In an effort to stop my blog being hijacked by the skipper and am going to devote a little time to explaining to the barging novices the mode of travel on the canals. The skipper has decided my audience wants a bit more than descriptions of our stopping places along the way. So here goes.
The lock system takes the boat up the mountain then down the other side. When you go up the direction is upstream, when you go down, the direction is downstream. This is important to know as the downstream boat has the right of way. Also you can prepare yourself for the movement in the lock, either up or down.
A little side note, in the Netherlands, where sometimes the movement is only a few inches, it is difficult to know if you are going up, or down.
After the lock before Tournai, all the barges stop until they are given permission to cruise through the town
We turned left from the upper Scheldt to the Nimy Blaton Peronnes canal. We were still going uphill, but the next lock was a bigger one, with a rise of 5.6 meters.
Just a little aside…. we stopped off at Peronnes to meet up with friends, James and Julie on Mimosa and deliver mail that we had picked up in Brugge. Bike riding and walks were the order of the next few days with dinner at Chez Joie de Vivre and Mimosa on alternative nights.
More info on the locks etc.
We stopped a few days at Mons to stock up (beer and wine), before tackling the next part of our journey
Leaving Mons we were now on the New Centre Canal heading towards the Strepy Thieu boat lift. The boat lift is composed of 2 tanks 112 long x12 meters wide with a height of 117 meters, that lifts the boats 73 meters.The twin tanks are operated independently by electro mechanical means and are suspended on cables. The counterweight are huge blocks of concrete, weighing 1,000 tons.
The Strepy Thieu was opened in 2005 and replaced the 4 historic lifts that we cruised along in 2019. The old lift system was designed by a Scottish engineer and similar to the Eiffel Tower,the iron structures resemble a Meccano set
The next part of our journey took us through the uninviting industrial waste land of Charleroi. With no place to stop we battled on through, arriving at the lock at Auvelais about 8pm.
Once we ascended the Strepy Thieu we were on the Charleroi Brussels canal and descending
Our destination was Namur on the Meuse, but the lock was closed at Auvelais which meant an enforced stoppage for 4 days. Oh well that’s the joy of cruising the canals