Friday, 4 July 2014

Sunday 29th June 2014 Hoogersmilde to Uffelte. 15.7kms 3 locks

Hoogersmilde TV mast
12.2°C Heavy rain overnight and into the morning caused us to delay setting off until 9.30am. Sunny with light showers. We went through Pieter Hummelbrug liftbridge then stopped on the moorings by the toilet block and filled the water tank. At 1€/100 litres we thought it was expensive. A couple in their seventies came to chat while we filled up. They asked us to have coffee on their cruiser, called Excess, so we took some milk (as they don’t have any as it goes off) and some old photos of the boat in the UK and had a coffee and a naughty cake with them. They come from Groningen area but are out for the summer and are “going where the wind blows them” a nice way of cruising! We set off again at 11.15am. We had a short wait for the keeper at Henrik Oostdraai swingbridge as he was letting two boats through Pieter Hummelbrug, we all went through the manually operated swingbridge and the cruiser overtook us (what 6kph speed limit!) before we got to Veensluis lock at the end of the summit pound on the Drentschehoofdvaart. The boat behind it was
a tjalk that was too big to fit in the lock with us and it stayed behind us. Veensluis was 26.76m long by 6m wide and our boat just fitted into the lock, overlapping our bows with the cruiser’s rounded stern. Mike checked with the keeper, there was no cill so he could stay as far back as the top end gates. Down 1.4m and the same keeper rode down to the next liftbridge, Geeuwenbrug, on a scooter to work it for us. We moored above Haarsluis at 12.20 pm to wait for the
Veensluis tight fit with a wide cruiser
keeper’s lunch break to finish. Set off again at 1.00 pm and followed the cruiser into Haarlsluis which was full with the top end gates open. No sign of the keeper. A younger man wearing “shades” came from the lock house and said OK when Mike asked if he could close the gate for him. The crew on the cruiser spoke in Dutch to the keeper as he passed them, telling him that we were English and used to working our own locks. He smiled. Down another 2m, this lock was longer at 27.48m and this one had a cill to make sure we kept clear of. A longer pound lead to the next lock and we could see the cruiser, way off in the distance in Diever going through the Dieverbrug liftbridge. When we got there we expected the keeper to be working the lock but
Back pumping station
to our great surprise he was still there. There were several larger DBs moored before the liftbridge, Avontur had its dimensions on the side as 26.95m x 4.5 135 tonnes and looked like it was the size of boat that used to work on these small canals. Beyond the liftbridge there were several cafés and lots of moored boats, including the cruiser we’d been locking with. The lock keeper opened one gate for us and smiled as we came in. Two men from the café came to chat and take photos. Mike had spotted that water was on sale above the lock at half the price we’d
Moored at Uffelte
just paid. Typical! Many more boats were moored below the lock and beyond Olden Dieverbrug liftbridge which was worked for us by the lock keeper from the last lock. Another man on a scooter worked Wittelterbrug liftbridge for us and leaned out the cabin to say he liked the boat and one of the cyclists waiting for the bridge asked what the boat name meant so I told him. The landscape of wide open fields continued, mostly meadows with grazing cows. Saw a buzzard on a post. The moorings on the outskirts of the small town of Uffelte were no good for TV so we went through Uffelte no 1 liftbridge and moored on wooden posts by some houses with no trees. It was 3.15 pm. 
New thatch
Buzzard on a post

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