Thursday, 27 September 2012

Thursday 27 September

A nice day for our last full day in Vlieland, albeit with varying amounts of cloud. We set off just after 11 am for a walk to the Pad van 20 crossing, about 3 miles southwest of the "Snik". It was overcast and breezy, but we made good progress. There was considerable erosion on the dunes, particularly between the Pad van 30 and the Pad van 20 crossings. We reached the latter one at a quarter past twelve, and turned a little way up the cycle track to sit on a bench for our lunch. A good number of cyclists came whirring past; I have "fond" memories of that stretch, which would get covered by sandblow in years gone by, something I found almost impossible to cycle through. At a quarter to one, we went east down the Pad van 20, and soon came across large circles of toadstools which (in Holland) are referred to as witches' circles - the witches would sit on the toadstools whilst engaging in their evil activities. A little way further, close to the Nieuwe Kooi plantation, we encountered about 40 Soay sheep, which have been roaming that area for the past two decades or so. These originate from the island of Soay in St Kilda. They certainly have gone forth and multiplied from their original number of 4. Upon reaching the main road, we turned across to the Wadden Sea dyke for half a mile, before crossing back over to the Oude Kooi. This has been restored to give a fair idea how a duck decoy pond worked. Beware of the mossy ground in the forest. As we sat there for a cuppa, a shower came down. Always something. Afterwards, we crossed back to the Pad van 20, straight through the dunes. This is normally closed to walkers, but the breeding season has ended. Our walk continued into the Nieuwe Kooi forest, where we briefly called into the pond. Others had taken the seat. So, we carried on and had a break on the northern edge of the plantation, where I admired a large spider in its web. More rain fell upon our return to the next forest, Lange Paal, but after that it stayed dry. We proceeded past the campsite and onto the cycle track leading to the main road. After half a mile, we joined a bridleway to the edge of the forest around Oost Vlieland. This offered us nice views of the Kooispleklid, a little way to the north. The cycle track around the forest led us back to the Ankerplaats. At 5pm, I jumped on my bike for a final look round the east of the island, by going into town first. Well, I went down the Willem de Vlaminghweg, which circles town. At the ferry terminal, I turned left and went to the marina, which I circled altogether, before going up the Fortweg to the northeast corner of the island. After whizzing down the hill from the crossing, I turned up the cycle path to the Stortemelk campsite and the Kampweg. When another shower came down, I took shelter in the trees around the Gold Fish Pond "Klaas Douwes", disturbing a heron in the process.

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