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.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Canal Lateral a Loire continued..Beaulon/Gannay/DecizeFleury-sur-Loire/Nevers/Corres Les Barres/Beffes/Menetreol sous Sancerre

We've had a fabulous time carrying on our journey along the Canal Latéral à Loire.  We've travelled this canal before but I'd forgotten how it changes after Nevers.  From Digoin to Nevers it is a wide, easy canal, most of the bridges are wide so you hardly have to slow down for them, but that then does make the canal a little boring.  After Nevers to where we are now, near Sancerre, it gets much more picturesque, with narrower bridges, nicer views, and canal banks a little more overgrown.

I've really enjoyed the fact that along a major part of the canal there is the Velo Route 6, a cycle route that runs thorough 10 countries for 3653 km from the Atlantic to the Black Sea.  Velo Route 6 follows the Loire, Doubs, Rhine and the Danube.  This means its been very simple to carry on with my running, along the cycle route, away from cars, and with the fabulous view of the canal.

Velo Route 6
We see lots of cyclists with their panniers fully laden following the route for their holiday
staying in B&B's and camping along the way.

As we have now got into the month of August we have come across lots of businesses closed for their annual holidays.  This can be very disappointing when you find a highly recommended restaurant on Trip Advisor to find it is closed for 3-4 weeks!

We have also noticed a lot more hire boats around, which is good to see as I am sure with the breach of the canal north of us it means that there aren't any private barges coming down the canal from Paris.

While we were in Nevers Port we had a fabulous evening with some friends who stayed at the city on their way back from the south of France.  

We are now moored at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre.  We had a lovely cruise here, a beautiful sunny morning, no wind, so very still waters that make for good photos.  We've been very lucky with our moorings so far.  Its alway great when you plan to moor up somewhere you especially like, to arrive and find a perfect sized space for Rangali!

A Summary of our travels

Friday 29th July
Beaulon to Gannay 2 hrs 14km 3 locks
We saw more Storks circling high in the sky at Gannay, and we even saw a Stork nest perched on top of a dead tree trunk.

Proof we have seen Storks this year, a very big bird

A boulangerie at Beaulon-Open!

Saturday 30th July
Gannay to Decize 4 hrs  16km 5 locks
The lock keeper at Gannay was a little slow getting us through which meant we got to Decize automatic lock just after 12 noon so we had to wait until 1pm to get into the marina.

We enjoyed staying at Decize marina but we were disappointed to find the Charolais Restaurant in the town had closed down, it was a thriving business when we where there two years ago.  Decize is easy to stay at as there is a nearby supermarket within easy walking distance.

Tuesday 2nd August
Decize to Fleury sur Loire 2.25 hrs 11.5km 2 locks

The boulangerie was open, (closed on Wednesdays)
A very nice mooring with a cafe that is open for lunch and dinner

Fleury sur Loire
Wednesday 3rd August
Fleury sur Loire to Nevers 5 hrs 22.5km 5 locks

Its about a 2 mile walk into the city of Nevers from the port,
there are some really lovely old buildings but the town does seem rather run down in places

Our mooring at Nevers Port

Sunday 7th August
Nevers to Cours Les Barres  5.5 hrs 23km 5 locks

Monday 8th August 
Cours les Barres to Beffes 1.5hrs 8.5 km 3 locks
Beffes is a really lovely mooring.  A lot of investment has been made into the facilities for the town. The quay is immaculate, water and electric that you pay for by credit/debit card 5.6 euros for 24 hrs.  the washing/dryer machine was rather busy!

A very nice mooring at Beffes, far right is barge Sojourn
Rob and Pam off Barge Sojourn arrived at Beffes on Tuesday, they are making their way back along the canal from Briare. We had two very sociable evenings with them and we really look forward to seeing them again in Roanne at the end of September.

I enjoyed a bike ride with Pam and Rob along some of Velo route 6
Charity sur Loire in the background

I made the mistake in going for a run late afternoon
it was still too hot and I found it very tough, this was me just setting off
my face was bright red when I got back to the boat

Thursday 11th August 
Beffes to Champalay (Nearish Pouilly Sur Loire) 4 hrs 20.5km 4 locks
We got to our first lock at 9am, having booked it for 9am the day before.  We had noticed when we left Beffes that the water level was very high.  We are not sure what happened overnight, maybe someone didn't leave to sluices in the correct position, but we had to wait at the lock for about 45 mins before we were let through, with the reason being that there wasn't enough water depth on the other side of the lock.  This meant we didn't get to our last planned lock of the day before 12 noon so we had to wait until 1pm to be let though.

After moooring up at Champalay we walked 4.5km into Pouilly sur Loire to buy some bottles of Pouilly Fume.  We found a wine producer that was happy to deliver to the boat as it was too far to carry more than a couple of bottles of wine and we'd bought 24!
A very quiet mooring, wild mint growing in the grass
so there was a lovely aroma as you walked over it

Friday 12th August
Champalay to Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre 1.45 hrs 9km 2 locks

A beautiful mornings cruise

Sancerre in the background, a very pretty lock

A lovely mooring,  right next to a busy little restaurant and there is a boulangerie, open this time, last time we were here they were on holiday.

A beautiful spot to moor at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre

We had a 4 course lunch for 13 euros each-main course was Moules and Frites
House wine Sancerre
We've booked for dinner tomorrow night (Sat)
it's a set three course meal with free music, it is a holiday weekend this weekend in France

A glass of Sancerre, 1.25 euros a glass!
We have planned to go into Briare Port and we have arranged for a parcel to be delivered there.  I emailed Dorothee the Captainaire today just to say that a parcel would be arriving for us and when we thought we'd get there.  About 30 minutes later, Kevin was accosted by a lady by our boat asking if he was the husband of Debbie....He was a little turns out that Dorothee is here on a boat taking a little holiday and had just received my email and then saw Rangali moored just along from her so shecame to talk to us directly.  She has found Briare Port extremely quiet this year because of the breach in the canal, so there has been no traffic from the north, so she decided to take a break while its quiet.  Dorothee reckons the canal is due to open at the end of August.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Our 2016 Cruising begins- Roanne/Briennon/Artaix/Le Croix Rouge/ Canal Lateral a Loire Coulanges/Dijou/Beaulon

We've really enjoyed our first week cruising.  Some moorings have been very quiet, so no socialising, other moorings have been very sociable, we really like both.  We are heading towards Briare where we will probably have to turn around as there was a breach in the canal north of Briare which may not be repaired by the time we get there.  We plan to have a relaxed time cruising this year, repeating canals we've travelled before but stopping at different moorings, where we can.  We will be returning to Roanne for our winter mooring at the end of September all being well.

Tuesday 19th July - Tuesday 28th July
Cruising Week 1

Day 1 - Roanne to Briennon 3 hours 15km 3 locks
(The boulangerie was closed for 3 weeks holiday! The church clock still strikes on the hour x 2 which means at midday it strikes x 24, so you certainly know the time at Briennon)

Day 2 -Briennon to Artaix 2.5 hrs 15km 0 locks 

Day 3 -Artaix to Le Croix Rouge 19km 4 locks 
Day 4 -We stayed at Le Croix Rouge (Thunderstorms forecast that never appeared) We saw 3 Storks circling far in the distance

Day 5 -Le Croix Rouge to Coulange 3 hrs 13km 4 locks
Day 6 -We stayed at Coulanges so that we could watch the Hungarian Grand Prix 

Day 7 -Coulanges to Dijou 2.5 hrs 12km 3 locks 

Day 8 -Dijou to Beaulon 1.5 hrs 12km 3 locks

Leaving our winter mooring on a lovely sunny day

We will be back to Roanne at the end of September all being well

He is happy, really!!

Our first lock, about a half a meter drop, hardly worth tying on for!

Beautiful Canal de Roanne à Digoin

Bourg Le Comte Lock  7m drop

The lock gates open for us to exit

Le Croix Rouge on the Roanne Canal - A good mooring, electric and water you pay for via tokens
that you can purchase from the machine using a debit card

Dijou - with a fellow Piper Barge 65' Calliope
We had a drinks with owners Stewart and Lesley and their American friends Jenny and Charlie
Stewart and Lesley amazed us with the distance they've travelled already this year

Kev hasn't forgotten how the drive the boat

We are always happy when we find a local boulangerie and its open!

Beaulon, we stayed here 2 years ago, a nice mooring but rather busy with motorhomes
We spent a couple of sociable evenings with Andrew and Laurel off Affleur D,O

Sunday, 21 February 2016

10k Race for Life Up-date

July 10th Salisbury 10k Race
Completed in 1 hour 6 mins and 21 secs, a tough second half of course, hilly and off road.
My first ever 10k Race February 2016

While in France last year we met a very inspirational woman who was entering the York Marathon, and despite the souring temperatures last summer in France,  she managed to train successfully to complete her first marathon.

She inspired me to start running and on 26th October last year I walked/ran 1 minute alternately for a mile and I slowly increased my distance and speed to be able to run 10k on a very hilly course at Longleat in 1:07:13

I'm taking part in the Salisbury 10k 2016 11:00 on 10/07/2016 to raise money for Cancer Research UK and I'd really appreciate your support. I'm going to be raising money in memory of Edgar James Anders (my Dad).

It's easy to donate online with a debit or credit card - just visit my JustGiving page - any small donation is gratefully received

JustGiving sends your donation straight to Cancer Research UK and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more.

Thank you for your support and if you see me running along the canals and rivers in France give me a wave!



I completed my Race for Life on 10th July in Salisbury UK in 1 hour 6mins 21 seconds and raised £264 plus £55 Gift Aid.  I have caught the running bug and have managed to continue training now we are back in France onboard Rangali.  The canal towpaths/cycleways are great for training, and no steep hills!!