The 20th Adventure Club Podcast: An Adventure on the Kiel Canal

Finally, after months of talking about having an adventure, Lloyd (notDavies) and Tim (notCarruthers) head off to Germany, using ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ as their guide.

It’s October 24, both in the book and in the real world. The route is Holtenau to Brunsbüttel. But how does the Germany of today match up to the world of Carruthers and Davies in 1898?

We start with a discussion about the difference between ‘reliving’ and ‘replaying’ a book. Inevitably, we ask you again to pledge your support for the full Adventure Club experience, by supporting us at (00:54)

Tim (not Carruthers) starts us off at Kiel, taking in the harbour, the bierkeller, the post office and even some of the edgier parts of town (03:22); a musical interlude with Ulrich Schnauss (11:10); Lloyd (notDavies) describes Holtenau and indulges in a bit of container ship spotting (12:03).

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October 2, Holtenau: ‘Having made fast alongside a vacant space of quay, we had our dinner’

October 3 finds the two adventurers in Rendsburg, (22:40) enjoying eels from the canal  (29:26) and finally realising it’s German Unity day – *not* German Unification Day (31:36); the final stop is Brunsbüttel, leading out to the Elbe and the sands… (36:52)

Club Business: Nick on house numbers on Baltrum (not Borkum!) and in Japan (42:03); Meg knows a song about kümmel (44:32); Brian brings coals from Newcastle (46:22); Jeff helps on the history of foghorns (46:35); Peter focusses on apples from Kappeln, putting the Finkenwerder in the mix  (48:08)

Missions for next week – members assistance required.

Norderney:  another day, another Frisian island – what can you tell us about this one?

the Clara rendezvous: where exactly is this meeting, and is it actually possible given the tide tables and the time of day?

‘the little drab book’ (and other naval books): is there a real-life model for the book that Clara spots on Davies’s bookshelf? And what of the other tomes that are named: Cowper’s ‘Sailing Tours’ and MacMullen’s ‘Down Channel’?

‘a worthy reception-room for a lady’: so come on, women club members, tell us how a cabin should be organised to suit the fairer sex? Generally, do men and women sailors organise their boats differently at all?

2 thoughts on “The 20th Adventure Club Podcast: An Adventure on the Kiel Canal

  1. Published in 1869 then 1893, “Down Channel” by R T McMullen is a real book by one of those early “gentleman sailors” who sailed for pleasure, usually with hired crew. A much-loved copy of the book stands in my bookcase.

    McMullen made his money trading on the London Stock Exchange so he could afford the time and money for leisure sailing. To start with he used a hired hand who rarely came up to his standards and was frequently paid off and sent home, sometimes from a French port. His contemporaries describe him as a perfectionist and a pugnacious Protestant.
    He owned a series of yachts ranging from 20ft to 40 ft overall in which he made several cruises in UK waters.
    He became a regular single-handed sailor eventually and he died the way many of us small boat sailors would hope for. In 1891 after a gentle starlit night in the English Channel his boat was spotted sailing along with McMullen crouched at the helm, dead. What a way to go!
    I feel sure that Childers would have read the book avidly as an inspiration for his own cruises.


    1. Great stuff, Tony. As usual, notDavies will be drawing on your knowledge heavily for his contribution to the next podcast 😉


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