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

Day 38: Hirtshals to Børglum

Seven months after the previous leg of my Danish pilgrimage, I start out on the final five legs that will take me along the west coast of Jutland from Hirtshals and back to Aars. I’d taken the Monday evening train from Copenhagen to Hirtshals, changing in Aalborg, arriving just before midnight. I managed to get a good nights sleep and a good breakfast before setting off on a 43km trek to Børgum. Of all the 42 legs I have walked to complete the pilgrimage, the weather, fantastic scenery and good legs, contributed to what was possible the part of the pilgrimage.

Hirtshals is a small fishing and ferry port, with ferries to Faroe Islands and Norway. Eating breakfast on the top floor of the hotel, I watched the ferry arrive from Norway, before setting off for Hirtshals church. The church was opened in 1906, when roughly 500 people lived in Hirtshals. Today, the population is ca. 6.000.

I walked along the coast, heading south, passing bunkers, built by the Germans during WW2, and the lighthouse, before walking along the deserted beach. It was sunny, but windy.

I walked along the coast, off and on, for 22kms, until I reached the small town of Lønstrup, mostly along the coast, occasionally passing through summer cottage areas.

Lønstrup is one road along the cost with sand dunes on either side, with the lifeboat station at one end and the church at the other. Even though it is early May, the restaurants seemed fairly full.

From Lønstrup its uphill towards Rubjerg Knude, a 60m high sand cliff. The coastline is slowly eroding, an estimated 1,5m per year. I passed Mårup Church. When built, around 1250, the church was 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) from the coast, but was dismantled in 2008 to prevent it falling into the sea. Only the churchyard remains.

First lit in 1900, Rubjerg Knude lighthouse was in operation until 1968. Due to the coastal erosion, it was expected that the lighthouse would fall into the sea in 2023. Therefore in 2019, the 23m high lighthouse, said to weigh 720 tons, was moved 70m inland, on specially designed rails. It is now expected to be safe until 2060.

It was heavy going walking through the sand, made worse by missing a turn and taking an couple of kilometer detour. But as you can see, the weather was fantastic. The scrub is very dry, and throughout the day I passed stands with brooms to be used to put out scrub fires.

At Lyngby Strand, 33km, there was supposed to be a shop and restaurant – but they were closed. The route turned inland towards Børglum Abbey, mostly along country roads. Many of the fields were covered in mustard flowers in full bloom.

Børglum Abbey, originally built by monks in the 11th century, and remained as a functioning abbey until the reformation in 1536. Since the 17th century, it has been privately owned. The Abbey and buildings are are well kept and the museum contains an exact copy of the Bayeux Tapestry. The abbey was closed when I arrived – it was getting on for 6pm.

The windmill next to the abbey was built in 1860 and the views from the hill where it is situated are stunning.

I carried on towards Børglum and the bed and breakfast I would be staying the night – in an old dairy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anywhere to eat, and I only had a sandwich that I’d made at breakfast and a musli bar. But after 43km, I slept well.

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