Thursday, 22 May 2014

Kerkhove to Tournai

3 locks, 1 lift bridge 11¼ miles, 4¼ hours

We set off for Tournai around 10.45 straight into our first lock of the day. A lock with a difference this.  Its called Ecluse de Herrrinnes.  Not the change from Sluis to Ecluse and the bridges from here on in are pont not brug.  We are entering into Wallonie leaving Flanders behind.  More on this later.





We had to wait a while while 2 cargo vessels came along to make a full lock up.  They went in first.  This is how it was for the other 2 locks.

All 3 locks were virtually identical so I’ll just post some pictures of the boats assembled in them.








Along the way we crossed the previously mentioned border and region change. 

The dogs didn’t really notice.



It’s incredible just how different a few miles can make.  The first big shock was calling the first lock of the day.  I called out in English (the international VHF language).  The reply was in French. No amout of explaining that I didn’t understand what they were saying would get a reply in English.  They were almost defiant.  I just did what I though best and it worked out fine.

The next locks were called buy the bigger boats so we just tagged along.

My Segway guide explained that the South was dragging the North down in Belgium as they were French based and generally lazy.

The approach into Tournai promised so much.  It was looking really pretty, and having read a bit about it I was really looking forward to mooring there.

Pont des Trous



Pont Notre-Dame Lift bridge on Hydraulics

This part through the city is fairly narrow by commercial standards and this section is one way operated by a traffic light system.  We got a green light and continued on the the town moorings. When we arrived we were the only ones here.  We were greeted by the local nutter character that started to tell us how to moor.  I left him with Graham to entertain.

This evening it looks like this now we have been joined by 3 other boats.


Since we’ve been her there’s been some big boats through here.  This one in particular.



Remember the pretty arched bridge just back a bit, well this came through it! It’s pretty normal to see one of our windows filled with a cargo vessel.



Not only these, but there are double length ones.



That’s one long barge pushing another in front of it.  Total length probably about 150m

Tournai, has not lived up to its promise as written about or the advertising approach.  This mooring Is not in the nicest part of town if indeed there is one.  I have never seen so much dog Sh*t on the pavements, the pavements them selves are obstacle courses, the city centre and Cathedral is one big building sight. The old buildings haven't seen paint in years, and the local infrastructure matched the pavements. Have a look at Deb’s blog when she writes it.  I am bitterly disappointed.

Only upside so far is a local bar and by local I mean for the “locals”.  1 pint of beer, 2 glasses of wine, and a Pastiche €8.90. 

We are only a few miles form the border with France here.  French is the local language in the shops and bars.  We could turn right in a few miles from here and head into France on either the Scarpe or Escaut.


We will continue on to Namur and use the Meuse as our entry to France.


  1. Kevin, I don't know how you do all that you do and still make these very interesting posts, in a timely manner. But keep it up, it's great!

  2. Magnificent church set almost into the rock face at Namur, but DO NOT step off the pavement when walking, you will be fined on the spot for ‘jay walking’. I also remember a ‘crooked house’ there, the corridors are so sloped you can hardly walk down them. That was in 1971 so things may have changed a little!! George