Canal du Midi, May 2001

Here are a few pictures of our trip on the Canal du Midi with John and Jackie on their yatch Eleonora. Eleonora, a Westerly Falcon, had already had her mast removed so that she could get under the bridges, but her 1.5m keel caused some problems.

NB. Click on any picture to enlarge it

Eleonora at Agde, where Isabel and I joined the crew

The canal was very beautiful - here the plane trees looked healthy enough , but a few miles on, and for the rest of our journey, they looked very sick - see below*



The locks all have curved walls

The double locks were formidable - note the open middle gate!

  We went firmly aground below Fonserannes locks when the water level in our pound fell. We only got off again when the deep locks at Béziers closed for the night allowing the water level to rise once more.

Moored and floating

Aground and tilted



Next day we had to wait for an enormous commercial boat to go up before we finally got into the bottom of the 5 lock staircase.



In all it took us 22 hours to get through Fonserannes.


At the top looking back towards Bezier.

Below Puicheric lock we tried to winch the boat off the bottom of the canal.

Note how sick the trees look*


Isabel's knot!

   but settled for some gin and a night aground instead

Next morning Benson Kirby kindly pulled us off



  We stopped at Carcassonne and visited la cité

I read Chocolat while the others walked the ramparts

  Then on to Castelnaudary. The St Roch locks here were fantastic. They were 4 in a staircase, electrically operated , and controlled by one man sitting in a yellow building. There were 2 pairs of gates wide open as it filled the bottom lock!




on the summit pound


  Jackie and John

  John and Isabel

 Isabel sits by la rigole





in memory of Pierre Paul Riquet

*Note how sick the plane trees look. This is probably due to Anthracnose, a disease caused by the fungus, Gnomonia platani. tells us: Symptoms appear as large, brown patches that develop along veins or at leaf margins as the leaves expand in spring. This often results in extensive tattering and distortion and severely infected leaves drop prematurely. The fungus can also cause a blighting and dieback of tender shoots which can result in deformity. Near to complete refoliation usually occurs and trees seem to survive these yearly infections.






First mate ready for the first down lock

  The Admiral in control

and so on to Toulouse. Then home via Montpelier, Lille and Eurostar to Waterloo. A fantastic holiday!

If you want to read more about this fantastic canal get hold of a copy of From Sea To Sea by LTC Rolt, published by Euromapping, 12 avenuue de Grenoble, 38170 SEYSSINET, France; ISBN 2-91`0185-02-8, or visit this excellent website by James McDonald,