Two German dams and one castle - June 2005
I spent a holiday week in the Schwarzwald. It was not a UE trip, but I could not resist exploring the waterworks and other interesting infrastructures. It’s a pity I won’t be going back soon.
Eggberg stausee - part 1 - Discovery (Rickenbach - Egg)
Returning from a walk through the woods we stumbled upon this lonesome concrete thing. The warning of “mortal danger” looked enticing. There must be more to see here.

A little way up the road we saw this locked and empty “command centre”. We did not explore right away – the walk was long, it was hot and we were hungry. But we returned the same evening.

The sunset was very nice but we had to hurry in the fading daylight.

(Sorry for the bad pictures - I have a cheap digital camera.)

At the other side of the “command centre” we found this weird thing. Most probably it is the cooling outlet for huge underground pumps, but we called it “Satan’s organ” and imagined the weird low music that this horn could produce.
A little way up the road we found a small building with the sound of water inside.
A mysterious light shone through the thick glass bricks. We enjoyed the deserted mysterious atmosphere of this lonely infrastructure. In a horror movie this would be the “alien breeding lab”.
We saw several gates to the artificial lake but they were all locked. We were too lazy to climb over but we would be back to search for an easier entrance.

(See further down.)

Castle - Schloss Wieladingen (Wieladingen)
Next evening we left my wife at “home” and went to see the castle ruin of Wieladingen. I was always nervous to leave my car in the empty woods, but nothing bad ever happened.

We walked through dark woods, along steep paths and it was all very “Harry Potter” like. We might as well have been in Scotland or Norway.

Strangely enough this was a “restored ruin”. The structure had been stabilized and new steel stairs were going all the way to the top of the tower. One half on the outside of the tower and one half on the inside. There were no other tourists around, we had the whole dark mountain valley to ourselves. It would have been fun to sleep here.
When we left the castle it was dark. We still were the only people in the wood. We had a great ride home and saw a deer at the roadside.
Murgtal - Ancient Industry

 

At the start of the walk we were greeted by this old chimney. It’s not active anymore (I think) because the factory is totally modern – they make “safety textiles” – but most probably the textile factory has been here since 1850.
We walked for several hours along the brook. Sometimes it was raining, but that only enhanced the spooky romantic atmosphere.

We came upon remains of old waterworks, at first we did not know what to make of them. Later we found this building with some explanations.

This shed housed a turbine for a hydro generator of 4,5 kW that powered the textile factory further downstream. It was built around 1850 (I think).
Random "stand alone" infrastructure
Egg - Transformer station. Todtmoos - Bus station with solar light
I love those unmanned (but active) infrastructures that are strewn all over the countryside. They always have a mysterious aura – when all humans disappear from the face of the earth, will they keep functioning?
Wehra Stausee - part 1 - Discovery
On the way back from St. Blasien we took a wrong turn and ended up in another romantic valley. At the end of it we found another artificial lake with impressive (and again unmanned) buildings. We didn’t have much time to explore but we would return later.
Eggberg stausee - part 2 - Reconnaisance
One more evening later I followed the fence of the Egg artificial lake. I passed a field full of cows that started running my way and mooing loudly. So much for being inconspicuous … I didn’t like the idea of climbing the barbed wire fence, but fortunately it ended in a temporary fence with a promising warning: “It is forbidden to enter the construction site!”
After slipping through a hole in the fence I entered a surrealistic landscape. A huge black asphalt container with two mysterious towers. Most probably these are the inlets and outlets of the lake. It looked like a huge radio telescope filled with water. Mission accomplished!
Wehra Stausee - part 2 - Reconnaisance
Another day we returned to the Wehra lake and explored the infrastructures in more detail. We found the outflow building and the entry of the outflow pipe. This is (probably) a 3 meter wide, 40 meter long pipe that can carry 100 m/s. We threw rocks in it, to hear the echo and we sang and shouted into the opening. It had a tremendous echo. I played with the idea of rappelling into it, a suicidal but cool idea …
We descended the 40 meter high stairs to the base of the dam. Here we found two impressive outflows. One of these had weird subwoofer-like constructions. There were lots of warning signs saying: “Mortal danger! Water levels can rise unexpectedly.”
On the other side was the outflow of the “echo” pipe we had seen earlier. We threw rocks in the water and listened for the log spectacular echoes we had heard at the other end. Yep – same thing. Here I wish I had a rubber boat, the water level in the lake stood so low that there was no chance of an unexpected flow of water. The only risk would be rocks that curious people threw in from above.
After running up the 40 meter stairs (puff, puff) I got 5 minutes to look at the last infrastructure piece. I took a few quick pictures of this "Star Wars" launch site and touched the water of the lake ("Swimming and water sports forbidden!"). The rest of the family were sitting in the car and reading, my wife a detective novel and my son the latest Harry Potter novel which we had bought in St. Blasien.
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Petr Kazil

August 2005