Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Dad and Daughter from Diez to Koblenz (River Lahn, Germany)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    3,556

    Default Dad and Daughter from Diez to Koblenz (River Lahn, Germany)

    The river Lahn is a 152 mile long tributary of the Rhein (Rhine) and was described to me as Germany's answer to our river Wye: a classic canoe-camping choice for those seeking easy paddling and great scenery. In high season it can apparently become over-run with holidaymakers, but when we started asking about options in that area for late May/early June... this was the immediate recommendation – and when we heard of the shuttle by train, we thought we should give it a go!

    We managed to get hold of a copy of Kanuwandern in Nord-und Westdeutchland and did some research. The river is apparently navigable by canoe from well upstream of Marburg, and whilst there's nothing in the way of rapids, I've been told since our visit that paddlers can find a healthy current and very pleasant paddling (especially in high water, and including a notable section through a tunnel). From somewhere around Gießen, the river's a navigable waterway... and it winds through some very pretty countryside (though we only discovered this by carafter our trip).

    Our own first encounter with the river started some 80km downstream of where the markers start (presumably near Gießen). This was at Diez: a small and very attractive town that was wonderfully sleepy first thing on a Sunday morning as we approached having driven off and on through the night from Calais. Driving NE to Limburg (a much larger town) took us out of attractive woodland and suggested a less appealing paddle... so we settled on paddling from Diez... though not with any clear idea of where we might end.

    This map shows the stretch we were on:



    Thanks to advice from a local canoe hire place we managed to find a good place to park(car-park river right, just below the main bridge) and by early afternoon (after a lot of playing around, and rather a lot of strawberries) we were on our way.

    “We” comprised Little Miss Quester (veteran paddler at 6½ years of age) and her dad (making the best of his daughter's enthusiasm). Before long, one of us was fast asleep in the boat (not unreasonable as we'd only napped in the car during the night)... and the paddler who remained awake was thinking he could do with a nap as he navigated us through the first of what turned out to be many, many Schleuse:



    After we'd passed through this monster, the sleepy-head woke up and wanted a late lunch, after which we went on foot to investigate the bit she'd missed. A passing party boat provided some entertainment:



    The construction of this thing had to be seen to be believed, and has been a discussion point ever since:



    ...but my daughter was also taken with the partying:



    After a while the Loch-keeper pointed out that the next Schleuse would be closing within the hour. The sign on the first Schleuse explained the system:



    Another thing to note is the flag system: boats are expected to wait until summoned... when the red and white signal flag is replaced by the green and white signal flag. This was the one of the first Schleuse:



    Within the hour we were through the second Schleuse:



    Aside from at the Schleuse, we had the valley completely to ourselves.



    We'd been told of a bivi-site just past the confluence of the Hölloch, but we either went too far or didn't go far enough. We spent almost as long looking for the right spot as we'd spent paddling, but eventually wild-camped next to this fishing pad:



    The view from the tent was great:



    Before long we had eaten and got ourselves straight and were ready to turn in:



    In the morning, Little Miss Quester read a bit of her book:



    …played around:



    …and met a local resident:



    In the mean time, dad filtered and boiled some water:



    During which time more local residents passed by:





    Eventually, Little Miss Quester went for a paddle:



    By the time we got going, the local time was past mid-day... but we were in no rush!

    Although we mostly had the river to ourselves over the three days, we did occasionally bump into this monstrosity:



    Some of the other characters we met at the various Schleuse were rather more photogenic:



    At some point in the afternoon we found came across a lovely little place called Obernhof:



    If you were wanting to get out of the canoe and hike a little, the lower Lahn offers lots of little gems like this one:



    That afternoon we considered looking for a bivi site that was supposed to be near the confluence of the Gelbach... but it was a bit early so we pressed on to Nassau... which wasn't my sort of place at all... so we portaged the next Schleuse (which had just closed for the evening) and continued until we struck lucky with a great little site at Dausenau.

    The next morning, I found a local resident camped at the end of our tent....



    For once, we were actually up and off pretty early... on a day of pretty changeable weather: I mostly recall the extended periods of rain...but it looks as if it had stopped when I took this shot:



    Anyway,we continued downstream, with my tandem partner really getting into her paddling. We had distractions like stopping to watch a diver going down to mend a Schleuse, a bit of wash hanging...and a rather unnecessary portage where a loch-keeper wanted us to wait forever for another boat coming downstream (unlike the rest of the loch-keepers, who generally had us on our way in double-quick time).

    One highlight of the day was following a kingfisher down the river. Encounters with herons also added interest. Sadly, we've no photos

    Before long we had reached the confluence with the Rhein (Rhine) and were racing down towards Koblenz on a very strong current with some big boats for company: a stretch that brought back memories of a paddle I'd done as a teenager, incorporating Loreli. This was great fun, but before we'd really gone far I noticed a train crossing on the bridge we'd just passed under:



    As our shuttle back to Diez was to be by train, I was keen to ensure we didn't continue way past the station, and spotting an obvious exit point into a park on river left, we dived through a gap between the big boats:





    A moment or two later we were done:



    Our exit point turned out to be convenient enough, so we packed up and headed off to the Bahnhof:



    Before long we were heading back up the valley:



    ...and then we were back in Diez:



    We had a play around,and then headed off to collect the canoe, but detouring slightly to take one last look at where we'd been, this time from the road:



    By early evening we were on our way to Kringelfieber 2011, extremely pleased with how our half-term break had started
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 13th-June-2011 at 12:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Eastern England
    Posts
    1,098

    Default

    Looks like a fine paddle, Greg. Thanks for the write up; and the book suggestion. I've not been to Germany in a very long time. (My wife is very fond of France.) I'd like to go and explore some of its countryside sometime.

    Where do you leave your canoe when you do a train shuttle like that? Do you ask someone to keep an eye on it or just padlock it to a railing/tree? Or just hope it'll be ok alone in a public park?

    Great to see you last week. I must try and bring my nearly 8-year old along sometime. He hasn't taken much to paddling yet, but I have hopes he may come round eventually. Seeing other children enjoying it might help ...

    All the best,
    Ian

  3. #3

    Default

    Went there on a school trip once! Is he lager still really great?

    Lovely pics BTW,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Pershore, Worcestershire
    Posts
    5,424

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wavecloud View Post
    Went there on a school trip once! Is he lager still really great?
    Lager? On a school trip?

    Great blog, though. There is some superb paddling to be had in Germany. I'm heading back to Bavaria for a fortnight this Summer and I will definitely be taking a boat with me.
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    Lager? On a school trip?

    Great blog, though. There is some superb paddling to be had in Germany. I'm heading back to Bavaria for a fortnight this Summer and I will definitely be taking a boat with me.
    Yes - the teachers were very brave!

    We had actually left school about 1 month before and you could drink in Germany at 16!!

    You can imagine the carnage!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southport, really in Lancashire, UK
    Posts
    1,869

    Default

    A good blogg and insight into paddling in Germany.

    Your daughter looked like she enjoyed the experience.

    Oh and the sleepy bird is an Egyptian Goose. Many have escaped from collections.
    http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/bird...ose/index.aspx

    Thanks,

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    19,885

    Default

    Nice one Greg!


    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    Lager? On a school trip?

    I had a similar experience myself. School exchange at 15 meant drinking beer in the sun in the marketplace. It was great.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    3,556

    Default

    I'll take your word for it on the goose, Doug, but yes: dearest daughter remained enthusiastic throughout the trip - though she tells me she did bemoan the absence of rapids to her Dutch and German friends at Kringelfieber! Her favourite bit, predictably enough, wasn't actually on the Lahn at all: it was the initial stretch of the Rhein, just below the confluence, where with current low water levels we found some standing waves (made more interesting by the bow waves of the big boats). The Rhein really was low though: someone said 10cm lower than the average of the 10 lowest years on record - though that might have been just for this time of year.

    Re. Paddling in Germany: anyone wanting more information on any specific area / river might want to try http://www.canadierforum.de/

    Re: What to do with the canoe and kit during the shuttle. I carried everything except the boat the 20 minutes or so to the station and then back on the train to Diez. We'd not travelled especially light, and once I'd shed buoyancy aids and paddling gear it was as much as I wanted to carry, but that worked ok. The boat was locked to a couple of big posts for a couple of hours.

    Re: introducing youngsters - I do go out of my way to ensure my daughter is aware that other youngsters paddle (and enjoy paddling). We also work on the inspiration front in other ways though: we went up to Cumbria for a workshop with Becky Mason last year, and we've attended a few canoe festivals/symposiums (including Kringelfieber twice: outstanding for inspiration), and we've mixed up canoe sailing, poling, white-water paddling, sea paddling, freestyle, day and overnight tripping and after-school social ambles with local friends. Throw in a few DVDs for good measure and thus far (touch wood) we've had no signs of diminishing interest!

    Ps. I was more concerned to take on board enough water to avoid excessive dehydration than to find local lagers! Alcohol and watersports / tripping still strike me as curious bedfellows!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Gamlingay, No where near a river :-/
    Posts
    777

    Default

    Cracking blogg Gregg, coupled with some of your best photo's to date.

    Steve
    Had a great time at the Canoe Symposium 2011 - Harry Rock is now my hero.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    3,556

    Default

    I've just found photos that are way, way better than any of mine: for a flavour of the Lahn see http://www.klaes-w.de/thumbnailseiten/lahn.htm

    One place I'm particularly sorry to have paddled straight past is Balduinstein: photos in the above link show why I wanted to stop... but my daughter was just dozing off and needed to catch up on her night's sleep - so that remains one for another time!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Helensburgh, Scotland.
    Posts
    1,740

    Default

    An excellent blogg Greg and it looks like a beautiful area to paddle.
    We saw a few of those Egyptian Geese on the Broads last week (apparently they're particularly noisy if disturbed according to one of the locals we spoke to).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Some where, no where just hanging about in a tree near water with a canoe
    Posts
    378

    Default

    Great blog one day i will get across, nice to see another boat with scratches on it.

    Cheers
    Ian
    "….a man is part of his canoe and therefore part of all it knows.
    The instant he dips a paddle he flows as it flows." - Sigurd Olson, The Singing Wilderness.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    4,649

    Default

    Smart. Very smart.

    So disheveled is the train system in the States that it's hard to think of a river where one could shuttle by choo-choo. Perhaps the Animas in Colorado, if one is willing to cut the river run a bit short. However, one daren't take one's precious daughter on the Animas....

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •