Thursday, 26 June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014 W of Oldehove to below De Punt lock. 38.7kms 1 lock

Entrance to Niezijlsterdiep from Van Starkenborgh kanaal
10.4°C Lots of clouds, bits of blue sky, a few spots of rain first thing, sunny spells later. Set off at 9.05am heading south on the Kommerzilsterrijte, sheltered from the morning breezes by the high banks. A deer on the edge of a cornfield, lifted its head, stared at the boat then leapt in the air and took off like a rocket through the corn! Magic. Through the little town of Kommerzijl where a few boats were moored, then back into fields at window height. The name of the navigation changed to Kommerzijlsterdiep. Passed a tethered workboat piled high with new wooden posts and old wooden planking, with a small open tugboat to push it. Into
Calcit 6 in Ooostersluis
Niezijl, (another name change - Niezijlsterdiep) where we moored once with Rosy in the narrow channel next to a mellow old brick-paved quay, then under a two arched road bridge with traffic only allowed through the left arch. Under trees for a short while then back into open fields and a farmhouse with a pile of shrink-wrapped bales of hay, stacked high. Paused at the end of the canal while Mike connected the Markon so I could do some more washing whilst travelling down the wide deep (5m+) Van Starkenborghkanaal. An empty commercial went past, Noorderkroon, followed by a cruiser on the main line. It didn’t move the boat much
Eemskanaal at Groningen
even though we weren’t tied to anything. Turned left heading east on the Van Starkenborgh, as a cruiser went past heading west and we were soon overtaken by another that had just come out of the Hoendiep. A bunkership called Klaas de Boer from Urk, was fast catching us up as we were approaching a bend with a railway bridge going into Zuidhorn, so Mike did a 360°about turn to follow him through the bridge. Two cruisers heading west passed us on the far side of Zuidhorn, where they were building a new high concrete bridge. A smart new Dutch Barge called Florence IV went past also heading for Friesland, its crew waving; it was British flagged and had its dimensions on the stern (about 26m x 4m) and construction
Junction Eeemskanaal at Groningen
date of 2005. A loaded barge called Shalimar (110mx11.45m 3007T) went past just before the crossroads with the Aduarderdiep. Crossed the Reitdiep with a lock on our right. The washing machine finished just in time for us to slow down for Paderpoelsterbrug swingbridge. Calcite 4 went through heading west, then we nipped through as loaded commercial Dorinta followed us. Hung on the waiting posts while Mike extracted the drive pins and just had time to fling the rope off as Calcite 6 came through the bridge and overtook us. An 86m empty went past and a couple of cruisers overtook us as we went into the suburbs of the city of Gronignen. Passed the end of the Boterdiep, lined on one bank with moored houseboats. A quay next to
Amazing building in Groningen
the Boterdiep had a tap with instructions on calling channel 68 to get it activated, we hadn’t got time to stop as we went under the next liftbridge with a headroom of 2.4m, Korrewegbrug had a swingbridge and bascule pedestrian/cycle paths either side. We followed the two cruisers that had overtaken us earlier into Oostersluis alongside loaded boats Dorinta and Calcite 6. The crew of three men on the latter boat were very chatty and asked all the usual questions. I asked what they were carrying, calcium carbonate for paper-whitening, which they were taking on the Eemskanaal, then up the Ems in Germany to a paperworks  somewhere on the Rhine. The lock filled slowly by just over a metre. Dorinta left first, followed by the two cruisers which turned right on the Eemskanaal and we followed them, Calcite 6 followed us out of the
Van Hallburg liftbridge. Nord Willemskanaal
chamber and turned left on the Eemskanaal. The German cruiser that had been in front of us in the lock was sitting in the middle right in front of the first liftbridge, Oosterhavenbrug, which was high enough at 3.8m for us to get under easily. Mike hooted but he didn’t shift but the bridge opened so we followed him through and then he moored just after the bridge in the Oosterhaven. We carried on down the Zuiderhaven verbindungskanaal, passing under all of the lifting bridges; Trompbrug 3m, Oosterbrug 3.2m, Herebrug 3.8m and Emmabrug 3.2m. When we came to the crossroads we turned left for Eelderbrug at the start of the Nord Willemskanaal; two Dutch cruisers were coming from our right as we turned left, the wind was blowing us around to our right as Mike called the bridge control on channel 9 and the lights changed, then Mike just managed to swing the bows round into the bridge as it l
Mooring below De Punt lock. Nord Willemskanaal
ifted. (As the bridge started working and the barriers came down a lad on a cycle went hurtling across – he’d gone through red lights - and the lowering barriers nearly hit him on the head even though he was hunkered down as low as he could get!) As soon as we were through the bridge the two cruisers overtook us on the 300m to the next low bridge Eendrachtsbrug, it opened within minutes and we followed them to the next, about another 300m, another low bridge Abel Tasmanbrug, then Van Halbrug before the railway bridge, a longer distance to Parkbrug and followed them through it when it opened, we noticed they were through when the lights were red/green and didn’t wait for the green. Another boat was waiting on the far side of Parkbrug to come through. The two cruisers had tied up to wait for the A7 motorway bridge when we arrived, but we could get under it without having it lifted so we kept going and Mike called the bridge control and asked them to lift the footbridge
Glass plane on traffic island by local airport
Muntinghbrug, which they did - but left the red lights on! We carried on through the two bridges. Two more bridges, Van Iddekingebrug and Van Ketwich-Vverschuurbrug lifted as we approached them like magic. Between all the bridges in the city there had been rows of moored Dutch barge houseboats, mostly well cared for but a few looked abandoned. As we cleared the city the noisy A28 motorway followed the canal on the left bank. One small cruiser went past and we were overtaken by a rowing skiff with six young ladies working hard and a prone cox at the bow who looked asleep! Noted that access to the Hornsemeer was restricted in width (probably just for canoes) as were the other access channels for the lakes. A large group of cruisers were moored by the lake (invisible from the canal through the trees). The lady rowers turned back at Meerwegbrug which also lifted as we arrived – this one was worked by a lady keeper who waved and shouted hello. Took a photo of De Witte Molen (the white mill) and shortly after signs announced that we had left Groningen and were now in Drenthe Province. There were some moorings by a swingbridge called Oesterbroeksebrug and we would have stopped there but the bridge lights were on red/green so we continued. A man worked the bridge from a control cabin on the left, he waved as we went past. We stopped below the first lock, De Punt, as there were mooring posts on both banks. We threw lines around the posts on the sloping grassy bank on the left bank. The guy on the cruiser in front was painting his boat. It was 4.20 pm and the sun was shining.

Tuesday 24th June 2014 Onderdendam to W of Oldehove.


Moorings at Onderdendam
11.9°C Grey, overcast and damp, sunny spells until mid-afternoon when the forecast deluge arrived. We set off at 9.10 am with the washing machine and generator running, heading west along the Winsumerdiep. By the drainage ditch called De Weer there was a boatyard with a nice tug and a cruiser moored plus a row of boats still out on the bank. A large, wide, low cruiser went past, heading east. As we were getting nearer to Winsum a group of schoolkids in orange canoes went paddling past. In the town there were new offshoot arms of the river
Winsum on the Winsumerdiep
surrounding islands of new houses where the river widened out. Under the railway bridge and the river narrowed as we went into the town centre where it became very narrow. Out beyond the houses there were bigger boats moored, including a 40m masted klipper, the biggest private boat we’d seen in a long, long time. Mike overshot the junction with the Messingeweerster Loopdiep and had to reverse before turning sharp right under a low fixed bridge. The navigation was much narrower (about UK canal sized, but without the towpath) with trees on both
banks, but still 2m deep. There were short glimpses of the fields between the trees as we neared the town that gave its name to the canal, Messingeweer. There was a workboat with scaffolding on it and a gennie tethered close to the bridge, so Mike had to slow down to go past it and I had to turn the washing machine off. The next bridge was lower than the minimum height stated on the board at the end of the canal, it had said 3m and the bridge had girders supporting it which reduced the headroom to 2.8m. I started the machine again (trouble with the new machines with electronic controls it didn’t start where it stopped like the old one and I had to do “rinse plus spin” to finish off the load). Out into open countryside, between fields of spuds
Bridge at Messingeweer
that were on a level with our windows. Past the junction with the Messingeweer-Baflo kanaal on our right then came to another stop when faced with a lock that wasn’t on our chart, Abelstok, at the junction with the Kromme Racken. Stopped the machine again. Pressed the panel with a hand symbol on it below the new chamber and the lock gates opened, we went in and I pressed a similar panel among the wooden stumps. Nothing happened so we read the board and went to look for a reset button by the top gates. It didn’t work. We chatted with a young man who was in charge of a group of kids who were getting ready to get into canoes and kayaks by the pumping station. He got one of the kids to paddle over to the top end waiting area and press
Abelstok lock
the panel, nope all lights were still on red. Nothing for it but to ring the telephone number. Mike asked the young man to talk to the waterways man on the phone as yesterday’s lot didn’t speak any English. He did and within ten minutes three waterways vans arrived, two did some surveying and the third was the mobile keeper who fetched a long keb and removed branches from behind the bottom end gates, which hadn’t opened fully. The lock worked OK after that and we went up about 10cms. (Maybe the guy we were chatting to yesterday evening was right about the land sinking and that’s why they’d added this new lock – watch out for earthquakes!) We turned left on the Kromme Racken and paused on the mooring stumps
Canoe portage at Abelstok
while I spun the clothes in the washing machine. Once that had finished Mike took the pins out to disconnect the Markon drive, I made a cuppa and a then we set off again. The new navigation was wider and more open with taller reed edges and wheat fields beyond. The horseflies were about again. A waterways weedcutter boat went past heading back to base as we were passing a huge field of potatoes. The bends in the river went through all points of the compass as it did S bends and W bends, heading generally south. Through the old bridge at Schowerzijl and flood gates (not a lock, just a set of gates) with ancient brickwork to keep the Reitdiep out at times of flooding. At 12.40 pm we turned right on the Reitdiep, a much wider navigation and over 3.5m deep, but still edged with reeds and running between arable land, with big looping bends heading westwards towards the sea estuary that was blocked off many years ago (there is still access via a lock). Paused at Roode Haan for the swingbridge which is remotely operated. As we pressed the button on the
Chalets with grass roofs on Reitdiep
wooden stumps a yacht arrived and went straight up to the bridge which swung open as it got there. We followed it through and it was soon out of sight round the bends in the river. An armada of boats came past heading upriver at KP27, five cruisers and two yachts (one of them under sail, but had his black cone up to say he was running his engine too). Through fields of golden ripe barley with oystercatchers winging their way overhead. We carried on to the Kommerzijlsterrijte where the Reitdiep went through Lammerburen flood lock to the right. Under a road bridge and passed Electra on our right, where the Snails spent
Our overnight mooring in the rain.
last winter, and on up the river. It started to pour with rain as we reached the mooring we were heading for, a row of wooden stumps a couple of metres out from the bank in the middle of nowhere. We got wet tying up. Mike set the TV up for his Mum to watch Wimbledon. 

Monday 23rd June 2014 Garrelsweer to Onderdendam.

Liftbridge at Garrelsweer. Damsterdiep
11.9°C Grey clouds, rare glimpses of sunshine but dry. We set off early at 8.55am as we didn’t know if they were still doing convoys at specific times on the next canal as we didn’t buy a new Almanak. Round a couple of bends to the first liftbridge, a wooden footpath bridge, manually operated using the key to unlock a barrier and then unlock the windlass to wind the bridge. On round a couple more bends and we arrived at a nice modern swingbridge with a road, Munterdraai, in Winneweer. Just two buttons to press to work the bridge, but the barriers were manually operated. Mike did the far one for me. Two cars and a lady with two dogs were waiting by the time the barriers went back up. The next bridge was a road bridge
Vertical liftbridge Ten Post
with about 3.6m air clearance, there were lots of fast flying sand martins up and down through the bridge catching flies. We could see the white painted capmill in Ten Post in the distance across the fields. In no time we were there and I hopped off to work the vertical liftbridge, which was all automatic – just two buttons to work it and the barriers. This time there were five cars, two vans and a man on a bike waiting. A couple of kilometres through windswept fields and we went under another road bridge, just 2.7m high this time, and turned left on to the Westerwijtwerder-maar. Here we needed a mobile keeper and rang
a number on a notice board, Mike said the guy who answered didn’t speak English (which is fairly unusual). Under an even lower road bridge across the start of the next canal and we waited by the liftbridge and lock at Oosterdijkshornerverlaat. It was 10.35 am, he arrived in a waterways flatbed van about fifteen minutes later. He pressed the buttons in the cabin to wind up the bottom end guillotine gate on the lock and then wound the manually operated liftbridge. Mike shouted OK when he’d wound it high enough for us to get under (he’d already taken the flagstaff off). Into the sloping brick-sided lock and I slung the
Can you see the hares?
centre rope around one of the row of new square wooden stumps (just like the ones they installed on a lot of UK locksides). When he started the top end gate lifting the water level in the lock rose by about 7cms. While it was slowly working Mike took him a pot of baby amaryllises to say thank you. He told Mike, in Dutch, that he had several bridges to work for us and would see us later. Mike told him we would only be doing about 5 kph on the narrow shallow canal. Out of the lock past many ash trees, then wide open fields on either side that were higher than the canal, a navigable drainage channel. In the distance
Beehives in a colza field
there was a very tall red crane lifting girders, etc, to build a new barn alongside two others. Two hares were galloping wildly across one field until I picked up the camera (Mike was in the cabin showing his Mum some tourist leaflets that the keeper had given us) and then both of the hares lay down flat to hide in the grass – I think I got a picture of their ears. Some of the bends were very tight and all the bridges were low, the lowest around 2m. Oystercatchers went yodelling overhead and we watched a buzzard soaring. Terns occasionally dived into the canal searching for fish. We ducked under the N46 road bridge and on the far side was a huge field of colza with rows of beehives around the edges. A long straight section lead to a railway
Bowhauler. Onderdendam
bridge – managed to get a photo of an elderly two car diesel train crossing the bridge. The bridge was 3m high. Our keeper was by the bridge waiting for us, he set off to wind the next bridge, waving as he did so. The last but one bridge on the canal was an old style swingbridge operated by turning a handle in the middle of the deck, it was open as we approached it, timed to perfection. Under the last bridge in the village of Westerwijtwerd, then sharp left on to the Winsumerdiep. Our man with a van had the next bridge open for us (another swingbridge with a handle in the middle) and he wished us a good journey as that was his last bridge. The next liftbridge provided access only to some factories but was now permanently open. On to the junction with the Boterdiep (a dead end which terminates at Uithuizen) and we saw no sign of a waiting mooring by the next liftbridge, Fraamklap on the Winsumerdiep.
Moored at Onderdendam
Mike reversed into the Boterdiep where there was a tiny wooden landing for the bridge and I slung our centre rope round a wooden post. Mike went to look for phone numbers etc. He came back with the news that the bridge only opens three times a day at 9.40am 12.40am and 15.40pm. It was 1.15pm so we went indoors to wait. Tried looking for Wi-Fi, found none. The keeper turned up on time and let us through the Fraamklap and we carried on along the Winsumerdiep into Winsum and came to a stop again by the Zijlvesterbrug liftbridge where we tied up again to wait for the next opening time for that bridge – 18.05pm. Another long wait. When the keeper arrived and let us through we moved on to the end of the moorings in the town opposite the waterways maintenance yard and tied to the wooden stumps next to notices that said they were pay moorings (nobody came to collect any money). No choice, the next moorings were far too far away. Helped Mike unload the moped and he went off to recover the car from Garrelsweer. When Mike returned I helped get the bike back on board. He said the Dutch were cerebrating as they’d just won a World Cup match. A passing cyclist stopped to chat. He confirmed that the Dutch team had won and said one member of the Dutch football team was born less than 4kms from Onderdendam, he also told us that the land was sinking hereabouts due to the extraction of natural gas and they now regularly have earthquakes! Amazing!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Friday 20th June 2014 Appingedam to Garrelsweer. 7.69kms no locks

New route through Appingedam. Damsterdiep
12.1°C Grey skies, wet and windy until we tied up, then the sun came out! Mike and I went in the Co-op for a few odds and ends, mainly bread. The rain had stopped when we got back on the boat so we set off at 9.50 am, winding (just about enough width in the canal) then turned sharp left before the last liftbridge to go through the town on the old route, as advised by the bridge keeper. He was right, lots of old houses and boats, overhanging balconies (kitchens), many different types of low bridges as we passed behind the shops and cafés. There
Start of old route through Appingedam. Damsterdiep
was also a long line of houseboats all the way to the junction with the new route by an old bottle kiln, where we’d been before. The next bridge, Tjamsweersterbrug, was worked by the keeper. Moored by the wooden posts and I went up the steps to the road deck to find the box with a slot for the key (turn it then take it out and close the box and the keeper is summoned!) It was hidden in the ivy alongside a house by the bridge. Mike gave the keeper a pot of baby Amaryllises to say thank you. He beamed – the Dutch love their plants and
Backs of houses, old route through Appingedam. Damsterdiep
he said he knew Amaryllis. Made a cuppa as we carried on “up” river – well we’re going away from the sea lock at Delfzijl, but there is rarely a flow one way or the other. The first DIY bridge was a modern swingbridge in Wirdum, Eekweerderbrug, with just two buttons – open and close – all worked by pressing and holding the buttons. Wirdumerdraaibrug was the next, a Llangollen-style liftbridge and the box had just two buttons, but the barriers were manually operated. I
New houses on old route through Appingedam. Damsterdiep
couldn’t get the far one to slot into the hole, so I swung it back to let the traffic go then had another go with it and leaned, heavily, on it – then it locked and I could press the buttons to work the bridge. Mike got off on the far side to help unlock the far barrier. He walked up the bridge deck (like we used to on the Welsh canal to help the bridge go down) much to the amusement of several young ladies on bikes! On up the twisting course of the river, with reed fringed banks edged with white and yellow water lilies, to the next swingbridge at Garrelsweer, called Loppersumerbrug, and I got off on to a wooden landing covered in duck pooh to swing the bridge. Auto again with just two buttons to press. Mike came to help close the barriers and said hurry as the wind was blowing the bows across the canal (the stern was tied to one of the stumps. We went around the next bend and saw a fine quay alongside a minor road and moored there at 12.15 pm. Glad to be out of the wind. Typical – the sun came out! Note: we've still seen no other boats moving on the little canals!

Have made all the pictures smaller as there are lots of them today - left click on a picture to get a bigger image, then click the back button to get back to the blog.

Beautiful old house in Appingedam
Old bottle kiln in Appingedam
Don't need to work this one
we can get underneath it!
Tjamsweersterbrug. Find the box, turn the key
and the keeper will come to work the bridge.
What is that in the ivy by the house?
There's the box!
Eekwerderbrug swingbridge.
Just two buttons to work this one
This shows how short the landings are.
getting back on at Loppersum liftbridge
Moored at Garrelsweer. Damsterdiep

Thursday 19th June 2014 Nieuwolda to Appingedam. 22.3kms 2 locks

Control panel for Hamrikkerklapbrug
 - easy to work. Key in slot and turn it
then press buttons in sequence.
13.5°C Drizzle, rain and wind. Set off at 10 am. I walked up to the bridge, Hamrikkerklap, and pressed the buttons to operate it. The wind made it difficult for Mike to get the boat alongside the landing (which had been taken over by the café alongside it for tables and chairs, plus a rope between all the mooring stumps). A couple of kilometres and we were at Scheveklap, another liftbridge, this one on a bend with a row of stumps at an angle to the bridge and a narrow wooden plank bridge to the bank – again difficult in the wind. The bridge was easy as it was all press button, but the planks to get back on from were tucked into the bank close to the bridge so it needed some reverse to get to it. Beyond the bridge the navigation was much wider, reed edged with open fields beyond and a cutting North wind in our faces, plus the rain. Mike went in and lit
Scheveklap liftbridge
the Refleks central heating as it was only 18°C in the cabin. Under two more low bridges with two fishermen by the second one, which was low skimming the top of the flag staff on the tiller. Turned left into a new section of navigation leading via liftbridges and a lock to the docks in Delfzijl. Mike called on channel 84 and got no reply so we went alongside the the wooden stumps and called on the intercom. This time we had a reply and the guy asked us to go closer to the bridge. It was a modern liftbridge with no top, called Borgsweer, and it lifted as we got closer. On to the lock, Lalleweer, which was empty and gates open ready for us. Uphill, so we
Lalleweer lock and liftbridge, Delfzijl
put ropes through recessed loops in the wall fore and aft and rose 2.1m. The liftbridge across the top of the lock lifted and we carried on along a much wider navigation, 5.5m deep and choppy, where there were large commercials at the quays. Miryana from Zwolle (105mx11.4m 2800T) was unloading smelly recycled woodchips by grab into lorries. The next liftbridge was a conventional styled one, Heemskesbrug, carrying a busy road. No reply on the radio again, so we headed for the wooden stumps and had problems with the wind blowing the boat off before I could get a rope on a stump. At the second attempt I got the rope on as the liftbridge lights
Kleine and Grote Sluis - boats coming up off the Ems estuary
changed from red to red green, let the rope off and went through it. Once we were through the bridge I steered for a bit while Mike went inside. The wind blew plants over on the roof so I stacked them on the front deck. Currency, an empty tanker, was moored by the oil refinery berth in Oosterhornhaven. Turned left into the Oosterhornkanal, under the Weiwerderbrug - which didn’t need lifting for us as it had an ample 3.8m air gap. Turned left again on to the Eemskanaal. A big empty boat was coming up in Grote Sluis behind us and another loaded
boat was waiting to go down the lock. There were lots of moored commercials in the Farmsumerhaven so I took photos. Loaded boat Margarethe (80mx9.35m 1250T) went past heading for the docks with a masted yacht following it; then the boat that came up the lock overtook us, an empty called Nocht (110mx11.45m 3248T) from Drachten, it came past us quite close. A coaster called Isartal, registered at St John’s, was unloading more stinky recycled wood at a berth on the right and a bunkerboat called Main III went past making a rolling wash up the bank. A cruiser called Passe Partout overtook us and continued down the Eemskanaal as we turned right into the Oude Eemskanaal. An empty cement carrier called Reguliersgracht from Amsterdam was moored by the De Graaf shipbuilders (took photos of the bits of ships under construction). The next liftbridge, No 15, was closed for lunch until 2 pm so, with a little difficulty due to the wind we moored alongside a sloping grassy bank to wait at 1.45pm. The keeper was back early and we were soon through his bridge and we turned left for Roggenkampsluis
Coaster Isartal loading stinky woodchips
(6m wide by 28m long) and the bridge keeper worked the lock from his cabin by the bridge. Down 1.7m on to the Damsterdiep. The chart was wrong, below the lock we could go left or right (the chart marks it as straight) we went right then spotted another liftbridge to the left so Mike backed up and we went under the bridge then through the outskirts of Delfzijl, passing some very fine houses and moored boats. Then we came to a liftbridge with nowhere to get off. Spotted some writing on a board by the wooden fendering next to the
Shipbuilders De Graaf. Delfzijl. Eemskanaal
lock and spied a box. Bows right up to the deck of the bridge and I opened the box to find a key slot. Turn the key in it and the keeper will come. He did, on a scooter, and I asked if we could stay overnight on the quay behind us next to a Museum, nope it’s not a mooring just an old quay. We could go through this bridge and moor before the next one, he said. OK. He pressed the buttons to lift the bridge and we ran through to the wooden decking with stumps that was the waiting area for the next liftbridge in the town centre right next to the Co-op. He was there to take
Below Roggenkampsluis. Delfszijl
a rope and said we could moor there for 24 hours for free, on the other side of the next bridge we’d have to pay. Great, fine by us. He also suggested that when we set off next day to go back to the first liftbridge and take the old route through the town. It was 3.15pm and we were damp and windswept. Around 9 pm there was a lot of noise outside so Mike went out to look and found a police car opposite the boat by the entrance to the shops where there was a group of youths. It went quiet again after that.
Moored by the Co-op in Appingedam 
Oystercatcher at Appingedam

Wednesday 18th June 2014 De Dellen to Nieuwolda. 5.9kms no locks

Rushes by the mooring at De Dellen
9.2°C Grey clouds with rain, mostly showers of drizzle in varying degrees of length. Breezy. We delayed setting off until it stopped around 10 am. It was soon drizzling again. Through open fields of wheat with stands of trees and long lines of trees marking distant roads. Farmhouses stood surrounded with trees as windbreaks. The mast was flat on the roof again due to the height of the fixed bridges which were all about 2.5m high. The first, Kerkijktil, had the navigation span on the right - next to the bank – the rest of the wooden bridge was sloping. Just beyond the bridge there
De Dellen windmill
was a mooring place with wooden posts for the village of Nieuw-Scheemda. The right bank was lined with trees and glimpses of farmhouses and barns in the gloom beneath the trees. Musk roses, pink and white, covered the right bank below the trees for some distance. The other side was edged with reeds and brambles. A lone swallow flew over and masses of rooks flew in and out of a great rookery in some tall trees. Back to open fields again, then a long lake was visible on the left between the reed beds. We had a water tap marked on our chart where a farmhouse
Field pump windmill
was now surrounded by summer rental cabins and a camping ground, but no tap – the hose reel was still there but empty. The cabins were smart and must have all mod cons for the modern camping tourist! At the next bend there was a fisherman hidden from view by the tall reeds, but his long rod was three-quarters of the way across the narrow canal. Mike gave a gentle toot to announce our presence and he moved it out of the way before our bows passed him. He was very pleasant and said hello. At ‘t Waar there was a small offline basin designed for small boats with a sign that said it cost 5€ per night. Under an ornate wooden bridge and round a right
Field pump wooden Archimedean screw
hand bend where there was a huge old barn and two new ones to the left of it. The band of trees continued along the right bank and open fields of wheat appeared on the left again. Into the outskirts of Nieuwolda with a few houses on the banks then a large wheat field that came right to the edge of the canal. A pair of grebe swam past, they didn’t even dive out of view as many do. We decided to stop on the left by the sloping grassy bank in the town where we had moored ten years ago with Bill and Rosy. They’d just cut the grass. It was 11.15 am. Mike pushed stakes into the bank to tie to as the ground was soft. The actual mooring places in the town were the
usual wooden posts, one set we’d just passed on the right bank and the other was beyond the liftbridge on the left. 
Old barn
Moored in Nieuwolda