Quick and Dirty Winter overnighter

The Oxford Dictionary of English quick and dirty definition:

makeshift; done or produced hastily: a quick and dirty synopsis of their work 

Most of you already know that I prefer hiking in Sweden rather than in Denmark. I have my reasons. In Sweden, Finland and Norway The Right of Public Access “Allemansrätt“, or Outdoor Access Rights gives you the right to roam the countryside in perfect peace and quiet. You have the right to walk and camp on any land with the exception of private gardens, near a dwelling house or land under cultivation. They call it the Freedom to Roam. In Sweden I can change my agenda and wander just about anywhere I like.

In Denmark you don’t have this right. However you can wild camp, well kind of. You may sleep in the forest on the forest floor without a tent or tarp. You are allowed to overnight in Naturstyrelsen’s areas (Parks and Wildlife Service) on the forest floor in a sleeping bag with a Bivy Sack or in a hammock. Or you can just cowboy camp if that’s what turns you on.

If you want to sleep under a tarp or in a tent then it is a completely different story. It must only be done in the forests with free camping permitted or in one of the camp sites defined as Small Campsite or a Large Campsite. On the website in the link above you can see the possibilities. There are also Shelter Campsites marked on the map.

The problem with this is that there is no room for changing plans. The hike has to be planned in advance booking sites etc and you have to stick with the agenda. There is no flexibility. The Large Campsites have to be booked in advance and they are actually reserved for group bookings. For the solo hiking like me this stinks.

I just couldn’t be bothered with all this fuss. So it is very rare that I’m wild camping or hiking in Denmark. That’s why you’ll see that in most of my trip reports I have been hiking and camping in Sweden.

Saturday February 2, 2019

Anyway, since New Year’s Eve I haven’t been able to get out and I’ve been going crazy lately! So I decided to go on a quick and dirty winter overnighter up in Grib Forest.

Gribskov (Grib Forest) is Denmark’s fourth largest forest stretching over 50 sq km. Located about 30 km northeast of Copenhagen, it’s a great woodland walk situated close to Lake Esrum (Esrum Sø). Lake Esrum is the largest lake in Denmark by water volume and the second largest lake by surface area.

Unfortunately Grib Forest is not on Naturstyrelsen’s (Parks and Wildlife Service) list of forests where you are permitted to wild camp. So I was limited to:

  • Little Campsite Kagerup
  • Large Campsite Multiberg (reserved for group bookings)
  • Large Campsite Graverhus (reserved for group bookings)
  • Little Campsite Nødebo Holt

I didn’t have much choice. I had done some investigating before I left home. I could see that a group had in fact booked Multiberg. The site at Nødebo had an ideal location with views of Lake Esrum but it was situated right next to a built up area with housing. I  visualised the local residents walking past with their dogs pooping everywhere. I’m not exaggerating, I have experienced this before.

I drove from home around lunch time. First I drove to the south side of Grib Forest. I wanted to visit Skovskolen (Forestry School) at Nødebovej 77A, 3480 Fredensborg. I need to be here to participate an event at the end of April. I will make an announcement about that later. I noted that there was only 3G service for the mobile. I wasn’t happy about that as I need a good 4G reception when the time comes.

Then I drove west and after turning right I headed north again until I arrived at the Kagerup train station where I parked the car. My plan was to wander to the site at Kagerup which is only 1.7 km from where I parked the car. When I arrived at the site I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

What presented itself for me was nothing but a little slush ice area. Even if I did stay here and if I wanted to get a fire going then that wasn’t really possible either. The firewood box was empty and whatever wood one could forage in the surrounding forest would be all wet. The camp site is also very badly located only a few hundred meters from the local train line. The train which came by every 30 minutes or so tooted at every intersection where the forest roads crossed it. This was not going to work and one of the worst sites that I have ever seen.

So I decided to walk east towards the lake and visit the large campsite at Graverhus. On the way I passed a water source that was frozen and I decided to take a few photos.

It was late afternoon when I arrived. I ate some lunch while I took in the views of the lake. Unfortunately it was very grey and overcast so there wasn’t much to look at.

After a late lunch I explored the area a little. There were three fire pits and accompanying firewood boxes, full too BTW. So a fire would be possible although that was not my plan for tonight.

I wandered on up to the house which is where I topped up on water back in October 2015 when I was here last. The tap was closed off for the winter season and there was no water. Good thing that I didn’t need any.

Then I did some more exploring in the local area. I thought about all my options for the night. There was no-one here and the first site was out of the question. Multiberg was booked and Multiberg was also a slushy field of ice as well. Only the shelters could be used there and they were occupied. So Graverhus it would seem was my only option.

I found a suitable location and pitched my Duplex for the night.


Sunday February 3, 2019

Next morning I woke early and I was out of bed at 06:20 AM. It was still dark. Sunrise was not until about 07:50 AM. I packed my gear and got on my way hiking with the aid my headlamp. I ate an oatmeal bar for breakfast and washed it down with a little water while I walked. Some light sleet was falling from the skies. I could see animal tracks in the white powder which covered the ground.

I was back at the car in good time and after a quick stop to pick up some fresh bread I was home again just after 09:30 AM.

I’m happy that I got out in the outdoors, but I’m already looking forward to my next adventure.

This was my quick & dirty winter overnighter!

makeshift; done or produced hastily: a quick and dirty overnighter

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6 Replies to “Quick and Dirty Winter overnighter”

  1. Hi Brian,

    interesting to read about the wild camping regulations in Denmark.
    What happens if you set up a tent in an area you are only allowed to bivy? And what are the possibilities to get caught from the officials?


    1. I havevn’t seen any forestry people walking around policing the forests. I guess that they are there during the week days. I would say that a fine would be issued if caught, although I’m not real certain. I’ve never heard of anyone being fined but I always try to “do the right thing”.


      1. I understand and I agree you are trying to do the “right thing”.

        I asked about it, because, for example here in Greece, wild camping is prohibited and generally camping is only allowed in designated areas. Having said that, this law is not really applied for hikers/mountaineers, but mainly for people that want to camp by the seaside and they might leave garbage by the beach.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, also here rules -in theory- apply to all, but is almost impossible to see any forestry on the alpine zone! And also, forestry services know well that mountaineers will take care of the environment and therefore they are more focused for any illegal hunting activities instead of wild camping.

        It’s good to have rules, but is equally good to have good common sense. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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