Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Last of the Magnificent Moorings

I've been sifting through my photos again to find more of our favourite moorings, and I think this is the final selection. We stayed at so many places, and most of them were great, but the ones I've shown you were special for a number of different reasons. Here are the last of my special favourites.

Douai halte nautique in the town

Douai: we've been there three times now and enjoyed each visit. Because the Hennie H is only fifteen metres, we can go right to the halte nautique in the town and from there it's a ten minute walk to the old centre with all its charm and history. The moorings have bollards on the wall, electricity (if you have the VNF key) and water too. We stayed there both going south and returning north. It's a great spot; there are always people to talk to; the city is close; it's peaceful at night and there's a big shopping centre just by the bridge going out of town.


This next spot is Courcelles, which was quite a discovery. It used to be run by the local mairie and had its own capitainerie, but when the mayor changed, interest in the marina dropped away. When we arrived, we were welcomed in, shown where the water, electricity and showers were and then told it was all free, bar the showers (50c a go). I don't know how long this will last, but it's a very nice place to relax and spend a few days. There is an E. Leclerc supermarket fifteen minutes walk from the harbour. Anyone going there would need to ask directions, but on a bike, it's even less than ten minutes, so easy for shopping.

Brébiere on the Scarpe

This photo is at Brebière on the Scarpe. I can't tell you how much I loved it there. There was nothing at all and we had to search for the bollards below the signs, but it was just too gorgeous. The scenery, the sunshine, just everything was lovely, especially the clarity of the water. One of those very special spots. 

The morning we left (for the second time), we decided to clean the mooring sign. It was so grubby. I also painted the bollard white so more people would see it.

Anywhere on the Canal de Saint Quentin will do
I'm cheating again with this one. It's the Hennie H on the Canal de Saint Quentin, and in principle, the whole of this canal is perfect for moorings. Again, there are no services, but if you are self sufficient, you can moor up in any of a large number of spots. We noticed they'd been doing a lot of work on moorings and on the banks with new rubber sidings along the waiting areas by the locks. We wondered why they were working so hard on it, but whatever the reason, it's great to see this canal is not being allowed to deteriorate. It is absolutely my favourite arterial waterway and I just love it. The locks are easy to operate (just as well - there a lot of them) and apart from the long tunnel, the entire 90 kilometre length of it from Cambrai to Chauny is a joy.

Séreaucourt le Grand on the Canal de Saint Quentin

This is a particularly idyllic mooring on the the Canal de Saint Quentin. Séreaucourt le Grand is in a side arm just a bit south of St Quentin itself. There's water, electricity and a shower if you can raise the harbour master. We couldn't until the next day but by then it was too late for us. There's a restaurant, a supermarket and several beautiful ponds next to the Somme river, which is here too. It runs close to the canal and even crosses beneath it a few kilometres from Séreaucourt before it branches off at St Simon. This is one of those places I could have stayed a while. It gave me a wonderfully restful feeling.

Chauny - free mooring, but there is a marina
Our place at Chauny above was not the most beautiful of moorings, but the town of Chauny was the biggest surprise of our trip. I was expecting a run down dreary place, but it was lovely: alive, bustling and colourful. There were flowers on every lamp post and the whole place had a vivid, vibrant feel that made you want to park up and stay there. For those who like more comfort, though, there is a marina with full services, so highly recommended as a stop over.

Pont L'Evêque 
Now here was another surprise. Pont L'Evêque, which is at the point where the Canal Latéral à L'Oise joins the Canal du Nord. The entrance to the harbour is through the bridge you can see in the photo above. It looks as if it is a no entry area, but that is misleading. There are moorings with electricity and water, which you pay for at a machine up the road in front of the post office. Pont L'Evêque is such a nice place and the harbour area is wonderful with pretty quayside houses and a working shipyard to keep the Koos and Vals of this world entertained. We loved it and spent two days there.

The Canal du Nord just outside Péronne
 Last but absolutely not least, was this mooring on the Canal du Nord just north of Péronne a hundred metres or so before the turning into the Canal de la Somme. This was another spot where we just tied up to some bollards on the canal side so we could stop for the night. The bollards were a bit far apart for us; they were designed for commercial barges, but we managed with a rope and anchor as a spring to stop us being pulled out too much by passing commercials. Why was it special then? It was so incredibly peaceful. Once the locks had closed for the night, there was simply nothing to disturb the quiet and as darkness descended, I even heard an owl in the woods. We went for the most wonderful walk and felt we had to whisper so as not to break the silence. Just magical.

So that's it. I've already given you the special mooring on the Canal de Roubaix and as I've said, nearly everywhere we stopped was great. We didn't have one mooring where we were bothered by anyone or unhappy, so it was hard to choose the favourites, but I think I have pinpointed the really special places now.

It's back to teaching for me this week and the weather is cooling down dramatically, so I hope you are all enjoying the early autumn weather. Have a good week allemaal. 


  1. What a charming post Val, thank you for taking us on your travels with you, your beautiful descriptions give off a serene and inviting parallel world, lovely xx

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about it, Angela. It's great to know non boaters can appreciate it too :) xx

  2. Hi Val - wonderful you can find so many interesting moorings and gain access to the old towns, or tow paths ... seem to find electricity etc fairly easily ... and have peace and quiet - looks amazing ... good luck with being back teaching - cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you so much, Hilary. We had great fun looking for places to stop. Sometimes we had to take pot luck, but that often gave us the most memorable moorings.

  3. Fabulous memories...

  4. Vey public spirited of you and Koos to clean the sign and repaint the bollard!

  5. Yesterday I was on the autoroute again and passed over the Somme canal, Canal du nord and the st Quentin. Each time I had a quick look and thought of you both on these canals. Thanks so much Val and Koos for sharing your wonderful adventures with us.

    1. What a lovely comment, Colin. I'm so glad we captured your interest in this way. I hope you'll be ble to do the same faring one of these days!


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