Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sermaize-Les-Baines to Vitry-le-Francois

8 Locks, 12½ miles, 4½hours

So this was the final leg of the Canal Du Marne au Rhin.  Waking early seems to be getting the norm now.  This morning we had a lie in and a slow get up and we were off at 11am. Today Saturday 27th was a comparatively easy day compared to what we have been used to this last week.

All the locks on this section are beam activated and most of them were full so by the time we reached the locks it was straight in.

The landscape has gone very flat here now.


With lots of woods with trees all planted in rows.  I have been told before this is a tradition that a farmer will plant a 100m x 100m plot of trees on the birth of a daughter. By the time she is to be married the trees will be cropped to pay for it.


But many of the trees are infested with mistletoe some even dead with dead mistletoe on.


The scenery has now changed to a typical French canal picture I have in my head.




Yet again we had the canal to ourselves, the only other boat we saw with people on was moored.


Unusual to see an unoccupied lock keeper cottage

By mid afternoon we finally reached lock No. 70 the final one on this canal



A few more km and we see the very end of the Marne au Rhin.  It now splits in tow and we are going right this time.


This is the 3 way canal split

Confirmation we are now in the Canal Laterala la Marne

Once through the first lock we moored up on a nice grassy bank for the night.


The following morning we were again awake early (for us) While sitting in bed we felt the distinct movement of water meaning the lock behind us where the above photo was taken was in operation. Then a VNF van went down the towpath on the left.  Strange I thought as it was still not 9am.  This meant it must be a commercial barge which can start at 7am I suppose with a VNF lockie in attendance to do the locks. A few minutes later it appeared first in the bedroom mirror then coming past the us.  It had a MASSIVE transformer on board, way to big to travel any distance by road. The approach was nice and gentle but to make the bend he needed to throttle up as he went past resulting in our rear pin being pulled out and our stern dragged out to the middle of the. The front was anchored on a very strong hook in the ground so it was simply a matter of starting the engine and pulling the back in again.  I thought the commercial barges were forbidden to move on a Sunday.

We walked the dogs and there were some lovely scenes.



The original river Marne under the canal

Bark textures

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