Friday 8th July
I woke up to a bright and chilly morning on Friday, our last day. There was a nip in the air but for the first time ever when camping, I hadn’t struggled with the cold. I experienced the best nights sleep in a tent I’d ever had, these three nights in Denmark. My hours of research paid off and a down sleeping bag and merino wool base layers have proven 100% worth paying for. My sleeping bag is a RAB down bag and it’s probably the best purchase I made in prepping for this trek. From DofE expeditions to pony club camp I’ve never been warm enough when sleeping in a tent. This bag has totally revolutionised my camping experience!
I tried the herbal tea Fjällräven provided, but it wasn’t really my thing. After three days, I decided my ideal breakfast was a box of juice and a few spoonfuls of granola.
Laika came to visit me when she got up. I’m not sure anything is as good as a Labrador cuddle first thing in the morning. She and Monique were pitched right next to me and during the final evening of the trek I heard American accents from other tents around us. After three days I was hearing English!
Laika is the sweetest creature and a lovely reassuring presence
By now she was done with photos and ready for more cuddles
Monique and I left camp together for our last day of walking. We started energetically following now familiar way markers and slowly but surely marched towards the checkpoint and lunch. I was really surprised how little I struggled with hunger during the trek. Apparently the more exercise I do, the less hungry I am! As well as daily rations we were provided with surprise treats at intervals by the fjällräven crew, there was certainly plenty of food provided for us.
This field stood out because of the amazing array of wild flowers. It was so naturally colourful, wild and bright. I’d love to grow something like this in my own garden one day. I always notice daisies and cow parsley, they’re thought of as weeds but I love how they grow happily from hedgerows and on rough grassland. I like driving past them as they poke out from busy roadsides, reminding us how nature finds a way despite mans efforts to tame her around concrete and tarmac. Many hikers stopped here to take off their rucksacks and enjoy the view.
The weather held throughout the final day. It started overcast as it had the previous days but the sun came slowly out during the late morning. I definitely didn’t apply enough sun cream whilst in Denmark. I’ve learnt my lesson for next time; apply EVERY morning whatever the weather. You can see in the first photo, I’m a little red.
By the time we reached the checkpoint at Svendborgsundbroen I was ready for lunch and a good rest in the sunshine. I gave myself permission to forget about the distance we had left to walk. I took off my boots and lay down on the grass. By the last day of the trek I found a good mindset. The checkpoint was nestled on the very edge of the island almost underneath the bridge across the Svendborg Sund. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures.
Our last journey was towards Svendborg Town. For the final time we laced our boots and lugged rucksacks onto our shoulders. We walked further and further into urban surroundings and it felt odd after so many hours walking through quiet villages and beautiful landscapes.
The moment Monique, Laika and I crossed the finish line to complete our 75km trek. Everyone was welcomed home with music and food and much congratulation. We lined up to be given the final stamp in our trekking passes. And the thing I looked forward to most, collecting a patch and medal to mark completing the challenge.
My favourite Dutch walking buddies
I didn’t realise that along with a camp site for the last night, there were showers available too! I had maybe the best shower of my life in a portable cubicle with warm water and loos with running water and real soap! You could leave a 5kg bag at check in at the start of the trek and they were brought to the finish for us. I left my rucksack flight case and a few other bits I didn’t need but one thing I will definitely pack next time is a fresh change of clothes.
The Fjällräven volunteers were an incredible team. They worked really hard to ensure we were taken care of and that we enjoyed a fantastic adventure. They did an amazing job.
Monique Kindly dropped me off at the train station in Svendborg so I could head back to Copenhagen and meet my Mum for a weekend in the city. Here I am sitting on the hotel room floor unpacking my rucksack and feeling really quite proud. I’m so pleased I did this. Very much out of my comfort zone and very much worth it.
I made a list on my phone of things that I want to remember for my next expedition:
- As I mentioned above, leave soap, shampoo and clean clothes in my transfer bag so I have something nice to change into at the finish.
- Take a headband to keep my forehead covered during the heat of the day.
- Gluten Free pitta bread worked really well for lunch. They offered rye bread so I took my own packet of pittas instead. I believe other Classics provide specific dietary options for Diary free, Gluten free meals but I brought my own. It certainly would be good if they could guarantee what meals would be suitable for dietary requirements.
- I didn’t eat any of my stash of oatcakes, they’re quite dry when your walking all day and they also crumble inside the packets.
- Trek bars are delicious
- I’m really pleased with my Osprey hydration bladder. I took a 1.5L bladder and a 500ml refillable water bottle. I drank consistently throughout each day and never got really thirsty. It’s easy to sip casually as you walk instead of having to reach around your rucksack for a water bottle.
- I noticed that when I walk long distances, my left little toe smooshes into my other toes and becomes a blister spot. I want to try sheep wool or binding tape as a preventative measure. There’s a whole world of blister treatment out there, everyone has an opinion on how to prevent pressure points. I was lucky and competed plasters kept my feet very happy.
- Next time I go camping I want to try an inflatable pillow. I like sleeping quite flat but I’d like to find a lightweight pillow for my next trip.
- Rucksack space permitting, I’ll pack a swimsuit next time, just in case.
I knew before the finish that I want to carry on trekking with Fjällräven. The people are so welcoming and encouraging. And there’s very little risk of getting lost on route (my navigating skills are somewhat lacking). I’m not sure which Classic I’ll apply for next year but maybe Germany or the UK. I’ve got the hiking bug and I’m ready for my next adventure.