Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Saturday 28th June 2014 Assen to Hoogesmilde. 13.5kms no locks

15.4°C Lots of grey clouds, short sunny spells, heavy but short rain showers. A small cruiser
Bus operated lane blockers
went past heading in the same direction as us around 8.45 am. We set off at 9.10 am after getting all the pins out of the bank. No one around at the first liftbridge, Kloosterbrug at the start of the Drentsche Hoofdvaart, so we thought the keeper must have gone on to the next bridge and slung a bow rope around a log beam by the bridge. It was 9.25 am. After over hour’s wait we were beginning to think we ought to have informed the keeper at the previous bridge (Asserwijk) that we were leaving before we set off. I found a number in the new book and Mike phoned at 10.45 am. They said they would call the keeper. Another half hour went by, so he rang
Waiting for Kloosterbrug
them again. The keeper arrived shortly after, the same guy who had worked the first lock for us the day before, full of apologies. He said that he was stationed at the next bridge and his colleague at Asserwijk rings him when boats set off from his bridge, but he hadn’t seen us leave. Lesson learnt. It was 11.25am when we headed for Norgerbrug. The heavens opened and we had a five minute deluge. Brolly up quick. The keeper came out of the cabin to say it’s English weather! Yes, not just for the TT races but it’s the Glastonbury Festival today too. Pop concerts in the UK have to have mud! A very large cruiser came towards us
through the next bridge, Van Liersbrug, and the deck lowered behind it. A young lady was working it and it was all manually operated, both barriers and wind the bridge up and down. She opened it again for us. We were stuck for an hour at the next, Mr Sickensbrug as it was lunchtime, 12.00 - 1.00 pm. I checked for Wi-Fi and found one! Managed to do two replies to e-mails, but it was very slow. Lunch then set off again at 1.00 pm. A cruiser had caught up and had moored behind us during lunchtime. It followed us through the bridge and overtook us immediately afterwards. We followed it through Grietmansbrug but it must have been doing twice the 6kph speed limit as that was (almost) the last we saw of it. Through
Floating water weed - first we've seen here in NL
Jonkersbrug and into the town of Smilde, strung out along the banks of the canal. Next bridge was Polakkenbrug, then we had another very heavy shower as we approached the next bridge, which was a manually operated swingbridge pedestrian bridge, Koopbakkersdraai. A man came out from one of the houses by the bridge and opened it just as the wind caught us as we were reversing and shoved us left against the high quay wall before the bridge. I had to go and push the fore end off the wall. We could see in the distance the cruiser in front had just gone through Veenhoopsbrug. Once through that bridge we passed the junction (on the right) with
Canal side art
the Turf route, the Witte Wijk leading to the Compagnonsvaart. A bridge keeper was stationed at the first bridge on to the Turf Route (on the busy N371 which follows the canal all the way to Meppel) and he also controls the next swingbridge. Tentingerdraai, on the Hoofdvaart. He waved. We went through Leerbrug, operated by a young man on a bike who shuttles back and forth with the next bridge. We told him we were stopping as he cycled on to Spiersbrug, however, the mooring next to an old quay didn’t work as Mike couldn’t get our mooring pins in the brick paved top (and we didn’t want to damage them!) The keeper went past
Moored at Hoogersmilde
again on his bike and said there was a mooring beyond the next bridge. We went through Spiersbrug and moored by a farmhouse where there was a small gap in the trees to get satellite TV through. Set the TV up so Mum could watch Wimbledon and Mike did a quick look at Wi-Fi and found nothing. Gave him a hand to unload the bike and he went to check the mooring further down by the bridge. Yes, it would have been OK and there was only one boat so there was plenty of space and a good access for the TV. Oh well. Never have we seen so many bikers on the move, all afternoon they were going past in their hundreds, with lots of police bikes among them. People were sitting outside their houses all along the N371, just watching all the bikes
A few of the 100's of bikers going home after the TT
going past, some of who were revving up as if to do wheelies when the police weren’t about. When Mike returned with the car at 6pm there were still hundreds going past. We wondered if all the bikes in the Netherlands (and Belgium and Germany!) had been there.

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