|The magnificent Wallonie Spangler!|
13.2°C Sunny start, grey clouds then sunny and hot with white clouds. Breezy. A tug and pan went past heading uphill just before we were ready to go. Oll had told Mike he’d seen a brightly coloured bird, so Mike went to take a photo – Oll nicknamed the parakeet the Wallonie Spangler – it was very brightly coloured. Set off at 9.15 am. The tug and pan were still waiting below Viesville lock when we arrived. Three cruisers came down, then the tug went up; as the pan was 67m long and the tug about 20m there was no room for us in the 87m long chamber.
Another three cruisers came down, then it was our turn and, as it was just us
two narrowboats, we had the pick of the floaters and straddled the centre gates
to have the luxury of a floater fore and aft each. Up 7m in no time and at
10.30 am we set off on the summit level of the Brussels-Charleroi canal. Nothing
waiting to go down the locks. The industrial grot was left behind, but only for
a while. Several loaded boats and another tug and pan went past heading for
Charleroi. I made a cuppa and we ate two speculaas biscuits with our tea as a
celebration that I’d just got our new Belgian PAYG Internet connection to work –
it is so nice to be able to access
the Internet at any time! A 70m tanker called Zesteinhoven was moored by an oil
storage depot near Seneffe and we were back into the land of factories. The
Snail was in front and turned into the canal du Centrum first, as an empty
called Present came out of the canal and turned towards Brussels at the wide
junction where there was another large oil storage depot. A cruiser was not far
behind it and he turned the other way towards Charleroi. The start of
canal was pleasant with an avenue of trees on the left and fields beyond them,
while on the right was an old railway branch line, trees and more fields. Families
were out fishing and picnicking along the canal. A DB called Argo from Kampen
went past and a cycling team all in matching lycra zoomed down the towpath.
Under the motorway and turned left into the old Centrum canal leading to the
four ship lifts, the ascenseurs - which are now a UNESCO world heritage site.
Straight ahead was the new superfast lift at Strèpy-Thieu that
We moored above the first lift (no. 1 Houdeng-Goegnies) at La Louvière at 1.55pm.
Anne phoned the Belgian waterways to find out if the lifts were all open now.
Nope. Thieu, the bottom one is, but the other three won’t re-open until next
year. By the time we’d got maps and Lucy (GPS) sorted out, etc, it was 3.40pm
before Mike set out to thread his way around Charleroi to get back to the car
at Auvelais. I’d printed him the maps he needed from our Belgian Atlas and he’d
got Lucy in his pocket with headphones on. The route looked very complicated. When
he got back he said Lucy (GPS) did a perfect job until she got to the N90 which
has been upgraded so he couldn’t go on it with the moped. He had to find his
own way round as you can’t exclude a road in Lucy’s memory.
|Leaving Vieseville lock|
|The summit level of the Brussels-Charleroi canal|
|Moored abv lift no.1 Houdeng-Geognies|