Cycle the length of the Göta Canal. Tåtorp - Sjötorp - PDF

Cycle the length of the Göta Canal Tåtorp - Sjötorp English Version Cycle the length of the Göta Canal Tåtorp - Sjötorp You hold in your hand a guide to one of the Swedish constructions of the millennium,

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Cycle the length of the Göta Canal Tåtorp - Sjötorp English Version Cycle the length of the Göta Canal Tåtorp - Sjötorp You hold in your hand a guide to one of the Swedish constructions of the millennium, the Göta Canal. This guide will lead you from Tåtorp by Lake Viken to Sjötorp by Lake Vänern and provide you with interesting information during your cycling tour. There is fascinating information on the waterway, the locks, the bridges as well as historical facts to be had. You are now on the brink of an exciting adventure and an unusual experience in fantastic surroundings and countryside, where you might at any time feel the very wing-beat of history, welcome! The Cycle tour Cycling the length of the Göta Canal is very easy. You follow the gravel towpath, which is traffic free, always in sight of the canal. From Tåtorp to Sjötorp is a distance of 35 kilometres and a total altitude difference of 48 metres. Along the route there are several picnic areas, restaurants and cafés serving lunch, and access to toilets. History of the Göta Canal The Göta Canal is one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in Sweden. The canal stretches from Sjötorp by Lake Vänern to Mem by Slätbaken, is 190 kilometres long and has 58 locks. Some 87 kilometres of this stretch is excavated canal. The smaller lakes you pass on the way make up 103 km of the canal s length. Construction of the canal began in 1810 under the direction of Vice Admiral Baltzar von Platen. Soldiers from across the land were billeted here for the construction. The ground-breaking took place in Motala, at the same time as work started in Forsvik and in Sjötorp. Three years later the canal s first lock was completed at Forsvik. After a further four years, the canal was navigable between Motala and Hajstorp. It took a long time to build the canal. A total of 58,000 men; Swedish soldiers, Russian deserters (200 of them) and a number of civilian workers, laboured on the construction. The western section between Sjötorp and Karlsborg was completed in 1822, and ten years later, 1832, the final stretch between Motala and Mem was inaugurated, and the whole of the Göta Canal was thus completed. Tåtorp Tåtorp is the start destination of the cycling tour, here the canal continues after Lake Viken. In Tåtorp stands the semaphore that previously stood on Lanthöjden. Here too is one of the canal s two manually operated locks, the other is in Borensberg in Östergötland. This lock was built in 1814 and was named Daniel Thunberg after the 1 man who drew the first canal plans. The lock at Tåtorp is a level lock, which regulates the water height between the canal and Lake Viken, and has a rise of 0.2 meters. From Tåtorp you cycle west along the towpath on the right hand side of the canal. Now you come across more and more forest and hills, and close to the canal ferns grow, you can also find blueberries and lingonberries amongst the trees near the canal. The stretch from Tåtorp to Lanthöjden also belongs to Bergkanalen, here the canal builders had to blast through the bedrock and it took seven years to complete. Bergkanalen Lanthöjden After about three kilometres you come to Bergkanalen, this stretch of canal was built during the years , and thus the 900-meter long and narrow passage around Lanthöjden was reduced by half. This accomplishment was happily received, especially by the larger ships that plied the canal, as the narrow stretch had caused much misery with such things as broken propellers and difficult encounters. The old stretch is no longer navigable for larger boats because today there are fixed bridges over the canal, but it is a perfect canoe route. On the island that was created when the new stretch was built, stands an obelisk declaring that Lanthöjden is the highest land point on the Göta Canal, 91.5 meters above sea level. Visioner vid Vatten (Visions by the Water) The Art Project, Visioner vid Vatten has made a real impression along the length of the Göta Canal for a number of years now. An annual art competition has resulted in permanent artistic creations or displays in the canal communities. Visioner vid Vatten is a collaboration between AB Göta Kanalbolag, the Regional Association Östsam, Väster Götaland s Region and the municipalities of Norrköping, Söderköping, Linköping, Motala, Karlsborg, Töreboda och Mariestad. The project is also in partnership with The Public Art Agency of Sweden. Pojken (the Boy) by Bianca Maria Barmen 2009 Excerpt from the jury s justification: Bianca Maria Barmen has with her sculpture group, drawn together a true story surrounding the transport of the Obelisk, worked in stone, to Lanthöjden. This Obelisk marks the highest point of the Göta Canal, 91.5 meters above sea level, in Töreboda municipality, between Tåtorp and Vassbacken. Bianca Maria Barmen also evokes through this work, her own experiences of the canal during the journeys of childhood... Vassbacken After having cycled a total of five and a half kilometres from Tåtorp, past Lanthöjden, you come to Vassbacken. This place is like an oasis in the middle of the countryside, 2 today you will find a café, a campsite and a hostel here, but previously this place, as with so many others along the canal, was an important transhipment point. Around Vassbacken were many large farms, and here the district s grain farmers loaded and unloaded their wares, the small warehouse was housed in the café building and there was also a large warehouse, which has now been demolished. The Posthouse in Vassbacken During the years there was a postal station by the name of Wassbacken. When the Göta Canal s western section was inaugurated, Vassbacken became a hub where the canal met the old highway. The mail stagecoach between the county town of Mariestad and Wanäs by Lake Vättern (now Karlsborg), stopped here. A little building, which stood by the lock inspector s house, was fitted with bars and became the post office with the lock inspector as postmaster. Today the post office is a little museum run by Moholm s Local History Association, with exhibits on the Göta Canal and Vassbacken s postal history. Three and a half kilometres now remain before you arrive at Jonsboda. First however you must pass the roller bridge in Stång, from where the bridges in Jonsboda and Vassbacken are also remotely operated. The white canal boats If you are lucky during your cycle tour you may see one of the three large white canal boats, which cruise the stretch Stockholm Gothenburg and back. These boats belong to Rederi AB Göta Kanal, not to be confused with AB Göta kanalbolag, who are commissioned by the owners, the Swedish Sate, to maintain and develop the Göta Canal. These three boats are built to fit exactly the Göta Canal locks and bridges. M/S Juno is the oldest of the ships, she was built in 1874 at the Motala Verkstad and is the world s oldest ship with cabin facilities. The most recent renovation was in 2003 and in 2004 the ship was K-märkt (listed), which means she is considered of historical cultural importance by the National Maritime Museum. M/S Wilhelm Tham is, just like M/S Juno, built at the Motala Verkstad, and she was completed in The ship has 25 cabins spread over three decks providing places for 50 passengers. Thammen (The Tham) is also K-märkt, like her colleague Juno. M/S Diana is the youngest of the boats and was built at the Finnboda wharf outside Stockholm in Differing from the other two ships, M/S Diana s salon and dining room are combined, making her suitable for conferences and meetings of up to 50 people. Diana too is K-märkt. 3 Jonsboda bridge-keeper s lodge At Jonsboda bridge, the new bridge-keeper s lodge was built in wood in Carl Andersson was the first to move in. This bridge-keeper and blacksmith remained at his post for 43 years, from 1858 until his death in Then came Anders Gustaf Engren, also a blacksmith. Engren was the bridge-keeper in Jonsboda for 19 years. The next one was called Svensson, he too was a blacksmith. Svensson lived in Jonsboda from 1920 to In 1965 the job of bridge-keeper in Jonsboda was amalgamated with the one in Stång. Today the bridge-keeper in Stång also remotely controls Jonsboda bridge. (Excerpt from Göta kanal bilder från västra linjen [Göta Canal Pictures from the Western Section] by Owe E Hermansson) At Jonsboda it is necessary to cross the canal in order to continue to follow the old towpath. Today a Café is run in the bridge-keeper s cottage in Jonsboda. Excavated canal The western section comprises 37 kilometres the eastern section 50 kilometres excavated canal. The excavated earth would virtually be the equivalent of a 5 meter-high and 1 meter-wide wall from Treriksröset to Smygehuk (the northern tip of Sweden to the southern tip). Why not? The canal is 3 meters deep, 26 meters wide on the surface and 14 meters wide across the bottom. The aggregate was just right to dike the canal and avoid floods. (Excerpt from Göta canal bilder från västra linjen [Göta Canal Pictures from the Western Section] by Owe E Hermansson 2002) Now a level cycling of about five kilometres awaits you through lovely pastoral landscape before you get to the next bridge at Rotkilen and Töreboda. You can now see that the landscape has altered from the forest and hills around Tåtorp to an open landscape of fields and meadows. Right on the edge of Töreboda you pass Rotkilen s roller bridge where you once again must cross the canal in order to continue following the canal bank. Just beside the bridge is one of the canal s cobbled culverts where small streams and watercourses are able to pass under the canal. In Töreboda, right before the rail bridge and station house, you may take a trip on Sweden s smallest ferry, Lina. Lina Sweden s smallest ferry It was not a boat skipper, but a retired train driver who took the initiative for the only regular boat transverse connection across the Göta Canal. Oskar Lindhult was born in 1857 and retired in After a couple of years Oskar needed something to keep him busy. He knew that those who lived in the Börstorp area, on the other side of the canal in Töreboda, were always forced to take the long 4 way around to get into the community. In 1919 he started the first ferry crossing, with a skiff, which he himself rowed or twisted back and forth over the canal. For his trouble he took 5 öre per person for a single journey. In this way Oskar gained both employment and a purpose but he had also set in motion something that would be used by many people. In the 1940s the Töreboda community took over the ferry and made it public transport (Excerpt from Göta kanal den blå vattenvägen genom Sverige [Göta Canal the blue waterway through Sweden] by Svahn/Nordholm 2004) When the canal was built there was no railway, it first arrived in For a long time Töreboda was a thriving trading place where the railway and the canal mutually benefited each other, and several transhipment warehouses were built. There were many shipping companies that cooperated with the railway companies, thus it is not strange that it was decided to place the entrance to Töreboda s large red brick station house next to the canal, as that is where most of the traffic came from. Töreboda municipality has around 9,000 inhabitants. Also included in the municipality are the urban areas of Moholm and Älgarås. Distinctive of Töreboda is that here the tranquil traffic of the Göta Canal is crossed by the main western railway carrying the Gothenburg to Stockholm express. The area is characterised by a variety of businesses and several large industries. After the rail bridge you must follow the signs and cross over the canal by the road bridge. From the bridge-keeper s house in Töreboda, the bridge-keeper controls a number of bridges, remotely operating the following; Rotkilen, Töreboda road bridge and rail bridge, as well as Gastorp and Lövsäng. When leaving Töreboda you will pass the guest harbour and on the north side of the canal lies a camp site with its cabins with open-air swimming pool. On the outskirts of Töreboda lies Gastorp s roller bridge after which there is a cycle stretch of about four kilometres before you arrive in Hajstorp. Brothers John and Nils Ericsson In July 1810 the former mining foreman Olof Ericsson came to Forsvik. His two sons, Nils and John, were at that time eight and seven years old respectively. John developed an interest in drawing and model building early on, among other things he had, as a six year old, constructed a detailed miniature of a mine. In the year 1815 the canal school in Tåtorp was founded, the first technical further educational college in Sweden. The brothers John and Nils received their training here when they were accepted as cadets in the Swedish Navy mechanics corps. Amongst other things they learned planimetry, geometry and the art of shading mechanical drawings or elevations on maps. 5 Baltzar von Platen got to know of John s great skill, and already by twelve years of age John was given responsibility for the major task of compiling drawings of the western section of the Göta Canal. Later John was given the job of deputy leveller at the Riddarhagen s workstation, subsequently being responsible for levelling at Töreboda and Rotkilen. This meant that several hundred men were dependent on the instructions of a young teenage boy. John Ericsson later became further renowned when he invented the propeller and developed the armoured ship Monitor, which was used by the navy of the American Union States to defeat the Confederacy. Nils Ericsson stayed in Sweden and was involved, among other things in the building of the Trollhätte Canal, he was also assigned the position of building controller for the main line when the rail network was developed. (Excerpt from Göta kanal den blå vattenvägen genom Sverige [Göta Canal the Blue Waterway Through Sweden] by Svahn/Nordholm, 2004) When the canal was new, trees were planted along several stretches, different types of trees were tried such as lime, maple, whitebeam and ash. The planting of trees continued, with particular diligence during the 1860s when thousands of trees were planted. In those days there were trees planted the entire length except where the forest reached to the canal. However after a time it was discovered that tree planting created problems in certain places where the trees grew fast, and the roots stretched down into the canal embankment and destroyed the support walls of packed clay. This created leaks, which could be very serious. There was nothing to be done but to remove several trees from those places where the canal was narrowest. On the stretch between Töreboda and Gastorp trees were planted on both sides of the canal, mainly whitebeam. In 1999 the Göta Canal Company once again stared a drive to replant the avenue of trees along the canal. Today approximately 100 trees per year are replanted, and the type of trees used are mainly maple and lime. Hajstorp In September 1822 the western section of the Göta Canal was inaugurated. Hajstorp then received its first visit from a Swedish King. To loud cheering, Karl XIV Johan stepped ashore in Hajstorp at six in the evening on the 23 rd September, where a dinner and party were waiting. Later that evening Baltzar von Platen received the Serafimerordens blå band (The Royal Order of the Seraphim). One hundred years later came the next king to visit Hajstorp, now the king was called Gustav V. At the beginning of the 1900s a memorial stone had been erected in Hajstorp, the king added a plaque bearing his signature at this 100-year jubilee. In Hajstorp there is also one of the few preserved rolling bridges from the Motala Verkstad (Motala Workshop). 6 For nearly 125 years Hajstorp was the main location for the canal company s workshops in the western section. A Café and Hostel are housed in the lock-keeper s house today. When the cycling continues westwards after the bridge lies the former canal engineer s grand wooden villa on the right, with two small gazebos, Lahrin s pavilions. Today, in the old harbour warehouse on the other side of the canal, handicrafts by the Association of Artisans from around the canal are for sale, as well as an exhibition run by Törboda s Local History Association. After a fairly flat cycling from Tåtorp it gets really steep here in Hajstorp. Here we have the double lock Hajstorp Övre (Upper Hajstorp), Thomas Telford (Baltzar von Platen s Scottish advisor) and the double lock Hajstorp Nedre (Lower Hajstorp) Krigsmakten (The Armed Forces). Together the four locks have a rise of 10.1 meters. At Riksberg, right below Hajstorp, you can see a triple lock, named for the canal s founder, Baltzar von Platen, the lock steps have a total rise of 7.5 meters. Before the canal continues after Riksberg, you pass a rolling bridge. Just over one kilometre further along the canal bank you will come upon Godhögen with its double lock. This lock is named Vetenskaperna (The Sciences). It was built in 1822 and has a total rise of 5.1 meters. After Godhögen you continue about 2 kilometres toward Norrkvarn. Here the canal moves through a more open landscape and beautiful surroundings. Norrkvarn s Workstation The workstation in Norrkvarn was important to the canal construction. From here 5.8 kilometres of canal would be completed. Many technical problems existed in Norrkvarn, which had to be solved. Water courses had to be crossed, Fredsberg bog had to be drained and high embankments were required. Norrkvarn s mill dating from 1927 lies 200 meters to the south of the bridge. The four-floor building was constructed on a site with a long history of mills. The buildings were totally renovated in 2004 and today house Norrqvarn s Hotel and Conference Centre. Visioner vid Vatten (Visions by the Water) Rosa eko inre eld (pink echo inner fire) by Katarina Norling 2012 The artist says the following about her work of art by the Göta Canal: The art work Rosa eko inre eld is a portal leading into the landscape. But when the Göta Canal is still one can also see the portal, the flames and the exhibit reflected in the water. Then it is a portal leading directly into the water... The lock right after the rolling bridge, which takes the car traffic over the canal, is called Slöjderna (Handicrafts). Next to the upper lock lies Kalkboden, here there is an exhibition showing the significance of Norrkvarn in the canal construction. A 7 marked culture trail of just over 500 meters also starts from here, with signs giving information on the cultural historic environment in the countryside around the area. The next lock, Norrkvarn nedre, is called Samuel Bagge. Now there is a cycling stretch of about two kilometres before you reach the community of Lyrestad, to get there you must pass under the E20 by the walkway alongside the canal. Lyrestad Lyrestad is a community with approximately 450 inhabitants. In Lyrestad the canal passes under no fewer than three bridges, one for the European route E20, one for the main road and one for the railway. Here, von Platen imagined that a large town would grow... but this dream was not realized. Between the years 1823 and 1824 the large canal warehouse was built in Lyrestad. For many years the warehouse was used for loading and storing goods being transported out of, or further into the country. Since the middle of the 1970s the warehouse has been owned by Lyrestad s Local History Association, which has renovated the building and opened a museum. Now follow a stretch of path of approximately two kilometres bringing you to the bridge at Rogstorp. Right before Rogstorp in the fields to the left one can see a large stone in the shape of a juniper bush. This is the Rogstorp stone, a rune stone, which is over a thousand years old, with cross markings and animal reliefs. Alnstones Drivers who were respon
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