The Gendarme Trail (Gendarmstien)

74 km trail along the Danish-German border

total base weight 6.4 kg

total pack weight 10.4 kg

Photos on Flickr

My kit weighed more than I normally carry. This was because the hike stretched over 4 days and I had food packed for the whole period. Consumables packed including water and fuel 4 kg. This was not necessary as re-supply is no problem along this trail. I still wouldn’t of changed anything with my breakfasts and evening meals, but I would of not packed any food for lunches. Water was also easy to re-fill; plenty of places along the way. I only had to carry extra water for the last 2 km before the last camp as there was no water there. I also had packed my light-weight ground chair (637 g); this was also not necessary as there are benches at all the sites.

While hiking along the trail, you can imagine the “gendarmes” patrolling across the cliffs, through the lush forests and the along the rocky beaches. Their job was to catch smugglers who were illegally trafficking goods in and out of Denmark to avoid paying customs duty from 1839 to 1958.

Day 1 – Friday August 19th 2016

PADBORG to BÆKKEN 17 km

We set out from Padborg at 10:30 am. Today we hike to “Kløften” where we can set up our tents for the night. Already from the start we experience the history of the path. Speaking into the “ground telephone” at the border crossing in Rønsdam on the German side, we realize that we don’t have our ID’s with us and quickly hop back to the Danish side again.

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The country is very pretty down here and the the trail is hilly from the start until we reach the coastline.

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Hiking out of Kollund forest we experience our first view of the coast.

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We follow the coastline past Kollund Beach, Kollund East Forest, Sønderhav and Rønshoved until we reach our first camp “Kløften” at Bækken.

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Day 2 – Saturday August 20th 2016

BÆKKEN to ILLER BEACH 18 km

Day 1, 2 and 3 you can see the two spires on top of Broager Church, which was built in the 12th century, in the distance. Legend has it that the two spires are memorials to two sisters from a nearby castle.

We hike the coastline pass Sandager and on to Egernsund where we have our lunch break. The views and countryside are truly breathtaking.

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After Rendbjerg and Broager we reach camp 2 at Iller Beach. There are toilet facilities about 500 meters, in Brunsnæs, from the primitive site.

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Day 3 – Sunday August 21st 2016

ILLER BEACH to DYBBØL 25 km

I awake early before sunrise, as I almost always do when I’m outdoors; it’s the best part of the day.

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Today we pass Brunsnæs, Kragesand, and all the way up the coast to Stensigmose. The cliff at Stensigmose is full of ancient traces; the ice  has deposited mussels and snails in sandy layers in the cliff.

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From here we can see Sønderborg on the other side of the water. As there is no water at the next site I fill my 2 ltr Platypus at Vemmingbund beach area. We then follow the path to Dybbøl where we make camp.

Day 4 – Monday August 22nd 2016

DYBBØL to HØRUPHAV 14 km

I am up early once again to catch a beautiful sunrise and watch the geese fly over our camp.

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I don’t know if I said it before, but it sure is pretty down here. 🙂

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After viewing the site of the Siege of Dybbøl from 1864, we hike further to Sønderborg and pass Sønderborg Castle, which was built around 1200.

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From here the path takes you through Sønder Forest along the coast to Høruphav where the path ends.

Although we took the time first to admire the views and take an afternoon siesta.

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This is a fantastic, beautiful, historic nature trail of which I would highly recommend to experience if you are visiting in the south of Denmark. The trail is well marked and re-supply is effortless. You can pick up a map with information at one of the area’s three tourist information centers.

 

 

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