Our second day through the canals got has got us to Leeuwarden – European Capital of Culture 2018. Moored in the town centre along a grassy bank with trees coming down to the water (more on those later) and views of the great church, it does feel like it deserves the accolade somewhat more than Hull last year.
Lizzie’s mooring spot:
The main downside to the town was the 10 bridges that you had to wait to open as you went through it – two of which were major railway bridges. We seemed pretty lucky though, not waiting for more than 15 minutes anywhere, and mostly following a german yacht through. Most canal bridges are operated free of charge it seems but in towns where there are lots you have to pay a small amount of brugge geld. In Leeuwarden this is done at one of the central bridges, where – i kid you not – the bridge keeper dangles a wooden clog out of the window on a fishing rod and you put the money in the clog! Awesome!! sorry for lack of photo – I was too busy trying to catch the clog.
We’d read up that you could moor alongside a park in the town centre and Skip liked the sound of that, so we found an empty spot on the west bank and went to go alongside, with me reassuring tom, totally incorrectly, that the trees weren’t really overhanging. As the leafy boughs gently clad Lizzie’s mast in foliage, we ground to halt some meter or so from the bank. We were in fact aground as well as tree bound. Oops. Tip for anyone who happens to try and moor a boat in Leeuwarden canal – try the east bank!!
In theory, the standing mast route is okay for boats with up to 2m draught – and Lizzie is more like 1.2m, so we wondered how often this must happen to bigger/deeper boats! In fact we were able to fairly easily walk her forwards and out of both the trees and mud bank that she’d stuck on until she was a floating free again.