Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Saturdaymorning on the river: de Lek

Old and new bridge of the Highway A2 crossing the Lek, near Vianen, ZH.

One of my favorite winter paddles in the Woerden-region is a daytrip on the river Lek. It's only a short ride by car (about 20 km's from Woerden to get to the Lek) and it offers the feel of paddling on a serious stretch of water. When I want to paddle on more lively "big water" (Kajaksport op groot water ;-) but can't spent the whole day on paddling, it's a perfect alternative.
And more attractive points: (1) the scenery of the Lek from Vianen to Schoonhoven is one of the most exciting river-landscapes of Holland. (2) Birdlife along the river in winter is fantastic.

The Lek is regulated by a complex of weirs (Amerongen, Driel, Hagestein). Hagestein is the most seaward weir and locker site. And although it's about 60 km's to the Northsea: tides have up to the weir of Hagestein noticeable influence on level and current of the Lek. The actual effect is rather complicated - it doesn't only depend on the tides out at sea, but also on the amount of water coming down the Rhine and whether the weirs are closed or open). For a daypaddle on the Lek I don't bother about tides and stream - I just paddle some time upstream and when I have got enough I turn and paddle downstream. When the current is (to) strong, it's possible to go eddy hopping ("kribbetjes varen").

Even a familiar place sometimes has its surprises: "recreatiegebied" Salmsteke is a good point to start - parking place direct near the water, sandy beach to set in. I mostly start here. But this stupid barrier is new for me. It's just a few centimeters, but the car with the kajaks on the roof didn't pass through under the 2 meter bar -> little inconveniences...

The second surprise came after the halfway break. During the morning wind was roaming and increasing. The last 10 km got tough: paddling against a steady breeze of 5 Bft. combined with a surprising strong upriver current meant hard work - not quit what paddlers expected from paddling down a river! But we enjoyed it - a good work-out!

Data: Salmsteke - stuw Hagestein - Salmsteke: 29 km, temp. 6,5 gr. Celsius, wind Z-ZW, 3-4 later 5-6 Bft. -> My maiden trip with the Anas Acuta!


COBBER said...

Well Hans,
Hope you now find peace of mind with your "new" AnasAcuta.

I also bought myself another "new" boat beside my COBBER.
This time an old Mariner, but looks like a young Mermaid, hardly used....or maybe she is just an old spinster.

Hans said...

Hi Jörgen!

Congratulations on the Mariner. I had one myself some years ago - and really liked it: despite the higher volume the Mariner is still very responsive.

But for this moment: nothing beats the AA! As you know, I have been looking for a AA for quite some time. Finally I found this very unique example...