Leaving Lemmer and Friesland behind us we took the canals, lakes and rivers southwest to Hasselt on the Zwartewater, then to Zwolle before we travelled up the IJssel to Central Holland. On our trip north to Friesland we had stopped off at Kampen on the IJssel and noted then river was only flowing at about 1 km. I know it seems silly to travel against the flow of a river, but going up the IJssel meant we did not have to retrace our steps along the meers from Elburg to Amsterdam and then onto the Amsterdam Rijn canal, which is a very busy commercial waterway with plenty of chop to throw the boat around. Also the town near the head of the river was home to the Lalique museum, which I was keen to visit.
Hasselt is only 7kms north of Zwolle, and from there we would take the IJssel south.
Another Hanseatic town Zwolle was much larger than Hasselt with an impressive gate that housed a small museum.
But we did not linger in Zwolle. The bridges opened at 6am so we were up and off at 6.30am to tackle the IJssel. The river flow from Zwolle had increased from the 1km per hour at Kampen to about 3km and by the time we hit the top it was about 4km. Peter was about to bale and take the alternative route south when a commercial called us to say he was happy to see such a lovely boat on the water early in the morning and more importantly the river flow was not any harsher upstream. So on we went! As this was my chosen route it was agreed that I would do the driving and taking on this responsibility certainly improved my barge handling skills. With the river so low we recoded some unique sites.
We made a pit stop at Zuphen for the night. The town port was closed due to the low water so we had to moor out of town but we were off again early the next morning.
After 2 days on the IJssel we reached our destination of Doesburg and the much promised Lalique museum, which did not disappoint.
With only another 9kms to complete the IJssel it was with a sigh of relief that we turned onto the Neder Rijn, a locked waterway with no flow. Task completed and in Peters words, never to be repeated! From the Neder Rijn was took the Amsterdam Rijn canal south to the Waal with its commercial traffic
After the trials of the IJssel we recuperated for 3 days in Gorinchem. And with Peter’s birthday it was time for a little R&R.
And there was a castle to visit!. Across the river from Gorinchem is Slot Loevestuein, a 14th century castle that stands on the confluence of the Waal and the Maas. Originally built as a toll gate it developed over the centuries as a strategic fortification and was only striped of its military function in 1953. The fortress was an important part of the Old Dutch Waterline fortifications. When threatened the fields were intentionally flooded , resulting in the a water level too deep for soldiers to cross, but too shallow for boats.
Leaving Gorinchem it was a short trip to Dortrecht to meet up with our friends James and Julie on Mimosa, another Piper barge. On our previous meeting we had decided to cruise Zeeland in convoy as we made our way south to Brugge.