These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

15th - 18th June. Rural Netherlands in the Weeribben - Wieden National Park.

Gradually travelling northwards on a smaller waterway, this farm mooring was perfect for Shannon, with an impenetrable wire fence. She enjoyed the freedom here, though she was disappointed that the gate was firmly shut!
Carrying on, we followed the markers along a deep channel, skirting the edge of the shallow Zwarte Meer, to get to the Zwarte Water, which is both wide and deep enough for commercial traffic. However there was none about today.
Having gone through a small lock with two other boats, we were glad to be on a smaller waterway again, but still heading north. We are now in the Weeribben - Wieden National Park, which is unique in that it is the largest freshwater wetland in the north-west of Europe. It is a rural area which specialises in reed cutting for thatched roofs, the cut reeds being stored in barns such as this once they are dry enough.

The reeds are transported in boats like this one, seen inside the shelter of the barn.
We are on the Arembergracht waterway here, and the green sails opposite our mooring are covering the cut reeds, to protect them from the rain, as they dry out. They will have been cut last December.

These reeds are on the move, but are they going from the canal side stores to the barns, or are they off to rethatch a house? We will never know!

Crossing Beulaker Wijde was a little rough, but The Puzzler did not mind. These lakes are wide but never very rough, so far anyway!

Having continued across Giethoornse Meer, we took a right turn into Roomsloot, which is the smallest waterway for us so far in The Netherlands. We met this sharp left turn in the tiny hamlet of Nederland. but managed to squeeze round it safely.
The water village of Kalenberg is at the other end of Roomsloot. On this side of the canal, the houses can only be accessed by water, or by bicycle. Most of the houses are thatched, or part-thatched, like this splendid property. Thatch does not do well under trees, as it needs air to keep it dry, hence the part thatch.

All the houses in Kalenberg are rather special.

The canal is not very wide through the village, but is one of the main routes north to Friesland. However, you never know what you are going to meet round the next corner!

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