The Ludwig-Donau-Main-Kanal (LDM)

LDM Canal sign at Kelheim © Ricky Yates

Not only in recent months has there been a relative absence of blog posts here, even when I have managed to put fingers to keyboard, I’ve only usually written about my house, my long argument with Barclays Bank, or my ongoing ministry at the Dresden Frauenkirche. In times past, I’ve often written about my travels, both within and beyond the Czech Republic. This post is my first attempt to return to doing so.

On the weekend of 13th-14th April, I spent two nights in Regensburg, breaking my long drive from Stará Oleška to Beatenberg, Switzerland, where I attended the ICS Chaplains Conference – Monday 15th – Friday 19th April. On that weekend, my love of canals and inland waterways which I have previously written about here and here, led me to explore what remains of the Ludwig-Donau-Main-Kanal (LDM), deep in the Bavarian countryside.

The LDM was constructed between 1836 – 1846, from Kelheim on the Donau/Danube, about twenty kilometres west of Regensburg, to Bamburg on the River Main, a major tributary of the Rhein/Rhine. It thus crossed the European drainage divide as the Main/Rhein/Rhine flow to the North Sea whilst the Donau/Danube flows to the Black Sea.

Unfortunately, it was never a great economic success for three reasons. Firstly, its locks, of which there were exactly one hundred, had fairly small dimensions meaning that the much larger vessels that traded on the Main and the Donau/Danube, couldn’t pass through it. Goods had to be transhipped onto smaller vessels and it became a bottleneck.

Secondly, there were frequent problems with water supplies to the summit level which delayed through passage.

Thirdly, soon after it was opened, competing railways were built which could move goods more quickly and in greater quantities. The canal consequently lost trade in a similar manner to the narrow canals in the English Midlands.

The LDM Canal suffered considerable damage during the Second World War, especially where it passed through Nürnberg. Post 1945, it was therefore decided not to try and repair the bomb damage and the canal was officially abandoned in 1950.

Canal Harbour at Kelheim © Ricky Yates

The LDM Canal commences in Kelheim where it leaves the Donau/Danube. The first lock up from the river is followed by this large canal harbour. Alongside the harbour are signs explaining the history of the LDM. These were erected 2021 as part of celebrating the 175th anniversary of the canal being opened.

Canal Harbour near Beilngries © Ricky Yates

The next traces of the LDM I found were near the small town of Beilngries, forty kilometres north-west of Kelheim. Here there are the remains of another canal harbour, complete with a crane, but the canal bed is dry.

Mooring ring © Ricky Yates

But a mooring ring is still embedded in the harbour wall.

Aqueduct at Gösselthal © Ricky Yates

At Gösselthal, I discovered this quite substantial aqueduct. But as at Beilngries, the canal bed is dry.

LDM Canal in water, near Berching © Ricky Yates

However, from about a kilometre north of the aqueduct, the canal is in water. Sadly, it is blocked in numerous places where road bridges have been dropped, such as immediately behind where I was standing to take this photograph.

Lock 26 at Berching © Ricky Yates

This is Lock 26, located just north of Berching which, as you can see, is in good condition.

Canal Harbour at Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz © Ricky Yates

Whilst further north, in the larger town of Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, there is another Kanalhafen/Canal harbour.

Stop gates on the LMD Canal near Oberölsbach © Ricky Yates

My last discovery, before returning to Regensburg on the Autobahn, was near the village of Oberölsbach. These are what I believe to be a set of stop gates, allowing a section of canal to be drained.

According to my map, the LDM Canal is in water, all the way from here to the outskirts of Nürnberg. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore any further on this occasion 🙁 Within Nürnberg, post-1945 development has eliminated the line of the canal, whilst north of the city, the construction of Autobahn 73 has completely flattened it. But I believe there are some traces near to Bamburg, including Lock 100, which connects the canal to the River Regnitz which then flows into the River Main. One day visiting Bamburg is on my ‘bucket list’ 🙂

From 1960 to 1992, the Rhein-Main-Donau Canal (RMD) was constructed between Kelheim and Bamburg. Between Kelheim and Dietfurt, a few kilometres before Beilngries, the River Altmühl has been canalised by the building of three locks.

Kelheim Lock on the RMD Canal © Ricky Yates

Here is the first lock, just outside Kelheim. As you can see, the RMD Canal has been built with large locks that vessels that ply both the Donau/Danube and the Main can pass through. The LDM also canalised the same section of the Altmühl, but with thirteen locks.

Small pleasure craft leaving the lock at Kelheim © Ricky Yates

However, alongside the new large lock at Kelheim, there is also a much smaller one for pleasure boats to pass. I was lucky to see this little boat pass through.

After Dietfurt, the RMD Canal takes a more westerly route to Nürnberg and on to Bamburg, than the LMD Canal. And in place of the one hundred locks on the LMD, there are only sixteen on the RMD.

House renovation – the next stage

The little un-renovated ground floor room © Ricky Yates

As I entitled my previous post, ‘The renovation of the ground floor of my house is just about complete‘. But there are two important little phrases in that title – ‘just about’ and ‘ground floor’. And those two phrases are connected.

The photograph on the left shows the one little ground floor room to which nothing has been done, (other than me vacuuming up all the cobwebs before taking the photo 😉 ), hence ‘just about’. And there remain two rooms in the roof space to which also nothing has been done, hence I wrote ‘ground floor’.

Please note, I didn’t say ‘upstairs’, in describing the two rooms in the roof space. Because that is the problem, . . . → Read More: House renovation – the next stage

The renovation of the ground floor of my house is just about complete

Stará Oleška 44 with the first snowfall of the 2023/24 winter, 24th November 2023 © Ricky Yates

Once again, I have to start a blog post with a sincere apology for the absence of any posts for a whole six months – the longest hiatus in the fourteen-year history of this blog. In recent months I have said to myself several times that I must start writing again. But then, there are always other things to do. But enough of my excuses, here is the latest instalment of the renovation of Stará Oleška 44.

Before the extension on the west side of my house was built, (on the left in the photograph), with a new front door into an entrance lobby and what is now my sitting-dining room, the way into the house was up . . . → Read More: The renovation of the ground floor of my house is just about complete

My ongoing ministry at the Frauenkirche, Dresden

Walking towards the Frauenkirche © Ricky Yates

I’m very conscious of two things. That I haven’t posted here for two months and that most of my more recent posts have either been about my disputes with UK banks or about the renovation of my house. So here is a new post about my ongoing ministry at the Frauenkirche in Dresden, a topic I haven’t written about since February 2020, except for briefly mentioning it in my post about last winter.

The day after our December 2022 service of ‘Nine Lessons & Carols for Christmas’, my Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel and I had a most useful meeting with the two Frauenkirche clergy – Pfarrer Markus Engelhardt and Pfarrerin Angelika Behnke. Archdeacon Leslie asked about the possibility of having a second English-language . . . → Read More: My ongoing ministry at the Frauenkirche, Dresden

I’ve written a book!

My book © Ricky Yates

After sitting in a warehouse near Prague Airport for several days, awaiting customs clearance, yesterday, courtesy of UPS, a parcel containing three copies of my ‘Collection of Life Stories’ was delivered to me at my home. Yesterday evening, I posted this photo on Facebook and was rather overwhelmed by the number of ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ it received with several people saying that they wanted copies of the book. Therefore I decided that a blog post of explanation was called for.

For my 70th birthday in February 2022, my daughter Christa gifted me a one year subscription to Storyworth. What this has meant is that once a week on a Monday, I have received an emailed question about my life to which I had to reply. Each of . . . → Read More: I’ve written a book!