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.
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