Friday, 26 September 2014

Tuesday 16th September 2014 abv Vanne-Alcorps lock to Bogny. 35.8kms 7 locks

Fumay in the mist
10.7°C Grey, misty start but the sun burned through and it was hot. Set off at nine, reversing out of the short lock cut, through the old flood gates and on to the river to wind and head upstream through the low-hanging river mist with our headlight on (that’s a first!!). 4.75kms to the first lock. There were two Locaboats on the mooring at Fumay plus the cruiser which had passed us the previous evening, a British-flagged cruiser called Blue Steel. The latter was untying as we passed and soon overtook us with navi-lights on. The mist was pretty thick all the way around the almost complete circle that the river does around
Coming up in L'Uf lock
Fumay to L’Uf, we zapped and the lock emptied. Up 2.25m and Mike switched our headlight off as the mist was thinning out rapidly. The Cablerie Nexans just above the lock had had a new extension so the electric cable industry must be doing well at Fumay. A short reach, 2.75kms. Around the bend there were allotments along the river on the town side and a man was chatting with a very elderly couple who were tending their plot. As we went up St Joseph lock (2.62m rise) a train went over the bridge
Old quarries above St Joseph lock
over the lock deafening us for a few seconds as it passed directlyoverhead. Big sweeping bends with forested hills on the right and left. The remains of an old quarry on the right were covered with purple heather. The first downhill boat was a Belgian-flagged DB called Gliske. I baked a quiche and cooked Mike some fish for his lunch on the 6.1kms reach up to Revin. Zapped and the deep lock (4.6m) emptied. We went up ropeless as usual, although we’d marked our chart to remind us to use fore and aft ropes if a roving keeper happened to be in attendance. It was just midday as we left the lock. A British couple on
Railway track over the lock at St Joseph. NOISY!
bikes had stopped to say hello by the lock. A sharp left turn into the tunnel, with a fisherman on the apex of the bend! We’ve always wondered why the canal builders dug through the hill here and didn’t at Fumay, maybe it’s a question of the type of rock. Just a short reach of 1.6kms to the lock at Orzy. Up another 1.68m and on to a longer reach, 4.73kms, so we ate lunch with a backdrop of dramatic scenery as the hills became steeper and higher. Up Dames de Meuse lock (3.08m) which has a permanently open
Train on the bridge at Laifour
liftbridge at the top end. A long lock cut avoids the shallows at the foot of the hills on the right called the Rochers des Dames de Meuse. 4.59kms to the next lock. The first roller-blader went past on the towpath – there had been many cyclists - a young lady keeping up with a fast trotting young chocolate Labrador. In the lock cut we dodged several large semi-submerged large tree branches. Back on the river and round the long bend at Laifour, under the road and railway bridges. A group of disabled people in nine or ten wheelchairs, and their carers, were taking a gentle promenade along the towpath. A diesel passenger train
Dames de Meuse lock
went very slowly across the bridge into the railway tunnel, giving Mike plenty of time to take photos of it. The cruiser Blue Steel was moored on the quay at Laifour. Up La Commune lock (2.07m) and we were surprised to see Blue Steel arrive below the lock as we went round the first bend, we thought they’d stopped. It was only 4.24kms to our last lock at Monthermé and as they would probably be travelling at twice our speed of 6 kph, if not more, we reckoned that they would catch us up before we arrived at the next lock, which they did. Mike zapped and the lock emptied, then he called them past to
Montherme and the viewing platform above it
go in the lock first. One of their crew went up the ladder to take their ropes and asked for ours. We’re OK, we’ll just sit here quietly at the back. We rose 3.30m with no problems. The cruiser’s crew went to the lockside café for ice creams while the lock filled. I noted that the lock gate access was blocked with an old white plastic chair and a block of wood at the bottom end and at the top end with a big mowing machine – VNF keeping the roaming public away from their walnut trees? There was a very nice VNF house by the lock, the last two locks no longer had houses, not even a sign of where they were now. Another long
In Montherme lock with cruiser in front
lock cut following the S-shaped bends of the river. A new automatic weir had replaced the needle weir here quite some time ago. A large cruiser was moored on the right, about half a metre from the bank, before the road bridge in Monthermé. Upstream of the bridge there was a new concrete quay with all mod cons, a couple of electric day hire boats and a tripper called Le Roc, the rest of the quay was empty. A cruiser by some houses further on looked like it was permanently moored there. Six swans and four Canada geese were paddling around in the town, there used to be hundreds
Automatic weir at Montherme
of swans here. At the junction with the river Semois, a beautiful small tributary of the river that is only navigable by canoes and kayaks, there was a big campsite full of tents and caravans and a couple of campervans. A little further on two donkeys were having a great time rolling in the dust, taking a dust bath just like birds do. Another half a dozen swans were chasing people on the bank who were carrying bags (they were picking blackberries) by the next railway bridge. Round a couple more bends and we were at Château Regnault on the right with its statue of the Quattre Fils d’Aymon on the legendary
The four sons of Aymon and the legendary steed Bayard
CLICK HERE for more about the legend of Bayard
horse Bayard, up high on the hill. Bogny-sur-Meuse is on the left but the pontoon mooring on the right belongs to Bogny. Two electric day hire boats were moored at the end and Blue Steel and another cruiser called Liberté were moored there too. Just enough room for us between Blue Steel and the hireboats. We set the TV up and got the bike off. Mike went to get the car from Givet. A lady came for mooring fees at 6.20 pm. 5,90€ without electric. I asked about the water taps and she said that she has the adaptor for the water, we didn’t need any today, and she said her colleague would be there at ten in the morning. Mike returned before I finished the photos. He said as it was late we’d leave the bike in the car and unload it in the morning. We decided to stay the next day and get the phone and Internet sorted as well as getting groceries.

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