The Black Sun – it almost sounds ominous doesn’t it? If you’re a small worm, grasshopper, or fruit tree around south-western Jutland in fall, I suppose it is. But, for the rest of us, it describes a stunning bird migration which is one of those you’ve-gotta-see-it-to-appreciate-it experiences. While photos like these or video like this may help convey some of the wonder of the Black Sun – the annual migration of more than 14 million starlings – it’s only when you’ve seen the birds in person, heard their chatter, and the incredible whooshing sound of their wings as they move in unison, that you get real insights into why the Black Sun is special.
How does that relate to this week’s photo? It was the main reason that drew me to the historic Danish town of Ribe in southern Jutland. And, while I was drawn to Ribe to see the Black Sun, I soon fell in love with the city itself, often hailed as Denmark’s oldest, is historic, charming and home to beautiful doors, wonderful architecture, and lovely people. It also serves as the home-base for an exploration of the Wadden Sea or “Vadehavet” National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site which is immediately in/around/outside of the town.
While I started my mornings and ended my evenings with hundreds of thousands of birds on the city’s outskirts, the day was spent exploring the near-by nature and countryside. The highlight of which was our low-tide trip out the causeway to Mandø which is where this photo was snapped. The low-tide roadway stretches more than 6km out across the tidal flats to a small sparsely inhabited island. The view during the drive out is a beautiful one, of flat wetlands, birds in flight, and fresh sea air which reminded me significantly of scenes from the most recent Mad Max movie.
I’ve been using the Crag 3 in 1 by Sprayway for the last couple of weeks as fall settled in here in Copenhagen. The jacket has a nice zip-in fleece that keeps it warm, but which can also be removed and used as a stand alone fleece. So far I’ve left it zipped in as the added warm was welcome and I’ve always been a fan of the softness of a good fleece. I was initially slightly concerned by the material that the jacket is made out of, as it is much softer and feels more like fabric-than plastic than most other water-proof jackets I’ve come across. So far, this has proved to be completely unfounded and the jacket has cleanly shed water. It has also worked well as a wind-blocker, keeping me dry and warm even as the Danish fall gets cold. Wind and light rain are both common place here, which makes the combination a major draw for me. I remain slightly concerned that the logo on the chest will in some-fashion compromise the waterproof nature of the jacket, but this seems to be more of a mental concern and not based in actuality.
The fabric used and its texture/look is also a huge draw for me, now that I’ve established that it is, actually, waterproof. It’s soft and feels great to the touch. Which in turn gives it a much better look than many other waterproof/windproof jackets. Zippers are all high quality and metal, which is another pet peeve with a lot of other jackets. The jacket also has excellent external pockets which are deep enough to use and placed intelligently. I’ve never been able to understand why so many jackets in this style have such poorly designed and positioned pockets. The jacket is a bit weak when it comes to internal pockets (within the fleece shell) but the pockets it does have are more than sufficient.
I like the fit, the look, and the hood is functional. I was initially somewhat concerned that the hood wasn’t detachable, but given the nature of how the jacket sits this is no longer a concern and having ready, regular, and easy access to the hood is actually a huge asset.
The only minor negative I’ve encountered so far is that once I’ve drawn down the Velcro cuff tightners for a more snug fit at the wrist, the fleece interior tends to bulge out slightly. This is easily fixed by adjusting the fleece insider the jacket shell or simply by quickly tucking it back up my sleeves. It happens because the fleece is connected with a mixture of the two primary zippers, and then a series of buttons (neck area and sleeves). For a jacket of this nature and with this level of diversity, this is a very small flaw and the benefits of being able to easily add/remove the fleece more than make up for the small periodic annoyance.
I’m very happy with the Crag 3 in 1 and would say, of the jackets within this style I’ve reviewed in the past, this is easily my favorite. The Craig 3 in 1 is part of the new Sprayway fall collection and was provided by Blacks.co.uk where it is currently priced at 120 GBP
While this jacket was provided as complimentary item for review, this review is completely independent and about a product that I am currently actively using and happy to recommend based on my positive first hand experience.
Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here.