French Canals – Tuesday

Another nice day, though again with a cold start!

It’s lovely watching the mist rise from the canal on a cold bright morning.

We’re again in a region of helpful lock keepers, though the first two were a bit grumpy.

We stopped for water and shopping at some nice moorings at Mailly-la-Ville:

Then stopped for lunch at Prègilbert, which had a lovely church on the hill:

As we had some time in hand, we explored the pleasant 4Km branch to Vermenton. Surprisingly nice and quiet moorings, but not enough in the town for us to spend the night there.

All day, the canal and the ever larger River Yonne have joined and separated from each other:

You should just be able to see the green lock gates in the distance on the left, with the river going over a wier on the right.

21Km and 12 locks today.

French Canals – Monday Afternoon

Finally, a bit of decent progress today! We finally passed the Hotel Barge (which took up a whole lock and didn’t seem to go any faster than 3Km/hour), and the lock keepers were coordinating themselves sensibly.

Some grand scenery this afternoon with wooded hills and limestone cliffs.

We’re now moored for the night in a really quiet spot near the next lock:

29Km and 11 locks today.

French Canals – Monday Morning

We had to wait for a while for a large hotel barge before we could leave Clamecy.

The first section was on the River Yonne:

A few miles further on, we rejoined the canal for a very pleasant section:

Eventually we caught up with the barge again, so have stopped for lunch until the locks reopen this afternoon.

French Canals – Sunday

A bit of a dull day today weather wise, but the forecast rain held off, which was a bonus.

The lock keepers also seemed a bit more organised today, and whilst we had to wait occasionally, there were no long delays.

The canal scenery is getting nicer by the mile; forested hills are the norm.

The usual collection of locks, including one double lock. And more lift bridges.

At one lock, the keeper had a very friendly dog:

We’re now moored in a quiet quay just outside Clamecy (with WiFi) and are assured that there will be some restaurants open tonight – France seems to shut down on Sundays and Mondays.

21Km, 11 locks and 2 lift bridges today. And a swing bridge, but that was open so doesn’t count!

Les Écluses manuelles

Today’s locks having been entirely manual, I have had the opportunity to get off and help with the gates. This also means that I get the chance to take photos of the boat going along.

Lots of chatting today. One of the lock keepers went to Caen university, where I spent my year abroad all those decades ago!

French Canals – Saturday Afternoon

Slow progress this afternoon as well…

A bit of excitement though when the lock keeper left the top paddle open – all of a sudden the boat shot across the lock diagonally and I struggled to hold it. Didn’t even apologise!

We encountered the first of many lift bridges on this canal. They’re electric, which saves some work, but you still have to get off to open and close them.

One interesting aspect of these locks is the lack of a bywash, which means that even with the bottom gates open, water is still pouring over the top gates.

Despite being a bit cooler today, it was still very pleasant, and some nice canal sections.

A total of 18Km, 19 locks and 3 bridges today.

French Canals – Saturday Morning

A cold start to today – we had to put the boat heating on for a bit… It soon warmed up though.

We’re continuing downwards, with a mere 8 locks this morning.

We’ve stopped at a boatyard to get some more fuel – 112 litres used so far! We also took the opportunity to fill up with water – it’s been difficult to find any for the last few days.

There’s also reasonable WiFi here, which is a bonus.

French Canals – Friday

A rather exciting day today. We spent the morning doing 11 locks up to the summit. This included two double locks and one triple lock – the wash from this was rather fierce for our little boat!

Then this afternoon, we had three tunnels, 758m, 268m and 212m long, though these were wider than most UK ones, and had traffic lights so there was no need to pass other boats.

Between each tunnel was a deep cutting reminiscent of UK canals.

Following the tunnels, there seemed to have been a breakdown in communication between lock keepers, and we had to wait for an hour attached to a very dubious bollard…

But finally, we were on our way down, and spent the afternoon doing 16 locks in 4Km!

A busy day – a mere 19Km but 27 locks and 3 tunnels today!