Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Rold Forest, Lakes and Highwaymen

Poppies on a road bank

Rold skov (Rold forest)  is named after the village of Rold, which lies in the southern outskirt of the forest. Other towns in Rold Skov include Arden, Rebild and Skørping. Rebild National Park (Danish: Rebild Bakker), a Danish national park consisting of heather-covered hills, is located in a part of Rold Skov. Rebild National Park was founded in 1912 by Danish Amercians as a gift to Denmark. The park is known for its 4th of July celebration, the largest held outside the United States. Rold skov is a natura 2000 area and it is both habitat-area and bird protection area.

Store Økssø

Lille Mossø

Store Økssø
Vandnavle/ Marsh Pennywort
This day in a sunny weather with a few showers we visited a couple of lakes in Rold skov where we have often found interesting plants and insects. The small lake is Mossø (there is another lake in Denmark called Mossø, it's a big lake near Silkeborg) The big one is Store Økssø, the second largest lake in Rold skov. It is 33 ha with a depth of 8 meter. It is a genuine forest lake, surrounded by forest and moor. The water is clean, but the lake is nutrient-poor and acidic, so the water is brown from the dissolved huminic substances. The lake is owned by the Danish State, so the fishing is free. Bass and eel are common fish here. The lake attracts many birds in the migration period and big flocks of Goldeneyes are seen. If you are lucky you can see the osprey diving after fish. A special thing by Økssø is that there is a possibility for horse-bathing. There is a bridle-path down to the place where the horses can have a bath on a hot day. There are also bathing places for humans! But they are elsewhere!

We were a litte late for the butterflies we usually see in this place in July, but when we got out of the car by the little Mossø, a rare butterfly flew up from a tree. My son got a photo, before it disappeared. It was the Iris (English: Purple Emperor). It is rarely seen in Jutland (more often at Zealand). Here on this place there is no info about it. It was very a very special sight. I couldn't get a phto before it disappeared. Later we went back to watch, and again it flew up from the same tree - and again I couldn't get a photo. Pity!

Well, it was a lovely day out. July has been so rainy and stormy . I hope August and September will be better .

Lingonberry/ Cowberry

At Mossø  were many lingonberries, also called cowberries, and then there were some berries which are not so common, namely the Cornus suecica, Swedish cornel or Bunchberry (in Danish and Swedish called hønsebær = hen-berry).  They flower i May-June - and now in August they have got some fine red berries, which remind about the lingonberries, only they are bigger.

Swedish cornel/ Svensk Hønsebær
Swedish cornel: 
 Swedish cornel grows in moist acidic soil, typically together with cranberry, dwarf birch, bog bilberry, cloudberry, yellow rattle and hare's tail cottongrass. The Swedish cornel is native to cool temperate and subarctic regions of Europe and Asia, and locally in extreme northeastern and nortwestern North America. They are herbaceous perennials, growing to 5-15 cm tall. The flowers are small dark purple in a tight umbel, sourrounded by four white petal-like bracts. The fruit is a red berry.  The Swedish cornel 's habitat is wet woods and rocks. It is nearly circumboreal. In North America the species is found in Alaska, in British Columbia (Canada), and also eastern Canada (Labrador, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Quebec as well as Greenland, but it is absent in the intervening region.
Where Cornus canadensis, a forest species, and Cornus suecica, a bog species, grow near each other in their overlapping ranges in Alaska, Labrador and Greenland, they can hybridize by cross-pollination, producing plants with intermediate characteristics.

The lingonberry or cowberry (Danish: Tyttebær) was known for thousands of years, but it was rarely cultivated. When the Bronze Age grave of the Egtvedgirl was opened many years ago, they found rests of lingonberry wine in the grave. The bush is fine everywhere in the garden, because it covers the ground with a pretty evergreen layer with flowers and berries. The taste of the berries is a little bitter, but they are excellent for pickles. The high content of benzoic makes them very sustainable. The berries contain many vitamins and minerals, and they are said to counteract urinary infections (like cranberry). The seeds are rich in Omega-3.

The lingonberries were actually once a main essential element to keep people healthy in Sweden through the long winters, where they could not get fresh vegetables. A porridge with fat, salten pork and pickled lingonberry was a classical meal in winter. Because of their high content of benzoic it was possible to make the berries durable without cooking them.

The Highwaymen in Rold 
 Rold Skov lies in Himmerland. It is Denmarks largest
coherent forest complex with 8.600 ha. The forest
was through centuries connected to robbery and violent assaults. Up til the beginning of the 1800s highwaymen were an unpleasant reality for the wayfarers. The big forest lay as a barrier across Himmerland, and the road around it was long and difficult, so people had to use the main tracks through the forest, a piece of the old Hærvejen and another road called Roldvej. Close to Roldvej was the highwaymen's den. There are many exciting storeis about these highwaymen or robbers. A large gang of robbers was uncovered in the 1830s and the trial against them took seven years. Several hundred people were involved in the robberies. One of the convicted was called Bettefanden (Littledevil) and the Jutland author Steen Steensen Blicher wrote a funny short story about him in 1846.


 Røverhulen ( the Highwaymen's den) lies close to one of the old roads Roldvej, which is now a bridle path. It is an impressive hole. According to legend it was a well-hidden resort for the highwaymen . They lived here in shelter of wind and weather and they stretched strings with little bells in the trees, which told them  about the traffic on the road and the eventual loot. The "Robbers of Rold" were stopped  for good -  and so were some highwaymen in another large forest area, Jyske Aas, where another gang was uncovered and punished. From this trial origins the expression "norden for lands lov og ret" ( north of the country's law and order). The forests back then were considered the darkest, darkest Jutland, where it was dangerous to travel.

Today there is a resturant at Rebildvej called Røverhulen and at the same address a smaller place called Bettefanden.

photo 4 August 2012: grethe bachmann



Teresa Evangeline said...

A wonderful montage of photos. Mermen! Love it.

Thyra said...

Thank you!! Those mermen were freezing and I took quickly a snap and went away. They tried to be brave! I'm glad that you are so perceptive!
(took the photo at a certain distance!)

stardust said...

Beautiful, beautiful nature! The yellow water lilies look like Nuphar Japonicum (“Kohone” in Japanese) which I introduced in my post of July 15th. You wrote “eels are common fish” there. Do Danish people eat eel? Japanese people like grilled eel, it’s so tasty.


Out on the prairie said...

Very beautiful shots and story. i loved the Marsh Pennywort, new to me.

Thyra said...

Thank you Yoko! Yes, we love fried eel with potatoes in white sauce, this is a traditional dish in the "country-road inns". We also love smoked eel with scrambled eggs on dark bread.
But the Norwegians - at least in the north of Norway do not like eel. The fishermen call it a snake and throw it out from the boat again. My sister-in-law has told me, she is from Tromsø in the north.

The dishes with eel has become very expensive because the fish has gradually become rare. I would like a piece of bread with smoked eel with scrambled eggs right now. Mumms!! (Another traditional dish is eel in jelly).

Grethe ´)

Thyra said...

Hello Steve, thank you. The Marsh Pennywort is also new to me. It's a fine plant, but everything is so vigorous now after the rain in July.

Grethe ´)

Thyra said...

Hello again Yoko, I forgot the yellow water lilies. I saw your beautiful photos of the yellow water lillies and they look exactly the same as the yellow ones here. It seems they are called both Nuphar lutea and Nuphar japonicum.

They are so pretty - like they have been dipped in butter! I'm hungry now because of my dream about smoked eel! There must be butter on the bread!

Grethe `)