Books for a long train trip

Visiting the Dunes around Bunken, required a 6 hour train trip each way. I like train trips but they can become a little tedious so I always pack a book or 2.  For this trip I took 2 books, which had been sitting on the “to read stack” for a while.

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On the way to the start of the walk at Hulsig I read: “The Atholl Expedition” by Alex Roddie. It is set in the Cairngorms in the Scottish highlands. during Queen Victoria’s reign. The story follows the a local game keeper as he escorts Prince Albert on the hunt for the largest stag on the estate. Meanwhile, there is a second story line, that of Professor Forbes a Glaciologist who is seeking the last Glacier in Scotland, coincidentally in the the same area as the stag roams.

Both groups set of at the same time with completely different purposes, but they soon cross paths with gunshots being fired, the fascinating aspect of the story line to me is that the Professor and his “student” see the stag at close range, but Prince Albert and the game keeper, whose job and home is dependent on the success of the hunt, do not see the stage till much later on. The two groups end up together stuck in a blizzard and combine resources to return to safety. As a result of the failure of the hunt the game keeper loses his job and his house, but gains the respect of the Royal household, meanwhile the Professor accepts his destiny.

For me the book was a compelling read and I could not put it down, finishing it well before the end of the train trip. The storyline did have me wondering on the first night out in the dunes, whether a landlord would appear and shoot first and ask questions later. I am now awaiting the second and third parts of the trilogy.

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The second book, which I read on the way home, was titled “The Path to Odins Lake” written by Jason Heppenstall, I was made aware of this book by the Copenhagen Post, the only English language paper in Copenhagen.

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I expected to read a book about the authors journey to Odins lake (Odensjön), but there was clearly a second story to be told. The book commences with the author’s arrival in Copenhagen accompanied by his 2 children, whilst his wife remains at their home in Cornwall. The author noting that she was working “many hours a day for not much reward”. Jason has a time out card and once his children are deposited with their grandmother, he is off. He travels via the Copenhagen Metro to Amager before commencing his walk through the open fields, locating a campsite, supposedly hidden from view, only to be disturbed by a ranger who warns him about fires and the fact that he is camping illegally. In the morning he sets off, arriving by train in Malmo (Sweden) and after a visit to the Tourist office he has a plan.  Prior to traveling further, he spends a couple of nights in Lund. Leaving Lund he needs to purchase a ticket to Skaraild which provides the challenge of pronouncing the name of the destination to the driver, I know the feeling. The lesson learned here, is if you can only speak bad Danish then speak English to the bus drivers. He is now in Söderåsen National Park and as soon as his summer tent is setup the heavens open up, with the rain continuing for days it seems. The author quickly recognizes the folly or bringing a less  than ideal shelter.

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As I read the book I recognised many of the places described by the author and it took me back to the enjoyable times I have had crisscrossing the national park. It is a popular place but out of season it is generally quiet. The authors trip took place in 2014 and towards the end of the book he describes meeting many refugees from Syria in the nearby town Röstånga, a town I have visited many times. According to one of the locals he met, there are about 400 refugees in a town of 800 and with limited resources within the township the refugees presence provides challenges for the community.

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The other message in the book relates to the authors passion protecting the environment and the impact of fossil fuel use on the environment. Throughout the book he describes and discusses the issues related to fossil fuel and increasing population. It makes for sobering reading and provides an insight into the future as fossil fuel resources are diminished and the population increases along with a corresponding increase on societies dependency on energy.

He does finally reach Odins Lake (Odensjön) and goes for a swim. For me it has usually been too cold when but would have been an ideal skating rink.

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For those wondering Jason is from the UK and now resides with his family in Cornwall, where he has a sustainable forest garden, his blog can be found here.

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