Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Packrafting Oude Kale – bis

Another close-to-home after-work paddling trip with Evert. This time we revisit Oude Kale, however not the section between Merendree and Vinderhoute that we did back in February, but rather a hitherto “unexplored” stretch between Nevele and Landegem.

We put in at a small wooden bridge in Landegem and paddle upstream in the direction of Nevele. We meet quite a number of potential obstructions in the form of fallen trees, dense patches of plants, low bridges and tunnels, but manage to get through everywhere, without a single portage. We are struck by how clear the water is, and by the large number of coot nests (with eggs) tucked away along the shores.

The last tunnel before reaching the sports center of Nevele is quite something. It is so low and narrow that we have to pull every trick in the book to get through. At the sports center, Oude Kale disappears below the Schipdonk canal, and connects to Poekebeek at the other side.

After a well-deserved break, we take on the downstream paddle back to Landegem, while the sun slowly sets. Before taking out at the wooden bridge in Landegem, we try paddling a bit further downstream into a mosquito-infested forest, but do not get far, as the river bed is too narrow and overgrown.

In conclusion, another very pleasant and adventurous after-work trip. It continues to amaze us how many interesting spots are available close to home, if one is open to them.

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Packrafting Oude Kale

Historically, Poekebeek and Oude Kale were part of the same water course, but nowadays they are separated by the Schipdonk canal. Whereas Poekebeek has remained relatively fast-flowing, Oude Kale has no noticeable current.

After having paddled Poekebeek from Poeke to Nevele in the morning, Evert and I in the afternoon put in at the Landegem railway station for a 8 km descent of Oude Kale until the Bierstal bridge in Vinderhoute.

The first part of the trip passes the backyards of a couple of houses and the Merendree castle grounds, and is not particularly interesting. We pass under a small bridge in Merendree and as of this point the scenery becomes much more attractive as we now enter the Oude Kale nature reserve. We meet several obstructions caused by fallen trees and have to portage (me) or swim (Evert) in order to get passed.

Around 5 pm we reach the Bierstal bridge and take out after a very enjoyable day with succesful explorations of both Poekebeek and Oude Kale. Both creeks have proven to be quite well suited for packrafts – of course given sufficiently high water levels. We both cannot get over the fact that so close to home, and so close to the hustle and bustle of the city of Ghent, little adventures such as these can apparently be had!

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