Friday, 30 May 2014

Plan Incline de Ronquieres

1 Incline Plane 7½ miles, 1½ hours

A nice early start again this morning.  We were all underway by 10.15am and heading off to play on the incline plane at Ronquieres.

I forgot to [ost a map of yesterdays little jaunt so tonight's one will show yesterdays as well.


This wasn’t really on our trip to anywhere this was the destination.  Why? because its there.  Its one of the biggest in the world.

It was built in 1968 to replace 14 locks and can lift canal lifts boats of up to 1350 tonnes through 67.73 metres. Boats enter a water filled caisson and the caissons are moved up or down the Plane by cables pulled by a stationary engine.

Canal locks are common. Canal boat lifts are rare  Inclined Planes are very rare. Ronquieres is the largest of its type in Europe and may be the largest in the world.

It is an impressive structure. The Plane is 1,432 metres [0.89 miles] long and has two tracks. Each track has a caisson almost 300 feet long. The photograph below was taken from the upper station and shows a caisson moving up the left track.

Here are a couple of photos lifted from the net from the top of the tower which has absolutely no part in the function of the machine.

Here are my photos.







After about an hour wait we are finally on it


Here we are at the bottom

We are moored below tonight ready for the return tomorrow

View from the lower canal near our mooring

Was it worth it?  Hell yes.  This evening we found a local bar.  In true British style we were the last to leave as the staff were putting up the chairs. Jill and I stuck firmly to alcohol, Deb and Graham were seduced by Crepes with rum and raisin ice cream, + their booze.

It’s difficult to get use to the light at night.  Here its the equivalent of BST+1 or double summertime, so its still light at 10.30pm.

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