Auxerre on the river Yonne

When we left Auxerre we left the Nivernais canal behind and joined the Yonne
 river fully. (although occasionally there are some short lateral canals) Almost
 immediately you notice that the locks have grown. Grown quite a bit really from 
38 metres long to just over 107 meters long. This is to cater for the barge

traffic 
and on our first day we met our first commercial traffic. It was in contrast to the 
Nivernais which is a sanctuary to pleasure boats with no commercial barges permitted
 to interrupt the scenery. Still they are not a problem and you generally just keep out
of their way.

A lock on the river Yonne
Barges entering a lock on the river Yonne

Commercial traffic gets priority at the locks too which is perfectly
understandable as after all they are here trying to deliver their cargo and earn a living, while we’re just pottering about.

Speaking of locks….the Yonne river seems to have a fondness of a peculiar invention
 called the ‘sloped lock’ This is a lock where the sides are inclined in such a fashion
as as to make it close to impossible to put a rope ashore and to insure you go aground on the side 
as soon as the water level starts to drop. I can see no logic in a Sloped lock.

Yonne floating jetty
Marion relaxing as the floating jetty in the lock does its thing.

They
 use more water than a conventional lock, and are notoriously difficult to use. Thankfully
 the V.N.F. have installed some floating jetties into these locks which alleviates 
most of the problems. Well it does at this time of year when the canal is quiet. But
 there is normally only enough floating jetty space for two boats…what happens in
 high season I have no idea.

off the Yonne in Villeneuve sur Yonne
The gate house at Villeneuve sur Yonne

Stopping off in the town of Villeneuve sur Yonne for a bit of sightseeing. The wonderful gatehouse is still an impressive sight.

Harry & Marion

“Driftwood”

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