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.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

29th June to 6th July 2014 from Akkrum along The Turfroute.

Debbie and Matt left us by train from Akkrum, where there is a large rail swing bridge. Here it is opening, with the side pieces lifting up too.
When open the boats can go on both sides of the bridge. This bridge opens three times every hour, so is quite a contrast to the Dublin rail bridge on The Royal Canal, which opens once a month for passage of boats!
The classic farm design is seen here, with the house being built on the end of the barn. This must make care of stock in the winter much easier for the farmer.
We are now on the Turfroute, coming into Aldboarn. There are three swing bridges through the centre of the village, and the Bridge watcher cycles on with us. We had to wait at the second one, while he called all his friends out to see this strange boat in their village!

Everywhere there are orange flags and bunting, showing support for the Dutch team in the football World Cup in Brazil. They are doing very well, so we are now supporting them, instead of England.
We stayed in Aldboarn for two days, playing bridge at the local pub. It was a good turn out for summer bridge, with 11 tables. We did not win, but were given two sausages, as a consolation prize!

On to Gorredijk next, which is a larger place.
We paid at the sluis in Gorredijk, for our passage of the Turfroute. The locks are worked for boats, but have no balance beams. so the lockkeepers have to push or pull them open and shut, using an extremely long pole.
We have seen quite a few houses of this shape, here in The Netherlands. We are told that it dates back to the time of sailing boats, and the shape represents the sails of a boat.
On the Turfroute there are several swing bridges, which you work for yourself. However in practice, you don't, as the children of each village open them for you, for a fee of 50c. This young girl has the classic clog on a fishing line to collect her fee, though Granny did all the work!

Parts of the waterway here are very like being on an English canal.

The wide open fields are much bigger than in England though, stretching away into the distance.
As the name, Turfroute, suggests, the water here is very brown from the peat in the ground. The lock coming up to Appelscha village was the deepest on this waterway.
In Appelscha we managed to fit half of The Puzzler on to the end of the jetty, with the boat in front moving up for us. People were very friendly here.
A bike ride away from the canal was the Friesian - Drenthe wood, which is a large area of mixed woodland. There are proper hills here, and Shannon loved the freedom!
Deep in the wood was this splendid open air theatre, with seats for 450 people. Access to the theatre was on foot or by bike only.
The waterway on the way back across the turf route was not as interesting, mainly being a long straight canal, with few villages to see.

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