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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

14th - 20th July 2014. Still in Friesland. From Akkrum to Grou, Sneek, Heeg, Woudsend and Sloten again, then back to Heerenveen.

We sailed back into Akkrum next morning to collect Martin and Jenny from the station, before heading north again. Further up the waterway capsize drill was going on.

Saturday evening brought another lovely sunset, after an unremarkable day.

This stork, standing by the water's edge, was very regal.
At Earnewald we went to find the Skutje museum. It was a short walk out of town but, as always, there was a cycle path along by the road for us to use. Skutjes are the very distinctive historic sailing boats of Friesland.

This modern skutje was built just a few years ago. It is really beautiful.

The builder of the boat insisted we all sat in the stern for a photo opportunity!
We sailed on further into the National Park of Alde Feanen. As the weather was improving, we bought iced lollies from the ice-cream boat!

As the chart shows, there is a great deal of water available for cruising in this park.

There are plenty of idyllic moorings to choose from too.
The Prinses Margriet Kanaal runs along the north west side of the park, and we followed it down to Grou. It is a commercial waterway, so we are in with the big boys here. The barge Meander was the largest one to overtake us.
There was not much space in Grou, as the first Skutje race of the season starts from here this Saturday. We pulled in to the Oostergoo Hotel to moor, and to have a cup of coffee, before looking round the town.
Continuing down the Prinses Margriet for a while, we saw this railway bridge start to swing for a tall yacht which was coming behind us. The height of this bridge is 71.5 metres, and the waterway here is part of the "Mast up" route through Friesland, from Lemmer, on the Ijsselmeer, to Delfzijl, far in the northeast of The Netherlands.

There are so many hydrangeas in this area. The Dutch are real flower gardeners, and it is lovely to see.

We cruised on across several different lakes and eventually reached Sneek. The houses in this part of town are very traditional.
We moored at the first available mooring, in the central part of Sneek. Directly behind us at the mooring is yacht Mintaka, a very different boat to The Puzzler. It was nice to see some fellow Brits, and we stayed out late to chat. It was a lovely warm evening, after a glorious day.

This lift bridge in Sneek is very decorative.

Shannon is finding the weather almost too hot for comfort. It is good that she was trimmed last week.
The cruiser to our left, behind us as we come in front of the Watergate Bridge, was in a real hurry, and overtook us as soon as he could. However, most people on the water have plenty of time to enjoy themselves.
In the village of Ijlst, we took a detour through a small waterway, which was interesting, especially when we met other boats in the narrows!
This old sailing barge is a museum piece, in the centre of Heeg. Our flag is down, and the front flowerpot moved to the side, as we have just been through a low bridge.

On Heegermeer there were a great many sailing dinghies to be seen.
We climbed up inside the 't Lamb windmill in Woudsend, to look out over the town. Sadly there was not enough wind to move the sails today.
Following another cruiser through the lift bridge, we hoped that the brugwachter would let us through, before turning the lights red, to stop any more boats.  He was kind to us and we did get through on this lift!

We moored on the long stretch, leading up to Sloten. There were at least forty boats of different types here.

It was a good place for a game of boules.

This was our best head so far, with all eight boules round the jack. On this length of grass we use a tennis ball for the jack, which does make it much easier to see.

This is our favourite view down the centre of Sloten, from the end bridge.

We cross the Prinses Margriet again, so once more it is "barge ahead!"
Crossing Tjeukermeer, we pass the island mooring. To the right of the island all these cruisers are at anchor, but we can see swimmers standing up amongst them, so it must be really shallow. We are on our way to Heerenveen, for Martin and Jenny to catch their train.

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