‘O I do like to be beside the seaside’ – Baie de Somme –July 20

It is very rare on French waterways that you get to the coast but the treasure at the end of the Somme canal is the outstanding bay (Baie) de Somme that has world heritage status, and you can see why. It is a true delight and the town of St Valery for me was reminiscent of the Cornish town of St Ives.



On the way there we encountered our first grid lock when we stopped before a lock for the lunch time stoppage.  All very friendly and everyone breasted up and shared waterway tales, the locks are small on the canal du Somme so it was a bit of a logistic conundrum when the lock reopened after lunch but everybody got through and on their way in good order.



The last leg of the canal is a straight 14k section for Abbeville to St Valery, no locks after you pass through the Abbeville lock but a series of swing bridges operated by 2 itinerant lock-keepers very efficient and because we were going with the flow we easily did the trip in 2 hours.


The moorings for canal boats is a long pontoon just before the sea lock, it is possible to go through the sea lock and moor at the yacht harbour on the other side, but there are 10 meter tides on the tidal side so we decided to stay on the non-tidal freshwater side and spent a very happy week there.





If you  are in the mood nothing beats a tray of oysters and a glass of very cold white wine.

We walked a lot, eat out more than usual and even went on a train ride around the Bay on the restored ‘Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme’ basically a fabulous little steam train that takes holiday makers on trips around the bay. SAM_2921SAM_2924

The other end of the short train ride  is the seaside town of  Le Crotoy,  just the biggest beach with the tide out. SAM_2998

On the way back on the train we passed another train going in the opposite direction and I had to take this picture of true diversity eat your heart out  NigelFarage.


A west African, a startling redhead, a Caribbean child a french lad and a southern European boy, all having a great time,  I love this country.

We left St Valery yesterday and Now at Abbeville restocking the boat for the trip back up the Somme and the long way to our  home port.

This post was written by Terry Barrett

Photographs by Tes


  • Kath Bailey

    Hi Terry . I need to remind you that you can see sights of multinational kids enjoying life together all over the UK indeed all over the world. . It’s only “grown ups” that teach values. Look in inner City France you’ll find the same problems as here. It isn’t all idyllic. The pictures are nice. Easy to edit in the mind.

  • Terry Barrett

    Yes of course you do, and I am not being too sentimental, it was just a flash moment in a passing train and I liked it a lot. Kids enjoying other kids without any thought of race, creed or colour.

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