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Slauerhoffbrug in Friesland – Netherlands

To go to previous part click here or to go back to the beginning of the trip click here
This leg of the trip took 2 days, with another of our favourite stops in the wild, on the Pikmeer.

A total of 42 kilometres, with 14 bridges, 1 stop lock (open), and crossing 3 akwadukts (aquaducts), going via Grou, Pikmeer, Akkrum and Sneekermeer.

We set out about 09.30, tucking in behind a large traditional Dutch sailing barge, along the Harlingenvaart canal. After passing under four bridges, we were clear of the Leeuwarden area.

Crossing Langdeel akwadukt

The last of these four bridges was the Slauerhoffbrug (see pic 1), one of the newest and strangest looking bridges we had seen. I think it had replaced 2 bridges, a road bridge and a rail bridge, now combined into one.

Shortly after, we joined the Van Harinxma Kanaal, turning south while the large barge carried on straight towards the west and Harlingen where she would leave the canal system and head into the North Sea.
The Netherlands comprises several provinces, each with their own different dialect of the Dutch language.

Wild mooring on the Pikmeer

The dialect of Friesland was probably the strangest, yet where they seemed to understand our South African Afrikaans quite well. This is also the only province where the spelling of place names is very different, each place having a usual Dutch spelling as well as a Friese spelling.

Some examples, the Friese spelling being in brackets –
Leeuwarden (Ljouwert), Harlingen (Harns), Grou (Grouw), Joure (De Jouwer), Sneek (Snits), Sneekermeer (Snitser Mar) and Pikmeer (Pikmar) to name but a few.

One of many sailing school boats

To get back to the trip – at the next bridge, the HRM and Zwettebrug, we had a half hour or so delay. There was some construction work being done at the bridge, and although nothing was actually happening, the control lights were very red. We and 2 other boats were waiting, which was quite tricky as there was no place to tie up, and it was rather windy – a stiff force 4 North Westerly blowing.
A construction boat went through, ignoring the lights, and a pleasure boat came from the other direction also ignoring the lights.

Eventually the three of us carried on through, and nobody complained.

Railway swing bridge at Akkrum

A bit about windy conditions. As well as Shangri La handles in calm conditions, the large bimini and sun awning over the back deck make her very hard to handle in anything over a force 2, particularly for manouevring or berthing. The awning can be lowered, but we have not yet got the hang of doing it quickly, or on the spur of the moment.

We passed the little town of Grou, joining the Prinses Margriet kanaal for a few hundred metres or so before branching off again into the Pikmeer, where we found one of our favourite wild moorings.

Motoring through Akkrum

This one consisted of a number of narrow wooden jetties on an island in the middle of the Pikmeer.

Another popular one – when we arrived there was plenty of space to tie up, but within a couple of hours, it was pretty full.

Although Karen has driven Shangri La quite a few times while underway, she has yet to handle her into and out of moorings.

Large barge traffic on the Prinses Margriet Kanaal

This would have been a good spot for her to start practising, except it was still far to windy, and even I struggled a bit to get alongside as the wind was blowing off the quay. With judicious use of a spring line, and helped by another boater on the jetty, we moored up okay.

Next morning we carried on in a general south westerly direction, through another picturesque little town of Akkrum, joining the Prinses Magriet Kanaal again, through the large Schutsluis, and across the Sneekermeer.

Section of the chart showing the route to Sneek

So glad we have avoided this main thoroughfare for most of the way – this little section was extremely busy with more huge cargo barges.

About 11.45 we turned off this main canal towards Sneek, and by 12.20 we were moored up at the public town berths.

The last picture shows a section of the chart, with our route marked by a heavy black line.

Next week – Our time in Sneek.
(to go there now click here )

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