Saturday, 27 September 2014

Thursday 25th September 2014 Attigny to Rethel. 18.2kms 4 locks

Hanging pole to twist and activate lock. No 6 Givry
7.7°C Thick mist first thing, then sunny later. Mike took the car to Rethel and came back on the moped (he said there were three boats on the town moorings in Rethel including a British replica DB called Linda from Sheffield), I got on with the chores. He was back at 10.30 am, I gave him a hand to load the bike back on the roof and then we set off from Attigny at 11am. 2kms and we were soon at lock 6 Givry. Mike twisted the pole and the yellow light flashed on the apex of the left hand bend (the lock was out of sight round the bend)
No posh lock cabin at this lock (Givry) no lock house here either
so a metal box contains control panel (anti-vandal)
and we stooged down to the lock, it was still slowly filling. No lock house at this one, but they’d added a shiny new metal box to house the controls for the automatics as there was no lock cabin either. A new sign with the lock name and distances to the locks in either direction (just like they used to have over the door on all the old lock houses) had been added to an orange post with a life ring. It emptied quicker than it filled and we were soon 2.95m lower. The next pound was a long one 7.85kms. There was a lone fisherman by the village of Givry, then the canal
Refurbished lock chamber and new style rods
split level - on lockside for downhill
behind the ladder for uphill
became like a wild river with both banks covered with trees and bushes down to the waterline, maybe there was a towpath lurking under the trees but we couldn’t see it. On a 2km long straight we could see a boat coming towards us. It was a very wide, large, Swiss cruiser called Arc en Ciel (Rainbow) whose crew were steering from the roof. We spotted their navigation lights were on as we passed, lot of use that was as we’d seen the boat easily from 2kms away! The sun finally burned through the mist. The leaves on the poplar trees were starting to turn bright yellow. About 1km before Ambly the trees thinned out and there was a towpath again on the left. A few old wooden chalets were hidden under the next thicket of trees. Lock 7 Seuil had been totally renovated with new concrete walls and metal edges, new short control rods on the lockside for going down and new ones set into the wall behind a ladder for coming up. The house was lived in and well maintained. We dropped down 2.54m and set off down the short, 2.7m, pound to the next lock. A former Nichols hireboat called Orchis
Gottcha! Honey buzzard
was tucked in between the trees growing along the towpath edge close by some wooden bungalows. A man waved and shouted hello as we passed. Another very wide three-storey cruiser was coming up in the next lock, this one was Belgian-flagged and called Jeu d’Eau from Liège – on his way home no doubt. Lock 8 Thugny had been refurbished, just like lock 7, and again the lockhouse was lived in and well looked after. Below the lock there were new signs that said “no fishing” and “night fishing for carp allowed” – 75m further on a man was fishing with a long roach pole! Vive la France! Bet he’s fished
Recovered sunken boat on the bank near Rethel
there since he was a wee lad! The view on the right opened up across a big field of maize and we could hear the mewing calls of birds of prey before we saw three honey buzzards spiralling up on thermals. Lock 9 Biermes hadn’t had the revamp treatment yet. The house was surrounded by a motley collection of ancient agricultural equipment, péniche propellers and anchors. Down another 1.72m and on to the last wriggly bit before the town. Houses started appearing on the left bank and a cyclist came whizzing round
Moored on the old quay at Rethel
the corner on to the towpath which was now metalled. Another fisherman was seated by some pilings out on the bank next to an old rusting cruiser which, by the marks across its roof, had been sunk for some considerable time. Still on the left bank we passed a factory processing huge bales of waste paper just before the bridge and the start of the moorings on the right bank. We passed DB Linda (they left late afternoon) moored by the water and electricity posts (wow, more refurbishments!) and winded to tie up on the old quay at 3.10pm. Yipee, we got 3G. Made a cuppa and settled down to do the log and photos then start the great catch up. One day caught up, 15th is the next day to do so I’m still ten days behind.

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