August 31


the crew! Thanks Pat and Kerry

We have toured from our entry at Antoing (Perrones), across the southern part of the province of Wallonie. After the huge locks at Perrones, we moored for the night beside another huge lock on a disused side canal, the Pommeroeul. This would have been a short cut that would have saved 2 days cruising, but, alas, is now closed.

13.5m lock gates at the entrance to the Pommeroeul Canal

We went through Mons, which was anti-climactic, until we met the huge lift at Strepy-Thieu, which has replaced 4 smaller lifts and a lock on the old canal through Mons. A spectacular experience!.

Strepy-Thieu boat lift approach from below

view of the Sambre valley from the lift




exit at the top of the boat lift 73.15m rise!

We moved along, and have seen abbeys, vast heavy industry, culminating in the seriously huge works, mostly derelict, in Charlerois.

However, unlike Britain, where there is very little commercial traffic on the waterways, and few of the heavy industrial sites are working, in Belgium, the canal-sides are lined with many heavy industrial places, from metal recycling, steel fabrication and aggregate manufacturing, through several container transfer ports. Interesting, and economically very important (and why the waterways are full of the large ships), if not entirely appealing to look at.

flood prevention gate near the boat lift

heavy industry at Charlerois

dismantling the works!

Abbey at Floreffe, from the river

We made the transition from smaller canalized river (the Sambre) to the much larger Meuse at Namur, the capital of Wallonie. There is a huge citadel fortress, begun about 1000 AD, and added to in stages through the 19th century. Not significant at all in the 20th century, both world wars passed it by. However, Namur, at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, was a pivotal place, and suffered much damage.

Sambre River side in Namur

the citadel above the major old bridge across the Meuse, in Namur

Namur citadel at night

Searching for Utopia

confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, from the citadel in Namur

We have seen all sorts of lock designs, from the traditional V-gates, to lift gates, and a first for us, cable-suspended slide gates. The locks continue to be much larger than in the UK.




About Ed Mortimer

I'm a retired school teacher, now living on my Dutch cruiser in France. I'm touring as much of the canals and river systems as I can. This blog describes what I do and where I've been. I did spend 5 years on first a narrowboat, and then this boat, in Britain.
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