Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Schlei Fjord Running Route

Click here for route map

Length 7.2 km (4.5 mi), terrain: a few short ups and downs on a flat trail, gain of 0 meters

It's not well-known internationally, but several fjords cut their way into the northernmost German Baltic coast. And one of the nicest fjords is the Schlei, a 42-kilometer-long inlet stretching southwest from its mouth on the Baltic at Maasholm.

Unlike the steep, mountainous fjords in Norway, those in Denmark and Germany are nestled in sandy hills, dug out by ice-age glacier tongues, or by their melted runoff. The Schlei can seem as wide as an ocean and as narrow as a small river, lined by pastures and woods, dotted by sand cliffs and manor farms.
Along the Schlei

This route follows part of the Schlei's southern shore, along the Schlei Wanderweg, a hiking trail that lines several sections of the inlet.

This running route connects two fjord-side manor farms, Büstorf and Stubbe, near the scenic towns of Rieseby and Sieseby. It follows a very quiet section of the Schlei hiking trail, with several secluded beaches and a lot of nice lookouts over the fjord, then returning on the same trail. It's an inspiring place to be out and about!

We'll start the run at the Büstorf end, as there is a public parking lot there. At the Stubbe Manor end, you have to park further from the trail.
The carpark in Büstorf

So, if you're ready to get going, the turnoff to Büstorf is along the road from Kosel to Rieseby, just a half-kilometer southwest of Rieseby. There is a parking lot for hikers.

Now just continue north on the road the short way to the shore, and from then on northeastwards past the little marina (Wassersportverein Rieseby).

From now on, there are no more buildings or roads until we reach the Stubbe manor. The first part of the trail, directly at the water's edge, is a bit rough, with swampy spots and some deep sand.
Waterside running

It then gets a bit higher and dryer, heading into beech woods and meadows. Out over the water, sailboats cross the glittering reflections.
A little swimming spot

You'll pass a few first secluded swimming spots, and a place where people balance stones into little pyramids.
The stone pyramids

After 1.5 kilometers, for the next 500 meters, the waterside trail starts taking some steep ups and downs, and there is a spot with a huge fallen beech tree blocking the path. To avoid those, you can follow the nicer path as it goes through the woods, parallel to shore, but inland a bit. Or you can take the challenging shore path, which is what is followed in this route map. I like this route best, with more water views, creek crossings and secluded inlets.
Crossing a stream without a bridge

You'll then head back into woods for the rest of the way into Stubbe. The Stubbe farm is beautiful, and you might want to take a turn to the left to see it. There's a cafe there, too.
The gate-house to the Stubbe mansion

This is the turn-around spot. Now follow the same waterside trail back to the parking lot in Büstorf.

Vikings on the Schlei

There are a lot of Viking remains in the area, especially at the west end of the Schlei, near the main town of Schleswig. There is the archeological site of Haithabu (Hedeby) on a little side-arm of the Schlei. Haithabu was an important Viking trading town, where goods were unloaded from Baltic ships and carried westwards over land to the Eider River, where it was again put on boats and shipped out to the North Sea. Some of the Haithabu buildings have been rebuilt on their original locations, and local people reinact some of the village inhabitants, exhibiting their crafts. There's also an interactive museum. Check for more details here.

And starting in Haithabu, a long earthen wall, the Dannewerk (spelled Danevirke in Danish), begins, guarding the land to the Eider, much like Hadrian's Wall did in Britain. It was built to protect Denmark's southern border from Saxons and Slavs encroaching from the south and east.

You can also find several big stones carved with Viking runes in the area, and a few were moved to the Haithabu museum. Enjoy your stay!

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