So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog


The river Mur

Before - picture swiped from

 The local power company, Salzburg AG wants to install a power station on the river that flows past our house, the Mur.  The river has already near its source near Zederhaus, two stations.  A gravity one with turbines and  a power station with a reservoir.  Further down the valley, near Murau there is another power station right across the river with turbines, so I guess there is a precedent.


The river begins in the Lungau and is the second biggest river in Austria, and runs through Graz and then into Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary then into the Danube and the Black sea.  In Austria there runs a 365km bike path alongside and locally much is made of the main Lungau river and its beauty and natural ness and so on and so forth. This year, Lungau becomes what I roughly translate a Biological Park because of its pure water, air and land…..

The Mur runs past our house with a waterfall on a bend and in the summer we hear the screams of white water rafters as they go down.  Earlier, there was a small water power station here for the large paper factory, which now makes wood and concrete building blocks.  It consisted of an open leat which then went into a pipe just where the Thomotalerbach river joins it.  Kids used to swim in it despite the danger, but now you can just see the footings of it, since the road has been widened. When it was built, the paper factory was innovative in that it offered its workers accommodation,  childcare and support.  Our house in one of the two accommodation blocks built in the 1930s.

So maybe there is a case for another power station. They want to build this at Kendlbruck at near us, piping the water through the hill from Tamsweg, using turbines I suppose. The local upcry is huge and the meeting in Ramingstein  made the ORF news last week. It seems most of the politicians are against it to.

Now, I’ve never wanted to be a NIMBY, but when Linda came round with a petition, Dave and I realised we needed to decide. I’ve always felt the water power here could be used more, but they don’t seem to think of small units powering a few houses or a village but these big ones which do have an effect on the environment.  Maybe the small ones aren’t cost-effective but there are abandoned old mills all through this valley.

As  you know, I spend too much time looking out my window at the Mur, and even I can see that most of the year, the river (except when flooding, or with snow melt), runs at a lower level than earlier, because of the patterns in the stones and on the banks. Maybe its climate change (No, I’m not getting into all that stuff) or possibly  further up the reservoir takes out too much, maybe this should be addressed.  If they take water out here to fill the tunnel, even I can see that the river level will drop considerably, with effects all the way down the length – what will they do at the power station at Murau?

So in the light of this and we think that it should be small mills that just divert the water, Dave and I have signed the partition. On travelling to Keep fat last night, I suddenly felt if I had said I was for the station, I would have been chucked out the car and told to walk, local feelings are running high!

For those who can read German

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Do I miss the sea?

The Muhr from my kitchen window

I get asked this so often with the asker also usually unable to understand why on earth we should want to live in the Lungau. I usually say that at first we wanted to come and work as Missionaries but were led here instead!!!!

 We lived for years in the New Forest, firstly by the sea near Beaulieu in a tied cottage, which was actually below sea level at high tide, and then in New Milton, about a mile from the coast at Barton on Sea. So I guess it has been a factor in our lives – we also holidayed a lot in the Purbecks, again right by the sea near Swanage.  The ozone, the sea mist and the fog horn were constant reminders of its presence in New Milton. I used to take the kids to the beach a lot at Little Marsh and when they were teenagers we’d spend whole days dipping in and out of the sea and sunbathing.

 Sometimes you have dreams that stay with you, and one I had years ago was of living and retiring by a river – very like the Itchen  at Shawford  near Winchester, but I knew we’d never able to afford such a place and it was a dream. Then we felt the call to come here, and when we found this place, I only dimly registered that there was a river just at the bottom of the road, I was too excited at having found what I knew was our new home.  When we arrived and began to explore, we found the river Muhr runs over a small waterfall just at the bottom of our lane and on our right, the Thomotalerbach runs on two sides of the property over a weir and joins the Muhr about 500 yards away – when we have heavy rainfall we can see it leaping over the stones and banks. The sound of water is constantly around us, the only time it is muted is when everything is frozen and  ice clothes the rivers.  My view from my kitchen window is a constant source of joy, especially after the trees at the bottom of the garden were felled and then our neighbour trimmed the willows on the riverbank.  From here I can watch the flood waters rushing down, the white water rafters screaming as they go over the waterfall and see if the ice has finally got right across on the bend  (Linda said it did so in 1945 and the road was flooded), or just watch the changing light reflected on the water.  We can also walk along the Muhr on a footpath to Tamsweg and the stones that stick out of the water cause a rushing that sounds like waves, and the colours reflect the sky just like the sea but on a smaller scale!  No seagulls in Lungau though.

So do I miss the sea?  Nah!