We have arrived on the Somme
This was our first aim when we left Decize back in early April, to visit the Somme on the 100 year anniversary of the ‘Grande Guerre’ (The Great War). The reason for the journey was to remember the sacrifice of so many young men on both sides of the conflict and to enjoy the beautiful countryside of Picardy and the Somme canal.
We left Sillery and our new found friends Henry and Bernadette off the beautiful boat Dagens2; we shared some good times with them whilst we were at Sillery for the week. Sillery is in our top 5 ports on the French canal system.
The journey from Sillery to the Somme is on commercial canals with large peniches large locks and very few leisure boats, and consequently few leisure boats halts, but we planned the route well and found good stops when needed.
A quite overnight stopping place
I thought we would be stuck here for a while but managed to squeak past..just. Nice considerate VNF workman
Gladys does not bark, but she made an exception when she saw this model of a gun dog and prey in a garden by a lock on the Canal Nord
We stopped at Peronne at the start of the Somme and visited the famous town for the afternoon. Peronne was a major centre of conflict particularly in 1916 when the battle of the Somme was at its zenith and later in 1918 when it was razed to the ground by retreating German forces, the town was rebuilt in the 1930’s and now has a very attractive centre and an historic war museum.
Our arrival on the canal du Somme was greeted by the first lock being out of action. A couple of phone calls to VNF who only run the first lock finally produced some action, but the delay did allow some deep breaths and a relaxed attitude to sweep over the body and mind.
By the time we got to first lifting bridge and were taken over by the itinerant from the PCE (Poste Central exploitation) who operate all the structures on the canal du Somme, locks and lifting bridges as you pass through. Such as change from the commercial canals we just left, like something from a distant past waterways era. That’s one reason why the Somme is such a wonderful boating experience.
This post was written by Terry Barrett
Photographs by Tes