Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Lake at Brande Power Station and the Skjern Aa-River

Canoeing the Skjern Aa- river.
North of the Jutland town Brande lies a lake, which is a damming of the large Skjern Aa-river - this is a valuable recreative area with a rich bird life and a nature path around the lake. Each summer is a busy traffic of canoes with young people or families, passing the lake and lifting the boats back down to the river by the old power station, which still delivers some power to a section of the town.

It is a very popular sport to rent a canoe and sail down the river-system of Skjern Aa. The tour starts at Vester Mølle ab. 5 km south of Nørre Snede. Even the unexperienced will quickly learn to steer the light boat, made of aluminum. People get safety vests and paddles and a description of the tour at the start, and if it's a family with children, they can get a children's chair, which is being placed in the canoe. The whole tour is about 80 km, but it is up to each one, how long they want it to be. The canoes can be rented for a day or a few days or a week, and the river can be followed all the way to Skjern harbour. It is a popular holiday trip for a family.

A tour along the Skjern Aa-river gives the best conditions of getting acquainted with a nature, which is not seen in other ways. The tour is filled with both crooked courses and surprises. Canoeing along the river is like a holiday in a scout style and a nature experience to the whole family. It is a very varied route which passes many hairpin turns and beautiful lakes and offers special furnished overnight places. 

The river of Skjern Aa has its source in Tinnet Krat at the Jutland Ridge only a few hundred meters from the other big river, Gudenaa. Skjern Aa is Denmark's water richest river, which often transports up till 50.000 m3 water a minute. The river is passing close to the city Skjern (named after the river), and it has its outlet in Ringkøbing Fjord at the Skjern Aa delta, which is Denmark's only river-delta. Large areas here are pointed out for a National Park.

At the Brande lake and the Skjern Aa-river on a day in August.  
Flowering Rush in the lake
"I am dangerous", it says.

From the parking place is a path through a small forest down to the lake, and in the forest we saw a very large caterpillar. I don't know which butterfly, but possibly one of the moths. It was so large and you could almost hear it chewing the small leaves of a flower!

Before reaching the lake I enjoyed a fine look through the trees to the dark green water and some delicate pink flowers, looking like little chandeliers. The English name is flowering rush or grass rush, in Danish it is called Brudelys, meaning "The Light for a Bride". And this must be the chandelier for the wedding of the elf princess, don't you think?

Monk's Hood
We came out from the path and thereby out into the sun and the pretty view across the lake - we could hear the canoeing families by the power station. They seemed to have a lovely time. The language was Dutch. They know all about channels!

I saw suddenly a blue flower in the middle of the grass at the edge of the lake. It was the Monk's Hood, a very fitting name for this pretty blue flower, but also with warning names like women's bane, leopard's bane, wolf's bane or Devil's helmet. Deadly poisonous, but often used as an ornamental plant in old gardens. It must have strayed from a garden nearby.


view from the nature path.

Policeman's Helmet
We saw no birds that day, maybe it was too hot. It was just after midday, and they were probably sleeping.  Well, there were many plants anyway. There is a special place by the river Skjern Aa, where we have been before, it's a good resting place for a little coffee break! In a corner of the river.

Now when we're in August there were the lots of what is mostly known as willowherbs, Danish name Dueurt (the Dove's Herb) with the pretty dark pink flowers, lots and lots of flowers. Everything is so vigorous now, also large groups of the policeman's helmet ( Indian balsamin), which is on the Danish list of potential invasive species.

Another plant with the name of the Devil like the before mentioned Devil's Helmet is Devil's Bite, except that it is not poisonous. Bees and butterflies love it. It is an ancient medicinal plant, which was known since the 4th century. A old legend says that the devil used the plant for his evil deeds, until virgin Mary stopped him. As a revenge the devil bit off the root of the plant. The plant is easy to draw up, if you want to see the bitten root.
Devil's Bite  -  lying down.

The sneezeweed ( nyserøllike)  often grows together with Devil's bite. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The essential oil of the plant is used in herbal medicine and the leaves are used as an insect repellent. The plant is poisonous to cattle, sheep and horses. 

The last is a big group of the goldenrod which is found in many variations and in many countries. At that point I was so tormented by the heat that I had to find shadow on the other side of the road in the forest. And I was replacing the coffee with water.  See you later!

photo august 2012: grethe bachmann



Carolyn said...

As always! beautiful pictures and story! loved the caterpillar ... what a shot! I think he's beautiful.

I'm stealing your Longfellow quote... ;) beautiful.

Joan said...

I've been doing a bit of catch up Grethe. Gorgeous pictures here. Thank you..

Thyra said...

Hej Carolyn, thank you so much, yes, I have never seen such a caterpillar before.
The Longfellow quote fits so well now in September. My birthday month! (I'm eighty now, Carolyn! ) There's often a good quote from that fellow!
Grethe `)

Thyra said...

Hello Joan, long time no see! You are back on top I hope. Your doodles from the other day are so fantastic. With such amazing colours.

Good luck!
Grethe ´)

Teresa Evangeline said...

I wish I had a pond sometimes, instead of a river. The river is nice, but canoeing around a pond is nicer. Rivers require someone to pick you up.:)

The goldenrod has come and gone, but the zinnias in my garden are holding on tight. Possible frost early tomorrow morning. It all changes so quickly.

Thyra said...

Hej Teresa, yes you're right everything changes so quickly. Soon there'll be night-frost here too - and then we'll begin to wonder: when will the snow come this year - before or after Christmas?

But there will be fine colours in the autumn. I think it must be lovely to have zinnias in your garden, Teresa. I sometimes miss my garden, but then I wouldn't be able to take care of it now. I'll just enjoy what I see!

Cheers to you and Buddy. I've got some photos of a huge dog from lately. I'll put them on the blog.
Usually I'm not afraid of dogs but this dog really scared me!!

Grethe ´)

Depends on how big the pond is! If it is a tiny one you'll look funny! Round and round and round! LOL!