Hampen Sø and HimmelbergjetAugust 15 in Denmark
Regular readers of this blog may by now be getting bored of descriptions containing the words 'woodland' and 'lake'. Sorry to disappoint, but we are once again settled in a woodland car park on the edge of a lake with a picnic area and access for swimming. We are making the most of these Danish facilities while the sun shines!
We started the day off by driving to an Aldi and getting the shopping in, then filling our tank with water and emptying waste at motorway services. Vicky has been using gallons to hand wash the laundry and we actually ran out of water this morning!
Today is our 9th wedding anniversary and we'd planned to visit Himmelbergjet. 'Himmel' means 'sky' and 'berg' translates as 'mountain', but the name Sky Mountain regularly has fun poked at it by the Danes themselves, because it only reaches 147m towards the sky. Parking was provided just 300m away from the summit and cost 10kr an hour. The Danish school holidays are at an end so the place wasn't busy but it was very touristy by Denmark's standards. There was a hotel, icecream stands and souvenir huts. We followed the wooden signs and wide gravel track, choosing the steeper of the two options that told us it wasn't suitable for wheelchairs. A slight incline and 300m later, we arrived at the peak; a gravel topped mound surrounded by wooden post and rail fencing and supporting a brick built tower with a square based pyramid roof which charged a further 10kr for entry. The tower didn't hold our attention for long and we wandered past it to the edge of the fenced off area. The downward sloping foreground had been deforested to open up the view and was covered with a mix of purple heather and low bilberry bushes, their glossy green leaves gradually turning to orange and red. Beyond this were far reaching views over forested valley sides in which sat the long Julsø lake; one of a network of waterways that make up this country's Lake District. We watched various boats come and go before we saw one puffing out a plume of black smoke. We realised this must be Hjejlen, the oldest operating coal fired paddle steamer in the world.
After staying on the mountain top to take some anniversary photos, we mulled over our impression of Himmelbergjet. We liked the views over the lake and valley but had been put off by the fencing and tower. For us, much of the joy of being at the top of a mountain is having pushed ourselves to climb it; the 300m gentle slope didn't exactly challenge us. We also love the wide open feeling of being at the top of the world, in somewhere wild and wonderful. The fence and brick built tower both conspired against this feeling, so although we were very glad to have visited, we left with mixed feelings about Sky Mountain.
A short drive later we arrived at Hampen Sø. It was just off a main road so there was traffic noise and usually one or more people parked up around the clearing but it had a lovely view of the lake and we could open our door straight into the forest for Poppy. We celebrated our anniversary with roast chicken, courtesy of Will, a bottle of bubbly and the 'finest selection' of dark chocolates, courtesy of Aldi.
In the morning, Poppy enjoyed a paddle in the shallows and the two of us indulged in a spot of wild swimming. The bed was sandy and the water clear enough to see a shoal of perch swimming lazily in front of us as we waded out. We stopped and watched as they came to investigate these strange new additions to their environment, coming within a few centimetres of our toes!Read more