Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saturday 22 September

After overnight heavy rain, the day dawns to bright sunshine; and scattered showers. The first one yields a beautiful rainbow. The others require dodging, something that we are not exactly successful at. We head off southwest towards the Kooispleklid, a 100 ft high dune in the centre of Vlieland, and follow a rabbit’s trail to gain the main path towards the dune. Nice view from the summit, but also of the showers lurking in the North Sea. We proceed towards Lange Paal, which is reached not long after. Lange Paal is a campsite for those requiring a minimum of luxury. We join one of the marked trails in Vlieland, which we call the Lange Paal walk. After the first half mile through woodland, we emerge into the open duneland. It is supposed to be playing host to a herd of Highland cattle, but they are in hiding. You can also go out there to gather cranberries (between September 13th and December 31st), but we find precisely ONE berry. The trail leads us to the Nieuwe Kooi plantation, and we double back to the Nieuwe Kooi pond, a tranquil spot on a windy day; can’t say it was that windy today, but it did take the edge off the temperature in exposed locations. After a break for lunch, we cut through to the shoreline of the Wadden Sea, on the east coast of Vlieland (the island is about a mile across). Our walk continues along the shoreline, still headed southwest. It is very, very quiet, hardly any birds except for gulls. The eider ducks that abound here in spring have now migrated back to Africa, and other species have yet to arrive on their autum migration south. Just before Dodemansbol, on the northeastern edge of Bomenland, we join the main road. This sees hordes of cyclists, but hardly any motorists. You can only take your car to Vlieland if you have a permit, and the municipality gives out hardly any of those. At the eaves of Bomenland, we leave the road and head around its periphery. We keep going north for a bit too long, leave sight of the path and even each other. A text message re-establishes contact, and I rejoin my dad at the Viewpoint. This is a seating area with a very large grasshopper (2 inches) and a sign by Rein Rollingswier (1947-97), who said: “Enjoy, the world is so beautiful”. And who can do anything but enjoy the magnificent vista of Vlieland’s dune landscape. A shower drives us away and we head towards the Pad van Zes [Path of Dam 6] near the Posthuys cafe. The Posthuys was a staging post for the mails from Amsterdam, which arrived from Texel, 7 miles to the south. Nowadays, it is a staging posts for cyclists or walkers who have completed the 5 miles from Oost Vlieland. You can proceed further south, but we cut across to the North Sea beach and commence the long journey back to the Ankerplaats. At Pad van Twintig [Path of Dam 20] we nip across the dunes to find shelter for a cuppa, but instead we’re finding shelter from rain. Fortunately, the rain also stops the sand from blowing across the crossing. Just over an hour later, we finally reach the crossing for the Ankerplaats. The Vliehors Express met us with two trucks on their way to the Texel Ferry on the southern extremity of the Vliehors. Their tires leave impressions of texts, one of them was a proposal for marriage from a man to the woman of his dreams. And that was repeated every 15 feet for many, many miles. I’m sure Mel will have gotten the message by now. We returned to the Ankerplaats at 4.30.

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