Kornerup Å

There are no rivers on Sjæland, only streams. Even so, some are steep and vigorous enough to have supported water mills in olden days. Kornerup Å leads from the south into a branch of Roskilde fjord called Kattinge Vig (bay). The stream water is collected in a large artificial lake, Store Kattinge Sø, to supply the mill in the past, and now just a fish ladder. There is a separate bypass weir, from where one has a rare chance to perform a seal launch.

seal launch

After this easy entry, the path into the lake is filled with reeds.

into the lake

After a kilometre and a half of lake paddling we enter the stream, but it soon broadens out into a mere with clumps of yellow water lily just starting to flower.

After that there is another kilometre through Svogerslev lake. Then the paddling gets tougher, with the stream choked with reeds

reed choked stream

But it broadens out under ancient trees which shade out the reeds.

kornerup aa

The gentle paddle against the slow flowing stream ends abruptly at the tunnel leading the water under the main road from Roskilde to Holbæk. The tunnel is high enough but the bed is of stones and sloped to prevent blockage of the tunnel by slow moving debris, so that the stones reach the surface, making dragging a cloth covered boat impossible.

So there, a mere four kilometres from our starting point, we reached the limit of navigation and retired to lunch under a newly constructed bird watching tower.

lunch under tower

We were deep into the rural charm of the national park “Skjoldungernes land”, named after a powerful royal clan which is mentioned in the old English tale of Beowulf, and in other writings. Nowadays, this landscape is being gently returned to managed nature, with fields returning to flowery meadows and artfully arranged copses of new-planted trees. The tower is of modern Danish rural design, with concrete base and zinc coated connectors for the machine sawn beams.

rope ferry

We returned downstream, but against the rising wind, past the rope ferry for people walking through the extensive wetland between the settlements of Svogerslev, now a large suburban settlement, and Kattinge, which retains its village nature. The rope ferry has been rebuilt recently, I’m told because of vandalism, so we have another example of fine Danish rural design, which came close to sinking me as I lifted the cable over my head. It was much heavier than I expected and pushed me over parallel to the water. What were surely once rough hemp ropes are now multi-filament steel wires within a woven synthetic fibre tube, much like a suspension bridge.

kattinge mill

Back in Store Kattinge sø we passed the enticing gap leading to the mill race and an exciting slalom rush down the fish ladder. We had to find the entrance to the alternative exit in the uniform border of reeds.

find the exit

My embarrassment by unexpected dangers continued at the exit ramp. People were being hauled out in their boats. I avoided this help, being fearful that a single sharp flint on the ramp could rip through my canvas boat, so I went a bit forward to find a place to get out on the water. I did not know that the ramp was at the very end of the deep vertical piling leading to the sluice, so my exit was undignified.

hauling out


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