Canals: Day 1
At Delzjil we moored in the marina and walked into town for a well-deserved cafe lunch. After buying more petrol we locked into the canal system and spent a relaxing afternoon motoring along the nearly-deserted canals from Delfzjil to Groningen. We arrived just as the bridge-keepers were about to finish work so we moored at the “Motor Yacht Club” for the night.
We walked into the town centre and found supper and great ice cream, but got completely soaked by a biblical rain shower just as we were almost back at the boat.
Canals: Day 2
In the morning we trundled through Groningen’s 15 lifting bridges surprisingly smoothly and chugged along the canals all day. Near Lauwersoog, the canal briefly joins the Lauwersmeer. This used to be an estuary, but is now dammed off from the sea and is a non-tidal lake. We arrived down one tributary, turned left and headed up another one. We were now retracing the route which we had taken last year, which was nice.
We managed an hour or so of actual sailing at this point – the winds were light but it made a lovely change from having the motor on. We ran aground for a moment on one of the corners of the channel but fortunately managed not to get too stuck.
After locking back into the canal system we went a bit further before mooring at the canal equivalent of a layby for the night because the bridge keepers were about to finish work for the day. This was a patch of mown grass with mooring bollards, in the middle of nowhere somewhere near “Ee”. It was very peaceful.
Canals: Day 3
We motored on and on along the canals, through small towns and various lifting bridges. We stopped in Dokkum for lunch – we had no choice because the bridge keepers were on their lunch break. After running around trying to moor in the normal mooring slots, we header over to the designated “deep draft yacht” area, not something we normally consider Lizzie to be!
After lunch we pushed on to arrive just outside Leeuwarden just as the ring-road bridge stopped lifting because of the evening rush hour. We moored up at another layby for a couple of hours until the bridges started working again and then moored up in the park in Leeuwarden very close to our mooring from last year – though this time we managed to choose a spot without any overhanging trees to ensnare the mast, and didn’t run aground.
After a slick mooring operation we headed into town to our favourite restaurant from last year’s visit. This time the menu was slightly uninspiring but the food itself was really good!