Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ascenseur de Strepy-Thieu

1 lock, 1 lift bridge, 2 Ascensurs

The day started well.  We both woke to find we’d been savaged by a mossy overnight.  So we were up and at it early with dogs emptied, motorhome parked properly and winded ready to set off by 10.15am.  A swift start for all.

The plan was to drop down to the local marina for water then head of towards Charleroi and do the big boat lift along the way.

The trip to the old ascensure was pleasant as this time the sun was out.  The only lift bridge today was raised for us and soon after we arrived at the old lift No.4.  A bit of a wait while they set it for us and soon we were on our way down.

The marina to the left




When we arrived at the marina we were met by a man speaking in French only and after a lot of can we have water yes or no? we eventually found out a €3 token was needed and we could have water.  This took over an hour in which time Graham loaded water on to their and our boats while Deb, Jill and I walked the dogs.

It was the onwards to the self serve lock.  Deb pushed the green pole firmly up and we got the green to go.  The lock took a few minute to set its self up and we were in.

Lock instructions

All the instructions we duly followed in order, including No.5 by MR who’s rope got snagged up requiring an emergency stop and a sharp knife.  A call on the intercom eventually brought the assistance of a roving lockie who reset the lock and down we went again.

Blue to start Red to stop

Once out of the Ecluse de Thieu it was a sharp right turn towards the big lift.


As we arrived the right hand caisson signalled with a green arrow and disgorged it recently arrived load.

First in was St. Louis with its cargo of scrap aluminium.


It’s getting bigger

And bigger

Soon we are in and moored up



Each of these cables is 85mm diameter


The exit gate at the top

The exit door

The view from the top

Its big!

MR exiting

The only thing that spoilt the ride up for me is the bitch official that hauled me into a booth for the whole of the lift to discuss in her best French she wanted to see my papers.  I showed her my papers which were issued in Flanders and was told these were no good.  Same country different region.  In the end I walked out as I was getting angry it was going nowhere, only to find we had arrived and I’d missed it. It would seem that in crossing the border I should have given or at least had taken Avalon’s details. At one lock this happened to MR but not us. You can imagine I was not best pleased.

Once out of the lift the next marvel was the aqueduct. 


This is 500m long and 200ft high bridging a valley on the new canal route.

To safeguard the lift, at night this flood gate is lowered. It’s also there to stop the canal if there is a breach down stream to the lift.


Tonight we are moored at the top of a disused canal near Seneffe.  This is a private mooring but the home vessel is out and we were given permission by the owner to use it for the night.


1 comment:

  1. I'm going green with envy here... LOL
    What a great experience, the lift not the Madame!!
    Hope the MR crew aren't caught hanging around again ;)