Day 6-1. Meldorf to Tönning.Distance D 50.0 km Max 33.0 km/h Time 2.57:02 Average 17.0 km/h
Distance S 53.1 km Max 35.5 km/h Time 3.16:00 Average 16.3 km/h
The day started early, the weather grey and cool as it had been the previous evening. By a quarter to eight the tent was down and we were finishing off our breakfast. A half an hour later took our leave of the campsite. Well, I did, Damae got delayed by something. I only realised that Damae wasn't behind me a few hundred metres down the road. I stopped and took some pictures of my bike and the landscape and the ever present windmills.
What seemed like an age to me, but was probably only five minutes, Damae arrived and we set off on together on our way. Despite having passed Hamburg and the scenery was much the same as it had been since we left Nieuweschans. It would not change for much of the day. We slowly retraced our steps back to the NSCR and started West out towards the coast. The evening before, we'd decided that we probably wouldn't do the loop out to Bad Sankt Peter-Ording but take the alternative route mentioned in the bikeline guide up through Tönning. There was an element of needing to travel quickly if we were going to be able to do all the cycling we wanted.
It was very flat and very green here, a bit boring but easy cycling. At nine we turned North once more and we saw a large sluice gate complex in the distance. Now that was a bit more interesting! I slowed down to take some photos whilst Damae headed on. To our right was the Speicherkoog, with its own visitor centre and to the left, the North Sea. Here, we had a choice of two routes. One was behind the dyke and the other was on the outside of the dyke.
We chose to climb up to the top of the dyke and saw the campsite we had decided was far away, last night. We could have made it to this campsite without too much trouble even given that Damae had been tired. This campsite was nowhere near as nice as the one at Meldorf, although in its favour, it was slap bang on the route. It would have saved us retracing our steps this morning. But then again the coastal campsite would be a bit exposed in a westerly gale.
On the seaward side of the dyke we were greeted by an reasonably smooth track with views of the mudflats. Every now and again there were barriers stretching far out to sea, we presumed to stabilise the mud and sand. Sea birds walked across the mud looking for tasty morsels. It was all very grey. Along the shore I noticed perfectly dry drift wood of the right diameter to fit in a Bush Buddy. There was tons of it, so when Damae stopped to take a photo I gathered a couple of handfulls of dry bleached wood and stuffed it into a carrier bag. I had a cunning plan: packed away somewhere in my Ortliebs was a small junior hacksaw with a couple of wood blades.
Damae was taken by this concrete staircase that took you a couple of metres from the cycle track, over the stones piled up to protect the dyke and onto the mudflats. The sharp edges and shiny handrails looked a little alien in the grey landscape. Despite the grey sky and the grey mud this was turning into a great mornings cycle. We were making good progress and another hundred kilometre day beckoned. Or was that inviting an invocation of Williams & Jongkind's First Law of Cycletouring. Oblivious to the curse we had unwittingly placed on the day, we pushed on, past piles of wood, which were definitely not driftwood. It looked like this fresh brush was material to repair gaps in the barriers.