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.
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
28th - 30th September. On to Meppelerdiep and Zwartsluis. Across Ketelmeer to Ketelhaven on Flevoland.
It was a lovely day on Sunday so Andy and Shannon decided to do some sunbathing.
Moving on on Monday, we joined Meppelerdiep, a bigger waterway, but there were few ships about today.
We left Zwartsluis by going through the open lock, under two low bridges there, out on to Zwarte Water, another big barge canal.
An empty barge overtook us soon after this, going at top speed. He was out of sight before we came round the corner, but we turned off on to a smaller canal, Ganzendiep, to go southwards to join the River Ijssel.
It was nice to be off the open water, and we were joined by a cruiser in the lock. In Ketelsluis we dropped 5 metres to get down to Flevoland.
There is a pleasant free mooring, quite near to Ketelhaven. The lock can be seen behind The Puzzler, with the dike protecting the polder from the waters of Ketelmeer.
Coming back along the dike, we could see Ketelhaven marina, which was full of sailing boats.
Monday, 29 September 2014
Coming down Erica sluis, we reached the official end of the new Erica to Ter Apel canal.
Veenbrug, in the town of Veenoord, is a lifting railway bridge. As the bridge is lifted straight up, then the overhead cables are not disturbed.
The canal, Veerlenge Hoogeveensche vaart, goes on and on ahead of us, but the trees do help to break the monotony of it.
Beyond Klenkerbrug, the canal narrows by this pleasant mooring.
Alongside the canal there were many more of these big dwellings. From this we assume that this is a wealthy area.
We descended about seven metres in Nieuwe Brugsluis. It certainly seemed a long way down!
We are now moored above Oostersluis until Monday. These locks and bridges do not operate on Sundays. Until the double red by the lock turns green, we will wait!
These storks seem to live in the field near to our mooring.
Sunday, 28 September 2014
24th - 25th September. On along the new Veenvaart canal, including the Koning Willem Alexander Kanaal.
We moored in the Hondsrug Geopark on Wednesday. This dates back 135,00 years, but surely these stones were polished more recently!
Not far from the canal was this eerie place, with the remains of trees in the sunken area, which is now filled with water.
Carrying on along the Scholtens canal, which is part of the new Veenvaart waterway, the oak trees, with the smaller silver birch trees behind, look lovely.
Having turned on to the Koning Willem Alexander kanaal through Trambrug, we moored and walked on to see Koppelsluis. This is a staircase lock with two chambers.
Our return route is through tracks and woods. This has to be one of our best walks since arriving in Holland in April.
Back with The Puzzler, we are now on our way into the bottom lock at Koppelsluis.
Hold your boat securely as the paddles are raised!
There is a viewing platform on top of the control tower, for a good view of the lock. This lock takes us up to the summit level. We have now come up 15 locks (sluizen) and are 20 metres above sea level.
This giraffe was keeping an eye on things near to Spaarsluis.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
22nd - 23rd September. South on the Ruiten Aakanaal to Ter Apel, where we joined the new Veenvaart, which opened in 2013.
On Monday we were the first to leave, at about midday, after an extremely wet morning.
Cees and Sam caught us up with Sambucca, below Zuidveldsluis, and we spent our third evening together. A good time was had by all!
Cheetah called round to see if Shannon was coming out to play.
Potatoes are now on the move, in from the fields. This was the third trailer load to pass us, on its way to the farm.
Further on there were three lorries queueing up to be loaded with sugar beet, another product of this region.
By Ter Apel sluis this marker told us that we were 10.5 metres above the Amsterdam water level .
The canal continues to delight us, with its lining of trees.
However, just through the open lock beyond the bridge, before the German border, was a diesel point on the canal. The garage lady brought us a bucket of cleaning goodies too, in case we made a mess! This diesel was the cheapest we have found in Holland. We then backed back through the bridge, to rejoin the Stads-Compascum canal.
We are now joining the new Veenkanaal, which was opened in 2013. This has been our destination for the last month, and it is good to get here at last.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
20th - 21st September. Going southwards in Holland, near to the German border, to visit the fortified town of Bourtange.
We carried on locking ourselves up the Ruiten Aakanaal, meeting Cees and Sam at Vlagtwedder sluis. Their boat is already at Bourtange.
The tree lined canal leading to Bourtange from the Ruiten Aakanaal was very pretty.
Approaching Bourtange harbour. We are very near to the German border here.
In the harbour at Bourtange we found Cees and Sam on Sambucca, which was originally a Swedish Baltic rescue boat.
There is one windmill within the city moat, near to one of the six diamond shaped "corners" of the city.
Canons are still in place, ready to repel marauders.
Meanwhile Sally and Shannon are on lookout duty! Should they be looking the other way?
This weekend there was a market in the centre of the town, with musicians too.