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.

Friday, 19 September 2014

13th - 16th September. Past a new development near Groningen, Eemskanaal, then south on Winschoterdiep. Two day convoy travelling through 63 bridges.

As we are approaching the Eemskanaal from Sloterdiep, there is a major development in progress, beside the canal. This is a new lock and harbour under construction, and the houses will lie further back. We are quite near to Groningen here, so this will no doubt soon be The Place To Live!

Once on the Eemskanaal, Shannon is keeping a good lookout for any barges ahead. She is not too sure about these barge canals.
Approaching Borg Bridge, we had to wait for the barge Sira-M, before we could go through. He definitely has priority, weighing 1504 tons more than The Puzzler!
Turning south from the Eemskanaal near Groningen on to the Winschoterdiep, then off on to Drentsche Diep, we pass through a narrow wooded section, which makes a nice change. These Dutch waterways are all different.

Zuidlaardermeer was a bigger lake than we had expected, but the weather is really good at the moment. An Indian summer!

We paused briefly at this wooden lookout tower, by the Leinewijk canal, to climb up and enjoy the view.

Looking down from the tower to the canal below, you can see how much water there is in this area.

We found a herd of goats, but chose not to walk through their field!
On Monday we were in a convoy of four boats, escorted by three bridge keepers on their mopeds, going first for 5 km through the village of Kiel-Windeweer, with 11 lift or swing bridges. After a couple of sharp corners, we went on through Annerveenschekanaal, Eexterveenschekanaal and Bareveld, all of which are linear villages, lying along the canal. We did a total of 21.5 km today, with 28 bridges and three locks. Many of the houses were similar to these, implying a wealthy area. This canal was lined first with an avenue of beech trees, then further on, oak trees.

We paused overnight on the outskirts of Stadskanaal village and visited Kleine Hortus. Brothers Jan and Albert Boskers created this garden behind their house in 1968, and have worked on it in their spare time ever since. It measures 70 x 20 metres, but there is so much to see that it seems to be much bigger.

In the morning we started on the Pekeler Hoofdiep canal at 9 am. The Stadskanaal bridge keeper saw us through the first two bridges and assured us that someone would meet us at Koppelsluis at 9.30am. We waited, and waited. We tried various phone numbers, then waited some more. Eventually two bridge keepers arrived, soon after 11.30 am and we were on our way, going through the villages of Boven Pekela, Nieuwe Pekela and Oude Pekela. Again houses and oak trees lined the canal all the way, making for very pleasant sailing. Here we are in Oude Pekela.

At the end of a long day, with 33 lift bridges and four locks, we reached Jachthaven Oude Pekela. This was a friendly marina with very reasonable rates.

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