Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Friday 27th June 2014 De Punt to Assen. 17.3kms 3 locks

De Punt liftbridge
11.8°C Overcast with lots of light showers coming up from the south. Set off at 9.30 am heading south on the Nord Willemskanaal. A short wait while two boats went up De Punt lock (they’d come through the liftbridge behind us just before we got ready to move) then one boat came down. The lock had a liftbridge over the tail end that was just a bit too low so we kept the mast up, but the keeper had lifted in anyway for the cruiser to come out. The lock walls were covered in tiny freshwater mussels that crunched as our fenders came up the three metres as we looped our ropes, fore and aft, up
Thundery sky
three sets of bollards inset into the wall. The keeper, who spoke good English came down from his cabin to give us a booklet on Drenthe canals (only in Dutch, sorry, he said – beautiful pictures and loads of info) and had a chat. Asked him where we could get water, Assen or Smilde was the reply and he showed us on the chart. He put our rubbish in his lockside bin for us and said he would tell the next keeper we were coming. The canal is wide and deep as it had been modernised many years ago to take boats up to 7.5m wide and 65m long, sadly working boats
Beautiful house
have got much bigger than that now and so we only expected to see pleasure boats. Above the lock there was a new build DB moored, called EssDeeAy, British-flagged but no one around. Three kilometres to the next lock with a busy road on the right, fields on our left. De Vries lock was a repeat of De Punt, the keeper leaned out of his cabin and shouted hello. Up another 3m. A couple of kms to Vriesebrug liftbridge. The keeper leaned out of the cabin window and shouted something in Dutch, sounded like appreciation of the boat maybe – or was it the fact we were eating double chocolate muffins and drinking coffee? A cruiser went past heading downhill. A very smart large (30m plus) Dutch Barge was moored in the layby just beyond the liftbridge. We met the next downhill boat by the A28 motorway bridge. A
Blow Peelo lock
fisherman by the bridge had that stunned look (what is THAT??) as we passed by. The sky got busy for a while with several small aircraft flying out of Groningen airport. Tied up by Oudemolensebrug at 11.50 am as there was no keeper there (his lunch break is 12.00 until 1.00) Another smart DB was moored opposite and a small cruiser arrived just after us making us bounce up and down when its wash caught up. Lunch. Back en route at 1.00 pm. The small cruiser overtook us after the bridge and was soon a dot in the distance – what speed limit? (The keeper at De Punt had told us the speed limit on the canal was 12kph but drops to 6kph after Assen, but nobody takes any notice!) There were two keepers at the bridge, one in a car and one on a scooter.
Waterways launch moored abv Peelo
The one on the scooter let us through Taarlosebrug – the cruiser was long gone. Into Assen, or rather around it as the old canal went into the middle and is now a dead end. A very large Pedro cruiser went past heading downhill just after we’d gone past a passentenhaven (offline basin mooring) which had high sloping quay walls and was overlooked by houses all around it, there were only two boats in it. The next mooring on a wooden landing was full, one cruiser and another smart DB Ijsselstroom from Utrecht. The next wooden staging had also got a moored DB. Had a sudden, determined horsefly attack; killed it easily thankfully. The small cruiser was going up in Peelo lock, so we slung ropes round some very high stumps and
Moored at Assen
waited. Another cruiser came down then we went in. This lock was slightly deeper at 3.8m and there were steel tubes to tie ropes round and slide up, but the bollards were better placed for us fore and aft. The keeper and the two bridge keepers were chatting on the lockside while a young man of reduced stature was leaning on the railings by the lock cabin, also chatting. The keeper asked if we were going to stay for the TT. Uh? Mike said he’d seen a poster that said TT was on 28th June and didn’t make the connection – of course, Assen is the home of Dutch motorbike racing and it’s the Dutch TT race tomorrow! He said he’d rather watch it on TV! There were lots of cyclists on the path along the left as we ran down to Montesoribrug and Asserwijk liftbridges, very close together. There were lots of moored boats. Once we were through the bridges we tied up on pins next to a grassy bank among boats that looked permanent. It was 3.10 pm. Helped Mike get the bike off and he went to collect the car from De Punt. Noise of motorbikes in the distance was loud, must be doing a practise session. 

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