Cambrai – 2nd to 4th July

What a fabulous spot Cambrai is. It is a large harbour just off the main canal and the start of the Canal de St Quentin. You can get water, electricity and more importantly shade!

Having got the scooter off the platform we were able to set about painting the scaffold poles that provide the framework and the “modesty skirt” that Gary built around the platform base to hide most of the frame. It looks great – thanks Gary!!

Painted platform

On Tuesday we went into town for lunch and were lucky to find a great place in the main square. We both had steak and chips with pepper sauce….yum! We also did a bit of sightseeing and enjoyed the quarter-hourly chime from the clock at the top of the Hotel de Ville (not a hotel, but the home of the Mayor (Mairie)) as well as a visit to the Cathedral – beautiful!

The clock at the Hotel de Ville

The boys have had a great time using the ramp for swimming – not to mention meeting all the other local pooches that came to cool off in the canal. It was 35 degrees yesterday in town – not sure what it is today (Wednesday) but it is a little more overcast. That said, it is still 28 degrees inside the boat – which, according to one of our fellow boaters is something to be envied as theirs is reading 35 degrees!!

We left Cambrai at 09:30 this morning having topped up the fuel and water tanks. We were surprised to find that we had only used 250 litres of fuel since we left Maldon! About ¼ of our total fuel capacity so we think we will be fine for getting to Diou without too much trouble.

The St Quentin canal is not as pretty as we’d hoped and opportunities for mooring are limited. There are 29kms between Cambrai and the Grand Souterraine (the big tunnel) which is 5.67kms long and you get towed through by an electric barge using a chain laid on the canal bed. It takes 2 hours and apparently it’s fine if you keep your helm dead centre and don’t panic……if you panic you’ll bounce from one wall to the other for 5.67 clicks!!

We had aimed to do about 10 locks and 15km today but ended up moored between lock 13 and 14 at 17:30 with only about 9kms to go to the tunnel. We came to this mooring to get some shade from the afternoon sun, but as we sat in the cool of the trees we could hear a storm gathering in the distance but getting closer. Before you know it, it’s blowing a hooley and raining with the thunder rumbling constantly. We were hoping it would pass overhead but the worst of it left to the south of us. The dogs loved the respite from the heat – to be fair we all did!!

We are booked to go through the tunnel on Friday morning so hopefully we will have a relaxed and quiet day tomorrow.

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