Saturday, 27 September 2014

Monday 22nd September 2014 Pont-a-Bar to Malmy. 11.3kms 4 locks.

Digger bouncing off the end of the bridge at Hannogne
7.6°C Sunny with a few clouds, cooler. Uprooted all the pins and set off at ten. The DB had gone the day before but a hotel péniche Night and Day that arrived the day before was still moored about half way back to the bottom lock. Zapped the post and lock no 6 Pont-à-Bar was already empty, so the gates opened and we went up. When the lock was almost full (a lift of 2.8m) Mike hopped off with our bags of rubbish as there’s a very useful dustbin by the road bridge. Looked like most of the hireboats were at their base (Ardennes Nautisme) on the
An old boat full of flowers at St Aignan
right above the lock and on the other side the moorings at Pont-a-Bar Services (Maubacq’s boatyard) were full to bursting with private boats. The only bit of empty quay was the section left for péniches above the lock. Following the beautiful winding bends of the canal we were soon into cattle country with low wooded hills both sides and small farming villages. Several lorries and a big CAT digger were on the towpath at Hannogne-St-Martin, they’d been dumping piles of earth on the towpath to
St Aignan top lock gates and tunnel
strengthen the banks where the canal was on a slight embankment. The caterpillar-tracked digger went across the farm track bridge followed by one of the lorries. Zapped lock 5, the bottom lock of the two at St Aignan, it emptied and we went up 2.3m then round a sharp right hand bend and into lock 4 which had opened as the two locks are chained (linked) and up another 2.26m, then straight into the 300m tunnel which cuts through the hill under the Bois de Queue. The little river Bar (off to our left) that the canal follows to the summit level, winds all the way around this low hill, the tunnel
Below Malmy lock 3 - back pumping station on left
cuts off a six kilometre loop. Almost 6kms to the next lock, no 3 at Malmy, up another 2m and we moored at 12.45pm next to an old quay where the VNF had dumped loads of earth for doing their bank work. Mike went off on the moped to get the car. I had some lunch then I tried the Internet only to find it was very slow. The péniche Night and Day went past heading uphill. Mike was soon back with the car. He’d called at Carrefour for bread, etc, and also got me a 16gig thumbdrive (12,90€) for
Moored on the old quay above Malmy lock
making a recovery drive for my new PC. It was 3.30pm when he got back, so he had a late lunch and left the bike in the car as he said he would take it to Le Chesne the following morning and come back on the moped. I used the WiFi dongle to check emails, it was too slow for anything else. I found the right details for Bouygues profile to use our dongle with an antenna on the roof. Mike tried it and its software indicated that it was actually on GPRS, slowest of the lot. 

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