Danish Pilgrimage Denmark Hærvejen (Ox Road) Jylland (Jutland)

Day 21: Skals to Aars

After a Corona impacted winter and spring, I was back walking in August 2021. During 2020 I’d walked north to south across Sjælland and Lolland and Faster, east to west across Sjælland and Fyn and South Jutland, and now I was about to restart my walks along the Danish Pilgrimage, this time walking the length of Jutland along the so called Hærvejen – army road, or often called Ox road – that more or less follows the watershed the length of Jutland. Historically the road was primarily used as a trade route, primarily for cattle, with an estimated 50.000 cattle yearly. Despite its name as the army road, it was seldom used for military purposes.

I’d taken the train from Copenhagen to Viborg the night before and was up early to take the bus north of Viborg to the small town of Skals. Todays plan was to walk north to Aars, a small town of 8.400 residents. The bus came on time, the weather was sunny and beautiful, perfect weather for walking – what turned out to be 37km, and a bit of a rush to catch the bus back to Viborg.

From Skals the path follows an old railway that used to run between Viborg and Løgstør, now a 79km walk and cycle path.

At Skringstrup the route followed small country roads, crossed small rivers and farms, as I continued north following Simested Å (river), where the whole valley is the bottom of fjord created following the Ice Age, where the whole area was covered by ice.

I crossed Borup Heath and on towards Skinderup, Ettrup and Gammel Hvam – slightly more hilly, and varied, the clear blue skies enabling many great views.

Although it was a Saturday, I hardly met anybody, neither out and about in the villages nor along the paths.

I ate a late packed lunch at Testrup and carried on to the church. I still had another 10kms to Aars, and time was getting tight, not helped by me following the cycle version of the Hærvejen, walking a couple of extra kilometers.

The last kilometers to Aars were largely along roads and stone paths, but I was focusing on reaching the last but back to Viborg from Aars that left at 17.03. I arrived with 10 minutes to spare – just enough time to buy some water. I was tired. 37km on my first day. The trip back to Viborg took an hour – I dozed off more than once.

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