Written in haste while we had the wee-fee (wi-fi) to upload it all)
I have mentioned that Amiens was a curate’s egg. The good parts were the architecture, the parks;
les Hortinollages and their passerales; (I’ve got another 30 photos of these if anyone is interested . . )
the Cathedral; (absolutely HUGE, twice the size of Notre-Dame in Paris)
old houses, shops and restaurants (linked together by a mini-canal system similar to Venice.)
The bad parts were that we had moored up against a quay that was popular with exuberant somewhat inebriated young at night, and melancholy somewhat inebriated drinkers during the day. It looks lovely – but had its downsides.
So Stewart never felt comfortable there and after two nights we decided to move on up river. The first part of the journey was past Les Hortillonages (hectare upon hectare of small market gardens divided by small channels of water).
The first lock we came to was at Lamotte-Brebiere where we waited for our jolly orange Somme van and accompanying l’eclusier to arrive next to a lovely wacky bar.
We continued to Daours lock, through to Corbie and our resting place for two nights.
Corbie is a pleasant village with some nice buildings – and our first meeting with another boat in 4 weeks (see below below)
It has a close association with Sainte Colette,
including a chapel build on the site of her birth
and her favourite view from a high spot above town. (A Saintly Colette indeed . . . )
(with a point of view . . . . . )
We met Bente and Kurt and their splendid B&B (barge and breakfast)/cruise barge Aslaug…look them up and go for a day out or holiday with them! They helped us celebrate our wedding anniversary the evening before we set off again, with Cappy as our target for the night – a target that was somewhat missed!
The first of our set of three ‘incidents of the day’ occurred before we even left – the printer stopped working, and there were none to be purchased in Corbie. Then as we set off proudly upriver, looking back we saw a happy black fender bobbing about mid-stream …. requiring full astern from the Captain, and a wildly wielded boathook by the crew.
Setting off again, we had a good view of St Colette’s view point from below as we began the journey – you can just make out the same information board (above) in the top left hand corner.
Calliope made good time and we arrived at the first lock, Bailly-Laurette, a few minutes early, so moored up to await the eclusier. An hour later he arrived, somewhat put out to find the third of our day’s setbacks. He discovered that there was no electricity to the lock mechanism. After a couple of phone calls he decided he would do what he could with the ‘emergency’ manual turning handle – which took ages and a lot of puff.
Consequently we were at Bailly-Laurette for almost three hours – long enough to photograph a selection of flowers around the lock;
and meet two sets of boaters waiting to go downstream. This meant that there would be no more locks that day and no reaching Cappy.
The superb result of this delay meant that the Captain recalculated our course and decided that we would heave to at Chipilly – an absolutely wonderfully quiet and peaceful mooring with nightingales singing all night (noisy incessant un-melodic little critters) .
Near WW1 memorials and sad, sad graveyards. (Over 1 million young men from both sides were wounded or killed in just 4 months at the battle of the Somme, after which the Allies front line had moved forwards 11 kilometers – to another position of stalemate . . . .)
It is also the place of choice for proud geese parents to take their young on evening promenades, but the very young are corralled for safety on the water.
And next day, on down the last stretch of the Somme towards Péronne and the scary scary Canal du Nord . . . .
We were accompanied by our eclusier from the day before, fortified and refreshed overnight by some beer we gave him! He stayed with us through two ‘point levis’ (lift bridges) and several locks.
At Froisssy we jumped ashore for half an hour to see Le Petit Train de Haute Somme – built to bring men and supplies to and from the front during WW1, then used by local farmers, and now a tourist attraction.
The neat Art Deco lock building at Cappy was an additional attraction.
Through the last lock, under the A1 …..
….. and then under the last rusty bridge of La Somme before bursting out onto the scary Canal du Nord, avoiding the first of many giant commercial barges and the shallows marked by a long row of red buoys to starboard.
Our second meeting with another boat in 4 weeks – actually, 2 x 40m fully loaded barges strapped together pushing about 6 knots; the ground rules have just changed . . . .
Just around the first bend we saw the entrance to the creek on our starboard bow that heralded our mooring at Peronne. Hooray – we had made it!
So far so good . . . . .