and stormy days keeping us safely hunkered down inside. Our booze supply had been depleted, so we made plans to pick up more. We noted there was a craft brewery at a farmhouse about 12km away, so we decided to brave the weather and cycle there. We followed an off-road portion through a forest park, parallel to the sea coast heading north. The weather brightened considerably, becoming sunny and dry. Decent compacted gravel paths led through beautiful fir-heavy parkland to reach Holckenhavn Slot, a private manor house built in red brick in a late Renaissance style. The castle, otherwise private, can be rented out for private functions and events, but the 12 hectares of parkland gardens surrounding it are open to the public.
The surrounding countryside was very familiar to us, so similar to the rural midlands of England where we have so often cycled. We passed over rolling hills with planted corn, blonde stubble fields and long stacks of gathered hay. Lumbering tractors turned over soil in preparation for the next crop, while nearby fields were full of neat rows of sun-bathing onions, left to dry. Small islands of trees stood tall in the centre of wide seas of short grass or muddy turned soil. Other than the busy main arteries we were forced to cross occasionally, the country side-roads were traffic-free and constructed from clean, smooth tarmac; just perfect for sight-seeing and leisure cycling.
We reached the brewery, Refsvindinge Bryggeriet, and abandoned our bikes outside to explore their extensive range of, by Scandinavia standards, very cheap craft beers. Some low-strength lagers were only 3DKK per bottle, Pilsners and IPAs under 5DKK, stouts and porters at 8DKK. With around 9DKK to the pound, we could happily sort ourselves out with a few decent beers. We were kindly offered tastings of whichever we wanted, so we sampled a wide range before buying as many as we could safely carry, with assurances we’d return in Benny the following day to stock up with more. We completed our 32km loop, mostly sheltered from the blustering winds, but we got hit by a huge gust or faced a strong head-wind occasionally. The bright sun appeared from behind the grey clouds in short patches, and on a few happy occasions this coincided with a pause in the wind; in those rare moments cycling these rolling roads was simply glorious.
After our return, we spent the afternoon relaxing around the campsite. Nicky undertook a bit of experimental photography, testing out various techniques and settings down on the beach in high winds, as I drank tea and finished another book, Graham Swift’s Waterland, a poignant reflection on the importance of history in terms of our understanding of the present, set stark against the flowing waters of the flatland Fens – well recommended. We then spent our evening ensuring all of today’s purchased beers were fully up to scratch, in anticipated advance of the larger beer purchase we would make the following morning. They were indeed, every last one of them.
After checking out and returning to Refsvindinge Bryggeriet to pick up a crate full of select beers, we drove north under wet, grey skies. We first headed through Nyborg and then onwards, to visit Fyns Hoved. This was the most northern point of the Hindsholm peninsula, a rather distinctive feature of moving sand spits, strong currents and sheltered beaches comparable to Skagen in north Jutland. Geographically speaking, it is considered a bight rather than a bay or sound. We parked up where the tarmacked road ended, rather than in a car-park further on at the end of the gravel track. From here we walked along the stony beach between the marina and the headland, where we followed a circular route around the point on well-worn pathways.
We climbed first to the area’s highest point, marked by a bronze disk cast in the ground. We could see out over the Baltic sea in all directions, the west all rough and frothing, the east a flat protected bay. There were many fishermen standing still and silent in the shallow waters, with the occasional cast into the sea their only movement. Others sat on rocks on the beach shore, rods supported on stands rather than hand-held. We walked across the rounded hills to reach the tall sandy cliffs on the western face, then the most northern point of the land, before returning along the calmer eastern side. It was an interesting place to see and enjoy a low level 5km walk, a worthy distraction.