Day 12-1. Krig Vig Camping (Agger) to Nørklit.Distance D 95.74 km Max 40.5 km/h Time 6.24:33 Average 14.9 km/h
Distance S 95.86 km Max 38.5 km/h Time 6.06:28 Average 15.7 km/h
When we awoke it was to the same grey skies and dampness that had characterised the eveing before. By eight o'clock we were finishing breakfast and close to breaking camp. We didn't rush too much this morning we were still recovering from the late arrival last night. Just after eight thirty we were ready to go which wasn't bad all things considered.
We'd checked the weather forecast the evening before and were expecting a stiff headwind and rain in the morning. This was not good news as to make Hirtshals by the end of next day we'd need to cover something near to a hundred kilometres today. In an effort to achieve this goal we'd looked at our maps the evening before, and decided to cut out some of the loops in today's route. This would mean making three large changes to the official route. The first would be to take main road between Istrup and Nørre Vorupør, thereby avoiding Stenbjerg. The next change would be to take cycle routes 17 and 2 between Vang and Nors Sø. This was instead of following the NSCR out to Klitmøller on the coast. Finally we'd decided that cutting out the rather boring centre of the Hanstholm would not be a bad idea. We'd been there in 2006 and had no reason to go there again. It would also save us another ten kilometres. None of these alternative routes would be difficult to find and follow and given our clear tight schedule this year it seemed to make a lot of sense. With this plan in mind our cycling day was about to start.
We set off first skirting the top of Krik Vik before turning North once more. We were just a little relieved to find that the headwind wasn't as strong as we'd feared and so far, despite the grey skies, it still didn't feel like rain. We stopped a quarter of an hour later as we'd both warmed up and decided our rain jackets were superfluous. Our legs had started to warm up as well, having been rather stiff for the first ten minutes or so. Clothing suitably adjusted we carried on through the wheat filled countryside the road taking us between two lakes, Flade Sø and Ørum Sø.
As we approached Lodbjerg Klitplanage the landscape became a little wilder and we spotted Lodbjerg Fyr in the distance. Fifteen minutes later we passed Lodbjerg Kirke which was a tiny bit exciting. We carried on round the edge of Ørum Sø and slowly turned north again at Ørum. We passed more rich agricultural land, maize growing in the fields, as if to remind us as to how important northern Europe is in terms of food production. When we reached Svankær the sun almost came out. We spotted a small petrol station with a place to sit and stopped for our first proper break of the day.
Fifteen minutes later we were leaving Svankær and the route took us straight through a short section of forest. First we headed into Hvidbjerg Klitplanage which provided some useful shelter from the wind. We passed a large skip full of logs and along the gravel tracks which suggested that wood harvesting was in full swing. The SmartSAMS were very reassuring on this type of track with loose gravel. It wasn't just aggressive tread that helped, but the fact that the tyres were 54mm wide. This made a noticeable difference when compared to the 38mm tyres our old tourers were shod with. Interestingly we had not noticed that the SMART Sams were slower on hard packed surfaces. The only downside was that they hummed on tarmac. I've often seen postings on the CTC forums where people recommend tyres no more than 32mm wide as being sufficient for cycle touring. I'm not sure how well narrower tyres would cope with loose and/or freshly laid gravel as you find on routes like the Danish NSCR.
At Istrup we carried on up the main road (the 181) instead of following the NSCR back into Stenbjerg Klitplantage. Near Søndre Vorupør we turned right onto the 539 and headed to Fadersbøl. This alternative route can't have been very interesting cycling. Looking at the pictures it seems that I found no reason to take my camera out of the bag for the next hour and a half. Just after we encountered an old style windmill next to the road which I had to take a picture of.