Boat lifts

From our rude awakening in Blaton we made good progress and took advantage of the extra ‘awake’ time to get a bit further.  Again we faced the deep locks. 

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I secured my rope to the side bollard this time making reaching the lock bollards as we ascend alot easier.

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There’s one of these every few feet so you have to release from one and lasso the next quickly.

The next lock had a lifting bollard again so that was much easier.

As we approached our destination of Strepy-Bracquegnies we had to go through a self managing lock.  This was a first for all of us so it was a bit puzzling at first.  One of you needs to push this green stick up to open the lock.  If you look closely you can see the green stick just in front of the sign.

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It took quite a few attempts before we all worked it out.  Poor Jill twisted, pulled and shook that stick … none of us thought to push it!  The lock was surprisingly narrow and quite short but Matilda Rose and Avalon managed to both squeeze in.  At the top of the lock there were flashing signals and Jill (being at the front) had the job of pulling the blue pipe which closed the gates and filled the lock.  I couldn’t tie up to anything here but it was so tight I wasn’t going anywhere!  I did tie to Matilda Rose just in case and Kevin tied to a rising ring on a pipe. Unfortunately Jill’s rising ring refused to participate meaning they were only secured via Avalon. Not an ideal situation but as I said it was a tight fit and we came to no harm.

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The man from the nearby mariner came by to ask where we were mooring (looking for customers!) and with my excellent hand signals I told him we were carrying on to the boat lift.

And so to the boat lift.  By now the rain was coming down in rods so I wasn’t best pleased to be stuck outside but what can you do?!

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Despite the rain it was a pleasant experience and before I knew it we were out the other side.

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The lift operator escorted us to the moorings … it was a Hobson’s choice situation but as we’re moored alongside a nice footpath I’m not complaining. 

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Next morning myself and Jill decided to explore with the dogs while the husbands went to retrieve our vehicles from Asper. 

Further along the footpath we found the second and third boat lifts (no longer in use unfortunately).

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We stopped briefly here for Jill to have a quick ‘comfort break’ behind a tree … when nature calls you have to obey!

After lunch Jill and I did the requisite visit to the local shops and found a lovely Spar with a grocery, butchery section and deli section so we bought as much as we could carry. 

Because we bought so much it was very heavy so we decided we needed a rest in a nearby bar to muster up some strength for the journey home.

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We met some of the locals and their dogs and watched some French daytime TV while we were there and Jill found an interesting leaflet …

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I wonder who uses this?! (in actual fact it was a laundry service)

Tomorrow we will be heading towards this beast of a lift!

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The photo doesn’t really show how huge and imposing the construction is.  Wish me luck!

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