Sunday, 15 June 2014

Nantes-Brest Canal

While on holiday in southern Brittany, John and Sarah visited a few places along the route of the Nantes-Brest Canal, unfortunately without a boat on this occasion. The canal was built in the early 19th century and ran for 385 km from Brest in the west to Nantes on the River Loire.  Brittany is a fairly hilly region and 238 locks were required, which works out at an average of one lock per mile! Fortunately many of them had full-time lock-keepers. The canal used several stretches of river and only some parts of its total length are still navigable.
The first photo shows the two locks where the canal crosses the River Vilaine in the delightful small town of Redon.  The close-up of the lock gates shows the crank handle for opening and closing the gates.  
Getting a large cargo boat across the river and into the lock when it was flowing fast would have been a challenging task as the boats were a tight fit in the locks.  The next photo shows a couple of surviving working boats, although the canal is mainly given over to pleasure craft these days.
The final photo shows the canal at Blain, a few km east of Redon, with several smaller pleasure craft moored up at the old town quay.

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