These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight 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, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Monday, 15 September 2014

8th - 12th September. Canal circuits around Groningen, as far as Appingedam, near the northeast coast of The Netherlands.

We are trying to see as many different waterways in Holland as possible in our time allowed, so we left Groningen going north, then west, on the Reitdiep canal.
We went as far as Elektra, before going southwards on Kommerzijlsterrijte, a much smaller canal, as far as the village of Neizijl, where our friends, Willem and Anke, joined us for a very pleasant evening. Although we were moored at least two kilometres from the Van Starkenborgh canal, we could still feel the water surging as the barges passed the end of our canal. When on the same canal as them, they seem to create little wash.
By Wednesday we were on the Van Starkenborgh canal, going back in the direction of Groningen. We were delayed by some work boats, as a big barge, Aloma, was coming towards us at the same time, and we had to wait for it to pass before we could continue. We saw few barges during our 8 km on this canal before going left on to Aduarderdiep, and then back for a brief visit to the Reitdiep, then the Winsumerdiep, to take us to Onderdendam, for the second time.

Thursday found us on Boterdiep, passing this pumping station, beside a zelfbedeining lock. In other words, we work it ourselves, by pushing the right buttons.
We carried on to the Westerwijtwerder-maar, another big name for a small canal. The villages along this canal are all very attractive.
Following Damsterdiep canal to Appingedam, we found the famous “hanging kitchens”, which were added to make more space, when former warehouses were converted into houses.
Appingedam is a pleasant town, which used to be a sea port, but has been replaced in this role by Delfzijl.
We have decided to miss the docks of Delfzijl, going to the south instead. We crossed the Eemskanaal, which is a major waterway, locking up about two metres, then down again on the other side, and on down Groeve canal to get to Schildmeer.
It was quite windy, and we were glad to find this sheltered canal bank, just south of the lake, at Sans Souci pumping station. Two cruisers turned up later on, planning to moor here, and were quite upset to find us in residence. They disappeared back to a mooring on the lake.

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