Canal Marne-Saone in 1976 – video

A fascinating voyage through the Canal de la Marne a la Saone (Entre Champagne et Bourgogne, the ‘Heuilly’) in 1975 on the peniche ‘Beecliffe’. Super 8 film transferred to VHS and then digital, so the quality is not perfect, but . . .

From today’s perspective the canal scenery is relatively unchanged. What is noticeably different, 38 years on (Oh, youth!), is the number of commercial peniches to be seen. Now there are just some, a few, which is beneficial because they help maintain the canal depth. And of course, the ecluses are no longer hand-wound, nor are there eclusiers at each one.

One thought on “Canal Marne-Saone in 1976 – video

  1. John Liley, doyen of the early pleasure barge pioneers and of the hotel barge Luciole, writes . .
    ” . . I am not on board, or on the bank, although I can identify with the spirit of their journey. I met one or two of those involved, briefly, and at a very drunken party, at around that time. But I do not really know them, save Hugh Potter, who was on the fringes of the group, and was also editor of ‘Waterways World’. It is his baby daughter who is shown at the end, and credited as producer! I expect they put my own name on, following publication of France – the Quiet Way, which may have motivated the group (which was a kind of co-operative) to set out and do the same kind of thing.

    The film certainly took me back to the times of significant quantities of freight on the waterways. This was the very reason I was so attracted to canals, first of all in England, later in mainland Europe – the feeling of visiting a separate world. I loved it, and find it very hard to identify with the Theme Park mentality now surrounding much of the English system. As to the Canal du Nivernais, I long to seeing grain barges on it again, however varied (and sometimes unsociable) those on board might be. A real world, rather than a pretend one.

    I cling to the notion of freight reappearing on the Nivernais and upper Bourgogne one day. It is edging its way back up the Yonne, very slowly, and the new kilometrage charge on lorries in France could provide a boost. But I seem to be in a very small minority holding out such hopes. . . “