On to Rantum! What are the first images that come to mind when you think of the North Sea? Do your thoughts first wander towards the mudflats and endless paths along a dike? If that’s your expectation, we can serve you with that on the current route segment. From Morsum to Rantum, we’ll be traveling over, on, and beside the Nössedeich and along the Rantum basin. No villages, hardly any people, but sheep, so many sheep… and, of course, refreshment points!
Before tourism took over, Sylt was often shaped by military establishments. The Rantum basin is one of these legacies. The Rantum basin and the Nössedeich were constructed in the 1930s with different intentions in mind. While the Nössedeich was meant to protect the meadows and settlements behind it from flooding, the reasons behind the Rantum basin were more sinister. Due to the tides, there were no permanent landing spots for the Air Force’s seaplanes on the island. To address this, they created a dike and an artificial lake, which, through the use of pumps, ensured a consistent water level. However, this vast area, spanning over 600 hectares, was never used as an airfield.
Post-war, the initial plan was to drain the basin and use the land for agriculture. However, in the 1960s, the area, previously used as Westerland’s wastewater collection point, was renaturalized and is now a bird sanctuary. Today, over 50 species of seabirds and waterfowl breed here.
The path around the basin offers splendid moments between the two bodies of water; on the left, the mudflats, and on the right, the basin. Spanning a total of 4km, it’s not the best place for injuries or hitting the wall, but don’t worry, we’ll pick you up here if you can’t continue.
Along the Nössedeich, the route is consistently asphalted, while around the Rantum basin, there’s a gravel surface. Even in the peak season, this stretch is not among the busiest. However, it’s essential, especially on the asphalted sections, to watch out for vacationers who might be using an e-bike for the first time.