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!!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Canal du Roanne a Digoin

Wednesday 2nd September
Digoin to Bourg-le-Comte
Canal de Roanne à Digoin
22km 5 locks 6 hours

We woke up to fog.  We’d arranged to go through the first lock on the Canal Latéral à la Loire at 9am.  As we left the lock to go along a short, wide stretch of the canal Latéral à la Loire, the fog was really thick, we could hardly see the cruiser that was in front of us.  The sun soon broke through and we had a great trip to Bourg-le-Comte.  We arrived at the deep lock (7.20 metres) at Boug-le-Comte at 1.15pm, we had to wait for a boat to come down the lock and we were through by 1.50pm.  We moored up just after the lock and had a quiet night in a rural mooring.

A bit foggy as we went over the river Loire

VERY foggy after we exited the Digoin lock

The fog cleared enough for us to see the entrance to the
Roanne to Digoin canal on our left

It is difficult to see if the deep lock Bourg-le-Comte
is ready for us or wasn't....we had to wait for a boat to come down

Only the lower part of the lock opens for boats to go in and out

Leaky lock gates.  The lock fills nice and gently from underneath

Thursday 3rd September

We moved the boat 3km to Chambilly where we stayed until Saturday.  On Friday 4th September we cycled into Marcigny to have lunch in the town, we did some food shopping and went to the Emile Henry Cookware shop to have to look around.

Departing from the nice mooring just after the deep lock at Bourg le Comte

Quite a nice mooring at Chambilly
Boulangerie was closed for holidays!

Saturday 5th September
Chambilly to Artaix
3km 3 locks 1hour 20mins

We are taking our time to get to Roanne at the end of this canal, so when we see a mooring we stop.  The mooring at Artaix is another rural mooring, nice and quiet.

There is electric at this mooring but quite a way from our mooring spot

Its a nice quiet place to moor

 Sunday 6th September 
Artaix to Melay
4km 0 locks 40 mins

We were lucky to find a mooring spot on the quay at Melay.  We are really enjoying our slow trip along this canal.

Tuesday 8th September
Melay to Briennon
11km 0 locks 1 ¾ hrs
There was a lot more space at Briennon this year as a big commercial boat has now gone from the quay.  So that’s good but whats not so good is the church clock that was broken last year is fixed, so it rings on the hour x 2, so at midday and midnight you hear 24 bongs!!  Plus it rings on the half hour too.

We walk to the Briennon lock to book it for 9am tomorrow and our trip to Roanne.

Electric and water for 7 euros

After we had moored we noticed
that there was plenty more space in the port as a
big commercial barge had gone that was moored there last year

Wednesday 9th September
Briennon to Roanne
15km 3 locks 3 hours

We set off at 8.45am and arrived at our mooring in Roanne just before 12 noon.

The canal de Roanne á Digoin is a beautiful canal, with great views of the countryside as you travel along it.  The locks are very gentle; the only downside is that in front of some of the locks there is a strong flow of water (especially on lock 5 Montgraillloux) which makes entry to the lock very tricky, Kev did a fab job of not hitting the lock walls as we entered.  The bow thruster comes in very handy!

Kev helping the lock keepers opening the lock gates

Entering Roanne port
home for Rangali for the winter

The large port is about 1 mile in circumference which makes for a nice stroll in the evening

The view from the bridge at Roanne over looking the river Loire

We’ve already been off for a weekend to Grenoble and the Alps (by car), and we had a lovely time.  We’ve also been socialising with the people who are moored up at Roanne, it’s a very friendly place.

Grenoble cable car 

View going up in the cable car

Beautiful view from the top


We drove to Chambery and came back to Grenoble over the mountains

This will be the last blog of the year as we have reached our final destination.  We are really looking forward to having Roanne as a winter base for Rangali and we intend to visit the boat more regularly during the winter.