It’s that time of the year when I crave to get back out onto the water again – however, this year it’s different unfortunately. Whilst normally I’d be cheerily loading up kayaks onto the roof bars on a weekend, I’m now frustratingly confined to shore due to a knee injury. Indeed, this is despite persistent calls from my son, which it has to be said, is quite a piece of role reversal. For someone who loves being on the water, this can certainly be dispiriting, though I’m confident it’s just a matter of time before normal service is resumed; let’s certainly hope that’s the case.
In Scotland, where I first started sailing and then canoeing, we were pretty spoiled from a water sports perspective, given the sheer availability of water everywhere in the Scottish landscape – whether it be lochs, rivers or sheltered coastal locations. Ok, so Scottish water might certainly not be the warmest; I remember deliberately capsizing in Loch Tay as part of an open canoe rescue course one freezing February day, when the water was a balmy 2 degrees C – never again ! (at least not without a wetsuit that is).
Although there aren’t too many paddling possibilities around Aachen, the saving grace in this region is the Rursee; one of a series of large reservoirs constructed during the 1930s along the valley of the River Rur been Monschau and Heimbach, for supplying water and hydropower to adjacent urban districts to the north. The Rursee lies within the hilly and forested Eifel region and partly within the Eifel National Park area itself. In fact it’s only a 40 minute drive up the road to get there, making it a very doable and pleasant excursion for an afternoon or evening.
Over the last few years, I’ve often dragged (sometimes reluctant) family members and an assortment of paddling buddies and our kids’ pals up there for chilled-out (and occasionally more challenging) sessions on the water. Here’s a selection of images, including our friends Lamar and Pehr, who’ve quite certainly gotten into the spirit of these watery adventures, whether in open canoe, kayak or inflatable boats
Last year, I bought my son Kai his very own kayak – after spinning around in circles for quite a while (and getting extremely frustrated), he’s now taken to it like a duck to water. We’ve found evening trips by far the best time to visit the Rursee – by that hour, the day trippers have largely packed up and gone home for the day, the pleasure cruisers and overzealous rescue boats have finished their shifts (though we do like playing in the waves they create) and there’s generally a more peaceful vibe about the place. In fact you can often get the whole lake to yourself, save for a few sailing boats which drift peacefully by.
So, let’s hope that we can get out on the water and enjoy that evening calm again soon. We just can’t wait…