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Canoeing past Dampierre

June 3, 2017

On the river Loire


Having negotiated Belleville (click here) , I relaxed about Dampierre – until I neared it.  The power station and water inflow are on the right bank, and the portage on the left, so we hugged the left bank.  The trouble is that if you do that, the portage is invisible, until you’re right on top of the weir. So when the sign on the bank indicated “portage here” I panicked. Thinking they meant “right here”, I landed and scrambled through a nettle bed and brambles to reach the path. I’d pulled up too soon.

Keep your nerve and paddle on. At normal water levels the landing is easy and safe, albeit adjacent to the weir.


Easy portage. Relaunch from a sandy beach. To be honest the weir is shootable, but not by me in an overloaded open canoe without buoyancy.

No need for canoeists to fear Dampierre.

The power station’s four 1000 MW nuclear reactors were completed in 1980, seven years before Belleville came on stream. As a result the surrounding trees are much taller and only the cooling towers and some power lines are visible from the river. I think it’s coincidental that Dampierre’s four reactors have four cooling towers while Belleville’s two, also have one each.

Jim Thornton

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