I love a bit of sloshy research!
So, given the extent of Europe's waterways, I realised there must be several I haven't heard of as well as not seen, so I started investigating and sure enough, there is a wealth of watery wonders out there for me to share with you. Thus, my friends, a new list is born.
The photos below are not my own (for obvious reasons), and I've taken them off the Internet. So I have acknowledged the sources that were there (I don't want to be a photo thief after all), but it's not always possible to find the actual authors. My apologies in advance if I am not giving you proper recognition.
All that being said, then, here are some more of the Watery Wonders of the European systems in no particular order:
1. The remarkable inclined plane of St-Louis-Arzviller on the Canal Marne-Rhine at Arzviller in France. Here barges sit in a bath that straddles the plane. It covers a horizontal distance of 108 metres and rises 44,5 metres. In July this year, there was an accident during which the 'bath' holding the boats moved when a boat was entering it and the boat got jammed. Apparently it was estimated at the time that it would be several months before it opened again, so I don't know what the current situation is.
2. The beautiful aqueduct complete with almost ceremonial entrance on the Canal de Briare, also in France. This is a very famous aqueduct because of its elegance and also (I suppose) because it crosses the equally famous Loire river. You can just imagine cruising gently across here can't you - just too beautiful.
|Taken from: http://www.cruisefrance.com/burgundy-west/boat-holidays.htm|
3. Then there is the astonishing inclined plane on the Elblag canal in Poland. There are actually four of them (planes, that is) and at each rise, the boats are trundled up hills on rather rickety looking trolleys out of the water. The planes are approximately 240 metres long and rise between 20 and 25 metres. There are several YouTube films of this system available, and quite honestly the trolleys look far too fragile to me, but it's fascinating to watch them.
|Source: Piotr VaGla Waglowski http://www.vagla.pl|
4. The magnficent boat lift of La Fontinette at Arques (again in France) is next. This was designed by the same engineer who was responsible for the Anderton Lift in England and the four lifts at La Louvière in Belgium. Sadly, this photo isn't all that impressive, but I couldn't find a better one without using someone's personal blog photos. If I find one, I'll replace it.
5. And lastly (for the time being), there is the almost bizarre inclined plane at Montech on the Canal du Midi in southern France. This is really something. It involves two locomotives (of a sort, although they have wheels that are more fitting to a tractor). These locos push a boat up the plane in a of wedge of water in front of a watertight gate or scoop. The three photos below are from Wikipedia by Bertrand Bouret, and the diagram is by Koos Fernhout. See here for a fuller expanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montech_water_slope
|The scoop that pushes the water and boats up the plane|
|the two locomotives that do the pushing (see the boat in the basin)|
|The plane itself|
|Koos's brilliant diagram of how Montech works!|
Well, I've found this quite fascinating, so I hope you find it interesting too. I'll keep on searching for some more watery wonders, as I'm sure there are still others to be found. Let me know if you know of any more that I might not have discovered...I haven't even looked at Germany yet!