The Limfjord runs right through the Jutland peninsular, in a series of narrow channels connecting many bredning or broads. Much of it is extremely shallow, especially in the middle part, where navigation is only possible in dredged channels. The western entrance was closed off from the North Sea from Viking times until storms in 1825 and 1862 broke through the isthmus connecting to the north part of the peninsular, restoring it as a through route rather than a fjord.
At the narrowest point in the Limfjord lies the ancient city of Aalborg, which dates from around AD700. During the abundance of the herring harvest and during the Hanseatic period it became a wealthy and important city.
Later, most of the medieval timber-framed houses were cleared out to modernise the city, some being moved to Den Gamle By in Aarhus. Aarlborg became and still is a major industrial port. Today many of the city’s spaces are being renovated, so we were unable to access the domkirke.
We learnt that Jens Bang became Aalborg’s wealthiest merchant but was not popular with the governing elite, who conspired to keep him off the city council. Perhaps his was ‘new money’. His response was to build a large and magnificent townhouse, right next to the rådhus (town hall). It is decorated with goblin-like figures said to be unflattering representations of the counsellors of the time. On the side facing the rådhus is one, perhaps Jens himself, poking his tongue out.
Westwards through the Limfjord
Followers of this blog may recall that, when we were in Gudhjem on Bornholm, the singers on the quay sang for us a song Limfjord- Wind and blue waters, a sample of which translates as:
The wind blows fresh over the waters of the Limfjord [..]
Summer sings behind his yacht on a cruise from the North Sea to the Kattegat […]
Longing is salted in the waters of the Limfjord. Here I got the thrill of speed on cheek, with cool splashes against my forehead cooling the turmoil of my sailor’s mind.
Yes, Limfjord, I love your blue mood in the gale from Hals and to the harbour
With narrow channels and shallow bredning most yachts expect extensive motoring. However, the weather has given us a series of days with strong NE winds which have enabled us to make fast progress, often running just under the Genoa, sometimes with even that partially rolled up. This has been accompanied by rain often in drenching downpours. As these words are being written, we are anchored out in the small Harre Vig (cove), sitting out the worst of them and feeling like Noah’s Ark rising on the flood waters. It has been rather different from the idylls of the song.
After another sail under just Genoa, we came to the island of Venø, which is long and thin – 7.5km by 1.5km. As with many islands, it is friendly and relaxed with a noticeable slow pace. We found it delightful, especially as we had a sunny day to explore on our cycles. The island is mostly farmland with woods and very fragrant, especially with dog rose in flower almost everywhere.
At the southern tip of Venø, a ferry runs cross the narrow channel to the mainland. We took it and cycled into the town of Struer. This is where Ynskje’ son Dan lived and worked for some years and she had visited him there, driving by car from the south. Now she visited again by boat and cycle from the north. It was good to return to the tranquillity of Venø.
We spent four nights in the pretty town of Lemvig at the head of a deep bay. The town clusters around an excellent harbour – you can see Antipole moored in the centre of the picture.
It was good to catch up with laundry and other tasks. We really enjoyed the time. It is the sort of place you might forget to leave.
From Lemvig we sailed to Thyborøn, at the entrance to the Limfjord from the North Sea. This is both a port and holiday resort. We enjoyed strolling along the long sandy beach. There are a remarkable series of bunkers, presumably defences created by the Germans in WW2.
Tomorrow we will pass out into the North Sea and start down the west coast of the Jutland peninsular. This is treacherous in strong on-shore winds, so we need to pick the right moments for each passage.
Ynskje & Tony