Monday, 24 April 2017

Canal du Centre -Paray Le Monial/Blanzy/St Ledger sur Dheune/Santenay/Fragnes

Tuesday 18th April
40.5km/8 hours/16 locks (no stop for lunch)
Paray le Monial PK 102 to Blanzy PK 61.5

We had an epic day today, a really long, tiring day but we were pleased to find a space for us at Blanzy.  The boulangerie we normally go to at Blanzy had closed down but there was another one over the bridge.  We bought a baguette, plus some chocolate mousse cakes, and they were delicious.

I'm pleased I had a warm hat and gloves to wear, it was freezing!

I love the Herons that we see along the way

Wednesday 19th April
Blanzy PK 61.5 to St Ledger-sur-Dheune PK33
32km/26 locks/7.5hrs (no stop for lunch)

When we woke up this morning there was ice on the the roof.  It was a lovely sunny day again but there was a very strong, cold wind that persisted throughout the day.

It was a lot of locks to do in one day, we had a lock keeper with us for some of them.  We had 7 locks going up and then 19 locks going down.  Some of the down locks are deep ones, 5m, but are easy as they have floating bollards.

We were really tired when we got to St Ledger but we were pleased to find mooring near the hire boat centre, a very nice mooring.

Thursday 20th April 
St Ledger PK 33 to Santenay PK25.5
8km/4 locks/2hrs

It was quite noisy when we were in bed during the night with the shlip shlopping of the water against the bow of Rangali, due to the wind whipping up the water.

It was another very cold day, and really windy which made getting into the locks a bit tricky and really cold.  So we were really pleased to be having a short days travel, as it was way too cold.

We really like the mooring at Santenay, so we stayed two nights.

Our view from the galley window...perfect!
We walked into Santenay for lunch at Le Terroir, highly recommended 

So many wine growers in Santenay

Still one of our favourite moorings even though we can't get a tv signal

Saturday 22nd April
SantenayPK25.3 to Fragnes PK8
27km/11 locks/4hrs 20mins

We left our mooring at 8.20am and got to the first lock just after 9am.  As we were in the shade, and it got cold again last night, the wheelhouse was freezing first thing.  Luckily it soon warmed up once we got going.

Remigny a small town between Santenay and Chagnuy
it over looks all the vineyards on the hill, a really beautiful spot
There was a small cruiser already in the first lock and it was going down but the lock keeper must have told them that they would have to share the rest of the locks with us because they were waiting for us at the next lock.  Our lock keeper took us al the way to Fragnes, he was so helpful with the ropes, pulling the blue cord to activate the lock, etc.  He was so smiley too, which makes such a difference.

We felt sorry for this cruiser as it had to wait for us at each lock
Floating bollads - One of these caught me out a few days ago.  Just when the lock had almost finished emptying, my rope got caught, by mistake, on the t piece on my centre bollard and as the floating bollards float pretty high at the bottom of the lock we had to cut the rope to free it up, luckily Kev could cut it right near the end, so the rope is still useable 

Rully Chateau in the distance

There was lots of space at Fragnes and we decided to stay for two nights.  Unfortunately the restaurant was closed until 2nd May.  It was closed two years ago in August when were last here, we're not very lucky.

Fragnes, a very nice mooring with a very friendly Captainaire

Sunday, 16 April 2017

2017 A new Cruising year- Roanne/Chambilly/Digoin/Paray le Monial Canal Roanne a Digoin and Canal du Centre

I hopefully will do a better job than last year on our blog, so here goes! 

Friday 14th April 2017
Good Friday
Roanne PK0 to Chambilly PK33
33km/5hrs 30mins/6 locks

We left Roanne, for the start of this years cruise.  We came back to the boat for a week in March and de-winterised Rangali.  We enjoyed amazing weather for that week and we thoroughly enjoyed being back on board.  We had to return to the UK for various reasons and we finally came back to Roanne last Wednesday.  Back to some more glorious weather, we've been very lucky.  Let's hope that's how the summer will pan out for us. Famous last words!

We are aiming to get to St Jean de Losne for the Salon Fluvial, where our Piper Boat builder is having a Piper Rally/gathering, which is the last weekend in April.  We have one small problem, a deep lock (7.2m deep) called Bourg Le Comte, is being renovated and is behind schedule. We drove to see the lock last week and there was no sign of the new gates, and there seemed to be a lot of work still to do to get it operational.  

We left Roanne this morning, after speaking to Hervé, the captianaire, who said the VNF hoped the lock would be open sometime this Saturday/Sunday/Monday.  So we set off today (Friday) at 10.30am and arrived at Chambilly at 4pm.  Our next lock is Bourg Le Comte, so we can go no further.  This evening walked to the lock (a 5 mile round trip) to have a nosey, they were still working at 6.30pm.  The lock gates are there, and fitted and we were told it 'could' be open tomorrow, (Saturday), at some point, so fingers crossed, as we don't want to be rushing to get to St Jean de Losne.  

Leaving Port of Roanne

We really enjoyed our long cruise to Chambilly.  It was another beautiful day, Spring was in the air, lots of birds singing, new leaves sprouting on the trees, wild flowers everywhere; we spotted a few Stork circling up high, and one sitting on a nest, Black Kites, Heron, a Red Squirrel, we heard Woodpeckers pecking and so on and so on.  All our locks are all down, so all very easy.  

Our mooring at Chambilly

We walked to Bourg le Comte Lock to see how the work was progressing

New Lock gates

You can just see an engineer walking at the bottom of the lock, it shows how deep it is  - 7.2m

Saturday 15th April
Chambilly to Digoin
26km/5hrs 30mins/5 locks

We set off from Chambilly at 12.30pm after seeing a small cruiser arrive and moor up at Chambilly, so we knew the Bourg lock was now open.  Another barge (Vagabond) moored at Chambilly went ahead of us, and we finally got through the big lock by 2pm.  We had another good cruise, but a long one and we moored up at Digoin at 6pm at the Halte Nautique.  No one was there to take any money so we moored for free.  It turned very chilly in the afternoon, so warm weather gear was required.

Danton Peniche returning to Roanne, they've stopped for lunch after going through the Bourg lock
We were pleased to see them moored up as we had heard they were somewhere along the canal
and we didn't fancy meeting it along the way

There is some finishing off to do at the lock but we were very surprised it opened today after seeing it yesterday evening

Spanking new lock gates at both ends of the lock

We caught up with Barge Vagabond waiting for a hire boat to exit the next lock (over 2 hours after leaving Bourg lock)

Look of terror on the hire boaters faces as we slowly come towards them, coming off the Digoin Aqueduct.
They will have only just picked up their boats 1km away, it was quite windy so quite difficult for them

Sunday 16th April
Easter Sunday
12km/2hrs 30mins/3 locks

We woke up to a rainy, chilly day, so wet weather gear for me!  But we had a good trip to Paray-le-Monial and we were happy to find plenty of space on the quay.  We are staying here two nights to be able to give Rangali a good wash on Monday.  We had a barge moored alongside us over the winter at Roanne, so we couldn’t give that side of the barge a good clean when we washed her down in March.  We had a lovely pizza in a local restaurant for lunch and then Kev was happy to come back to the boat to watch F1 race, I had a snooze on the sofa, red wine for lunch is not a good thing!  Its now a sunny evening, but with black clouds looming.  the forecast is quite good for the rest of the week, but its going to be quite cold, especially at night, some nights its forecast to be minus 1.

Micmac another Piper Barge we will be meeting at the Rally and no doubt along the way

This is near where we are moored, Wysteria, one of my favourite flowers, a very impressive example 
I wish I could include the aroma from this, it smelt wonderful

As close as we could get to the electric and water!!
Busy day cleaning tomorrow

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Canal Lateral continued; Menetreol sous Sancerre/Lere/Sury-pres Lere/Chatillion sur Loire/Briare

Canal Lateral á Loire continued; Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre/Lere/Sury-pres Lere/Chatillion sur Loire/Briare

Saturday 13th August

We stayed the weekend at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  It is a busy little mooring. We did have a group of young fishermen who turned up early evening, every evening and fished right by our stern, or more to the point fishing under our stern, hitting our boat occasionally with their weights and hooks which was rather annoying.

We decided to walk to Sancerre from the port.  Its not that far but it was a very hot day, and all up hill so we took it slowly.  The town was very busy as it was a holiday weekend.  We bought some wine from our favourite Sancerre wine producer, Vacheron and we arranged for it to be delivered to the boat later that evening.

A hot walk up the hill to Sancerre but the views of the vineyards was worth it.

The view from the hill at Sancerre

We had a great evening at the hotel restaurant joining in on the festivities.  There was a set menu for the dinner, all very nice, a disco played down the street near to where we were seated for our meal, luckily the music only got loud when the meal was finished.  There was a candlelit procession through the town with mainly young children followed by a very good firework display.

Hotel Le Floretine- just by our mooring at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre
Our table was by the side of the restaurant, sort of in the road!! And very close to the disco

Sunday 14th August/Monday15th August
20km 3 locks

On Sunday we cruised to Lere and stayed there the night and then on Tuesday we cruised 1.6km to Sury Près Lere.  We preferred the mooring at Sury Près Lere.  Lere has a couple of hotel barges that moor there on a regular basis, the schedules for them are on display.  Quite a few of the bollards are wooden and broken, whereas Sury Près Lere the mooring has better bollards and a nicer feel, and no road noise.

I enjoy watching the House Martins skimming the water for insects
They are such skilled fliers.

Tuesday 16th August
16km 2 locks 2.5hrs

We moored easily at Chatillion sur Loire and had lunch at Le Vieux Port restaurant which is a popular restaurant with locals, cyclists and tourists.  Just a simple set menu, but very tasty.

We walked over the nearby footbridge over the canal after lunch to the old Loire lock that connected the river Loire to the  canal Lateral a Loire via the Châtillon Branch canal before the Briare Aquaduct was built.  Its a really lovely area to walk around, we missed seeing this when we travelled in the opposite direction 3 years ago.

There is a huge basin just before the old Mantelot Loire lock
There was only one barge moored up just out of the picture, what a waste of some very nice looking pontoons

We see so many heron by the canals in France

Wednesday 17th August
10km 2 locks 1 aqueduct

We left Châtillon at 8.15am and we were over the Briare Aqueduct by 9.10am.  It was a beautiful sunny morning.  We had a great trip to Briare port, we moored on the visitor pontoon for two nights. When we came through this was 3 years ago, it was our first year in France and we were nervous of going down the old Briare canal now called the Canal Henri IV incase there wasn't room enough to easily turn around, shows how much more confident we are now.

The visitor pontoon, we are moored just behind the hire boat.
There are beautiful flowers all over Briare

Our favourite restaurant in Briare, Le Petit St Trop......we ate here twice!

We had a successful stay in Briare.  Our black tank pump had stopped working, so we had ordered a new pump to be delivered to Briare port.  The parcel was there waiting for us when we arrived, and we had the lovely job of changing pumps, but what joy when we switched it on and it was working again!

This is as far as we are travelling this year, we are turning around to retrace our steps, taking it nice and slow.