It may not sound like an obvious activity for a Danish family holiday, but our four day trip was great fun. We were canoeing with my wife's Danish cousins and their family, who told us that this is a very popular traditional Danish holiday (Vikings..)
We collected our canoes or, more accurately, open kayaks and loaded each with tent, two adults, a lot of supplies and a child. They took a remarkable amount of equipment but we planned on being away for three nights. Our party ranged from a 75 year old grandma to a 4 year old grandson and lots of ages in between!
Day 1 - we set off just after lunch, down river towards that night's camp site. Our route took us along the river to a couple of large lakes. Today's paddle was only a few hours, to get us to the entrance to the lake. It turns out, after a mini disagreement, that with two paddling it is best for the heaviest person to sit at the back and steer.. There are multiple campsites along the route, all shown on the map you are given, and easily spotted from the water by yellow signs (and the pile of canoes next to them). The great thing about this is that you can paddle as far as you want and there is always a site within 30 mins.
We reached the campsite at about 5pm. This site was in a forest and proved to be our favourite. It had running water, 2 clean loos, some picnic benches dotted around and rubbish bins. The views of the lake in the morning were amazing as was the lack of mosquitos the night before..
Day 2- we set off on what was to be the longest paddle of the trip, the entire length of the lake. Most of the lake is actually a bird nature reserve, so if that's your thing I am sure the variety of birds is amazing. I am no bird watcher but the scenery was magnificent. Luckily today was another fine day and after a brief stop for lunch and a visit by a herd of bullocks that brought lunch to a hasty conclusion, we headed off for the next campsite. This one was just on the exit from the second lake and if I am honest the worse one of the trip. We should have spotted the flies, full rubbish bins and, not to mince words, disgusting toilets. To make matters worse the ground was uneven and a warden turned up to take campsite fees (around 40 euro/35 pounds) which we had managed to escape the previous night in the lovely campsite.
Day 3- started a bit overcast and drizzly but we had breakfast and set off. We were now back on the river so the opportunity to see wildlife in the banks was incredible. Some of the patches of water lilies were stunning. Just after lunch we had to change rivers, no easy feat with fully loaded canoes. However, rollers had been set up so you pull your canoe up onto the bank then roll 100m across a field and splosh into the next river. By the time canoe number 4 had its turn this had turned into a fairground ride that an HSE Inspectors nightmares are made of, but incredible fun!
By the time we reached our final campsite our luck had expired and the heavens opened. We pitched the tents in the monsoon and gamely started the barbecue. Not wishing to spoil my recollection of the trip with an equipment review, but our group Jetboilwon fans with the family when tea was needed - ridiculously quick to boil water but couldn't master the simmer (maybe liking a jet engine to fly slowly...)
Day 4- more rain... This campsite was very organised. Hot showers, playground, open fire pits, and even a large shed for sheltering in bad weather. The baker had arrived the night before and at 9am turned up and supplied the pre-ordered Danish pastries (if the Danes did camping it would probably be ...) We decided, because of a lack of participant interest (due to the biblical amounts of rain falling) to scrap the final paddle. It was only a further hour to the finish but we grabbed a taxi and rescued the cars. We simply left the canoes at the campsite - the canoe rental company just collects them from wherever you get to.
www.kanoudlejning.dk or www.brobykanoudlejning.dk