Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Monday 9th June 2014 Sellingen to Veelerveen. 12.9kms 4 locks

Pill box from WWII facing German border
13.5°C After heavy rain in the night it was hot and sunny until mid-afternoon then the clouds rolled in. After breakfast we got ready to move. The skipper off the smaller boat of the two by the lock landing came over to chat with Mike. He told him he’d built the boat himself and this was its first voyage in company with his father-in-law’s boat that had been built originally for harvesting spuds in 1904 and fifty years later it had an engine added and a cabin and became a pleasure boat. We left at 9.40 am and the clegs found us, so out came the swatters and repellent. There were a few fishermen around Jipsinghuizersluis when we arrived. I tied the centre rope to the post on the (much, much too short) wooden landing and Mike got off
Above Bourtangersluis
with the key to work the liftbridge. Two cars arrived just as we’d got the bridge open, typical. Mike brought the boat into the lock and I wound the bridge back down, locked it and Mike lifted the barriers. Put our accumulated rubbish into the lockside waste paper bin and made a cuppa while the water level dropped us down 1.3m. We just had time to drink our cuppa before our second lock of the day, Wollinghuizersluis, which had a busy road that crossed the canal via the liftbridge – this one was fully
Plaque in Wollinghuizersluis
automatic – turn the key and press buttons and everything worked, no dropping and lifting barriers and no winding the bridge up and down. Good thing as lots of cars had stopped to wait for the bridge. Down another 1.00m. A long straight lead to the canal arm to Bourtange, round a left hand bend and we were at Bourtangersluis. A part converted Dutch barge was moored on the left above the lock, the liftbridge was up and a small cruiser was waiting on the right to go down. The lock gate opened and an large open motorboat with half a dozen people off for a Bank Holiday picnic emerged. The little boat went in (ignoring the red light
Carved wooden posts nr Bourtanger branch canal
and didn’t put his key in the slot) and tied on the right, we followed and took the left. From here the locks are shorter, only 20m instead of 27m. Neither Mike nor the German skipper could find a key slot to put the liftbridge back down. There were cyclists our side who helped look and a tractor driver on the far side. The German skipper pressed the button to work the lock. Eventually between them they found out that there was a button (on posts both sides of the canal) which said press to operate bridge and down it came, just as the tractor driver started
Above Flagtweddesluis
backing up to turn around. Down another 1.00m and the small cruiser was off in the distance in no time. In fact it was in Vlagtweddesluis, going down, when we arrived and had left before we finished putting ropes round bollards above the rebuilt lock chamber, dated 1991. No one waiting below so Mike turned the key in the slot and the lock refilled. As we went in we could see another open motorboat waiting below. Mike took the mast off and laid it on the roof to go under the low fixed bridge (3.00m) below the lock. Left it lying on the roof as there was another low fixed bridge in Veelerveen. A short
Moored at Veelerveen
straight, then an arm off to the left leading to an amusement park called Parc Emslander Meer, then our last bridge of the day, Veelerveensterbrug, again all automatic using the key. Under an unusual threeway footbridge called Noabersbadde, which had only 2.5m air draught, just enough for our sunshade. The Dutch barge we’d seen the day before was still moored on the wooden landing stage, so we tied up behind it at 1.15 pm – the staging was now full. After lunch I helped get the bike off down the short plank so Mike could go and retrieve the car from Sellingen. The sky had gone grey and it was hot, sticky and muggy. Thunderstorm and heavy rain started around 3.30 pm.

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