The continuation of our second day, Les Neuf Écluses de Fonserannes (The Nine locks of Fonserannes at Béziers), I was well awake by now for the major event of our trip.
The video opens with a view of the top eight locks, then cuts to our entry into the seventh lock via the opening that was created when the Pont Canal de l'Orb (which we crossed in part one) was opened in 1858, this made the eighth and ninth locks redundant, although they are still there.

This avoided the problems of crossing the river Orb which often had too much or too little water for the boats.
Although theoretically possible, you can longer navigate between the eighth and ninth locks, a road, has been built through the canal!

The seventh lock has become a basin where boats can moor to wait their turn to use the six remaining locks that lead to the Grand Bief (the long pound - 54kms of lock-free canal).

For this section of the video Malcolm Reynard had joined us, so we had two cameras running, the main one on the boat sets the overall length of this video, i.e. This video lasts the actual time that it took us to complete the ascent. Malcolm R's camera adds some additional views of us working the boat, and other features of the architecture of the structure.

We went up with one other boat and since he was first into the lock he went first all the way, this etiquette is normal.

We were on the left so had the chance to chat with the lockeeper, a very friendly lady who advised us on how to work with the ropes as we passed each set of lock-gates, (also to supply Malcolm R with a new set of batteries, for his camera which had lost power half-way up) and rested ashore, other than when we passed under the little footbridge. So Margie and I walked up the ancient stone steps and across the top of the lock-gate taking with us our respective lines and mooring the boat in each lock whilst we waited for it to be filled.

Descending the locks is much easier, but far less impressive since you do not see the huge fountain of water that opening the vanes in the lock-gates creates each time you mount to a new level.

The overall time was about thirty-eight minutes from entering the sixth lock until leaving the top, it is a pleasant time which allows you to chat with other boat users and be the centre of attention for the hundreds of people who visit, brought here by the fame of the structure that Pierre-Paul Riquet created, (he was born in Béziers).
Once arrived at the top basin we moored, and said our farewells to Malcolm R and Béziers before continuing on our way towards tonight's stopping place.

This text will re-start in a few moments.

The second day of our October 2014 canal trip from Port Cassafières, near the village of Portiragnes, to Trèbes. We were relocating a boat for the company, ready for the start of next year's season, so everything was fairly flexible, although we had only five days for the trip. The "Big One" - Les Neuf Écluses de Fonserannes at Béziers, well six really, you arrive directly into a basin that was the seventh lock, turn left and ascend the six locks still in use. to the right are the unused eighth and ninth locks.

We navigated six locks in this episode, 'the top six of the Nine locks of Fonserannes'.

Midi Canal index