Holland 2 - Drenthe to Friesland via the Turf Route

Our overnight stops in the small towns along the Drenthe Hoofvaart have been very pleasant, there is usually a small shop nearby, the moorings and water are free, but no power and there is usually a small toilet and shower block.

Today we left Dieverbrug and returned back along the canal to take the Turf Route going west once again. This canal winds its way through small villages where they dug peat in the early days so there are many small lakes and channels. It is one of the few routes where a charge is made of 15 euros which pays for all the small locks and road bridges through towns. Along the way there are many footbridges which have to be opened by the boat owners.

As soon as we turned off the main canal we were greeted by a splash of pink in the fields, I am not sure of what type of flowers they were.

Once again we are reminded of the different farming country in Holland, everthing grows so well, in this one photo we can see crops of flowers, corn, potatoes, sugar beet and a grain crop.

The lock is worked manually by the keeper and it looks hard work.

It is holiday time and the children are out making pocket money by opening the bridges to save the boaters doing it. Very grateful we are too it is .5 euro well spent.
Our first stop is Applescha and the town provides free mooring with coin slot power, they are setting up the market all along the canal on the opposite side to the boat moorings.

While walking through the markets we saw this bike trolley with a retracable front wheel which is used as a pram as well. We also saw another version with a centre wheel.

It was a special bike week in Applescha and we came across these women in costume riding the traditional grandmother bike. They reminded me of when I was a child and the dutch migrants arrived with their big black bikes. The dutch bicycle I took home last year is so comfortable to ride because I can sit up straight on it and the bags on the back are really handy for shopping. Once again I am going home with the resolution again of riding my bike to the shops instead of taking the car.

The children are still out opening bridges for us, this boy has his hat out and no others to have to share the money with. On asking about the bridges, as we thought of the problem for the towns if larrakins left them open, we were told that they are locked overnight and once unlocked in the morning anyone could open them and collect any fees the boaters might want to pay.

At the lock we were not sure if he needs to save water or is going for the record, 8 boats plus the rubber dinghy were squeezed in this small lock 29M long and 5.5M wide.
The area we are passing through is celebrating 700 years of farming.
At the intersection the turf route goes two ways we decided to take the Gorredijk direction.

Soon we came to a bridge with no children bridge openers, so being in front of a few boats Kevin hopped off walked across and opened the bridge, The dutch boats were very surprised that Kevin did not ask to get on the first boat and hop off onto our boat. Once all the boats had gone through I drove through to the next landing and waited for Kevin to close the bridge and we followed after the other boats. At the next bridge which had to be opened we were also very surprised, the first boat opened the bridge which opened the same side then got back on his boat, all the others drove through and left us to pull in and close it. They definitely don’t work on a helping your fellow traveller system here.
Donkerbroek a very small village was our next overnight stop. It has been quite hot especially in the afternoon and the free canalside mooring with water, toilet and showers was excellent with a beautiful line of bushy trees to give shade. The supermarket was a short walk away. We spent the afternoon up in the shade seen at the top left then down by the boat later, what a wonderful little place.

As we followed the boats through this bridge, this little fella broke the string on the clog he holds out just as were about to come through yelling out something in dutch which was probably “Oh! Oh! Wait till I tie it back on! “. We got close enough to give him his money. It is quite a good money spinner for the kids, with six boats he probably collected 3 euro.

People in Holland go to a lot of trouble to make pleasant surrounding outside their houses, we passed this little child statue on the tiny bridge in front of a home. I don’t think it would last long in the city or indeed anywhere in Aus.

As we approach Gorredijk the canal has become very narrow and winds through the fields we wondered if we had lost our way until we saw this little boat ahead and just around the corner we pass a new housing area built right on the water. It is always amazing where we find housing estates which seem out in the middle of nowhere but are connected by a road to the next town.

Next we go back into the wilderness and wonder if we have missed the turn until we see the small boat ahead again.

Finally we came to the last bridge into town. It was closed and we were wondering which protocol we would be using this time. A couple of teenage guys crossed over the bridge and walked on, so the lady in the boat in front was just getting off when a young girl who was just going to cross over also, saw the boats and ran back to open the bridge and make a euro before continuing on.

Gorredijk is a typical town with the houses and shops along each side of the canal. There area lovely canalside moorings alongside a park then it is through the shops and restaurants and out the other end.

Our next stop is Oldeboam, it is hot and we have had the roof back, after tying up on a lovely canalside mooring Kevin decided to go for a swim. Thankfully there is a ladder on the side of the canal so I had a lovely refreshing swim also.

You may have noticed in the photo above the tilt on the church tower, the view at night is magic.

Our mooring is right in town just before the three old cast- iron bridges across the canal and in the morning we pass through these with the bridge keeper riding his bicycle ahead to open each one.

From Aldeboam we leave the small canals and reach Akkrum, we wait two turns at the turning railway bridge, it is the end of Sneek Week Yacht Racing and it is very crowded on the water, quite a shock after being in the quiet of the Turf route.

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