For a while now I have been planning to complete the Molsruten (Aarhus to Grenaa), the final section of the E1 in Denmark, where its northern terminus, Grenaa, is the departure point for northbound hikers heading to Sweden on the ferry.
Finally finding a gap in the schedule, albeit winter solstice (vintersolhverv), I set off to Grenaa to walk south to Aarhus. Arriving in Grenaa around lunchtime I was quickly on my way, following a cycle path along the banks of the Nordkanal as it meandered its way to the sea. I had walked this section previously so I knew what to expect, with lots of beach walking mostly on fine damp sand which made for easy walking, as well as a few less than enjoyable gravel sections. As I headed south I was somewhat surprised by the female joggers who would appear out of the dunes with their blonde hair flowing, they would smile as the ran past while I dawdled southwards.
I decided to turn inland towards Rugård Estate, which was established during the Renaissance, and is thought to be the last big witch hunts in Denmark.
The blue skies were now turning to grey and before long the rain and hail arrived. So, what had started as a warmish walk in Grenaa had quickly turned in to a cold and wet winters day, I waited out the storm under the eaves of a large shed on the estate. As the rain and hail cleared I set about eating a very late lunch pondering whether I should have Christmas plum pudding with my noodles or not, I decided not to.
With lunch consumed I also began to recognise the challenges of walking long distances in the middle of winter where this about 6 hours between sunrise and sunset. I continued southward passing through Glatved Strand with its gravel quarry and jetty before following a series of well used vehicle trails along the coastline. In the diminishing light walking was easy over the open heath covered ground behind the beaches. Locating a suitable campsite I set up camp and settled in for what would be a cold and clear night.
I awoke in the morning to the sound of drips of rain and felt that a further temperature drop would have ensured snow, it was cold with a strong wind blowing from the south west.
Deciding that breakfast in bed was good option I relaxed enjoying coffee in the early morning light before packing up and heading further southwards. Firstly, to Rugård beach and then inland, I was able to walk without a head torch though I did discover that a collapsed fence can lead to “face planting” and torn wind pants in poor light.
As I headed inland climbing away from the beach the sun began to make its first attempt at peaking over the horizon, it was in no hurry. The forests were quiet, as were the roads with only the occasional Christmas tree hunter to disturb the peace.
After a section of road walking I joined the old railway line as it headed south to Ebletoft, a ferry port, connecting Jylland with Sjælland and Copenhagen. I was somewhat surprised to come across a wooden cattle grid, they are usually steel.
By now it was cold, and pushing into the cold wind with occasional rain squalls reminded me of some of the more challenging times I have spent hiking in Lapland. Turning westwards and entering the Mols Bjerge National Park the trail adopted an undulating approach through the forests. I was quietly chuckling to myself, having listened to Bob’s podcast on wild camping the night before, where he described camping on a small hill of about 400 meters high, whereas here I was climbing to 50 metres or so, they don’t get much bigger in Denmark.
The forests were pleasant with a range of flora and it was also at this time that large storm bringing rain and hail passed through, it was cold.
Ultimately I arrived at Ørnbjerg water mill, with its well preserved wheel and more importantly a clean wind proof picnic shelter. It was no contest, a relaxing hour was spent there having lunch, reading the various signs and the log book. This area is a place I can recommend especially with its campsite nearby, though I would imagine it is busy during more pleasant weather.
The mill house.
Rain drops on the thatched roof
After lunch it was back to the muddy gravel roads as they wound through the forest across Mols Bjerge before descending to Kejlstrup. As I entered the village I was impressed by the colours of the well maintained Fogedgaarden, built in 1827, and still in excellent condition.
By now it was getting late and the clouds had cleared, however, the cold wind remained. I descended into Egens after which I followed the main road as it wound its way to the coast at Kalo Vig (bay). By now it was somewhat dark as I strode along the bicycle path towards Kalo castle ruins. I have no doubt the passengers in the cars as they whizzed by thought I was crazy, and to some extent I agreed with them. However, I soon realised why I was doing, what I was doing, when I viewed Kalo castle in the late evening.
I located a nice flat campsite adjacent to the bay and settled in for what was to be a colder night than the previous one, however, the clear skies and lights around the foreshore provided a stunning setting for the final night on the trail.
I was a little slow moving in the morning and spent some time taking photos and enjoying the views, the sound of water lapping the shore line and the birds beginning their daily chorusing.
The wind had subsided and the walk through Hestehave with its outlook over the bay towards Aarhus in the distance provided a pleasant start to the day. Following the coastline and then trails through Følle Bund, a low area that was once drained, but is now being allowed to return to its natural state, thus providing a wet and muddy walk.
Following the coast line I headed ever closer to the bike paths and asphalted roads that would conclude the journey to Aarhus. The weather was closing in again, as expected, so there was one final stop to enjoy the last rays of sunshine before the gloom arrived along with the wind and rain.
I passed through Studstrup with its large DONG electricity generation plant I continued along the coastline, by now it was raining and not very pleasant. In Skæring a bus stop presented itself providing two choices a warm ride to Aarhus, or more asphalt and rain.
The decision was easy, I soon found myself in amongst all those chasing the christmas bargains in Aarhus and the pre Christmas bedlam of the main railway station. The final section of the trail along cycle paths and asphalted roads was one I was not entirely interested in, however, the trail is well marked and in more pleasant conditions I would have happily followed the coastline into the city. In hindsight, I felt I should have started in Aarhus and finished in Grenaa, maybe next time.
My reports on the other sections of the E1 in Denmark can be found at