Sunday 25th August
Canal du Briare
Montagris to Montbouy 8 locks, 19km
We had another lovely meal out last night this time at the restaurant linked with Hotel De La Poste. The restaurant was very big, but very cosy as they had booths to sit in, so tables with lots of room and the restaurant was in a beautiful art deco style.
Today we moved on from Montargis to Montbouy (pronounced Mont-booee as the first lock keeper told me after smiling at my very bad pronunciation. The weather wasn’t great today, and it started to rain properly just as we turned up to Montbouy a lovely village with great moorings, with electric and water you pay 2.50 euros for 4 hours. The local shop sells the tokens and was open even though it was Sunday. The shop was really well stocked so we bought a few things as we thought it was good to support the village seeing as they had supplied such great moorings. Again the flowers at the village were beautiful.
We did 7 locks today. The first two at Montargis took a little time as we hadn’t let the lockkeeper know we were coming through so he was off doing jobs on the canal elsewhere. The first lock was automatic so we didn’t think we would need to let anyone know! We got sorted in the end. The second lock was very deep. 4.8m deep. The lock keeper collected my rope on a hook, which is just as well as I couldn’t see the bollard to throw to, even standing on the roof.
We didn’t see one boat on the canal today, and only one boat has passed us since we moored up, so all very quiet on the canal.
There is a village boules match going on today, they have been playing in the pouring rain. They are playing all over the village on very scrapy bits of ground, but I suppose they are all playing with the same disadvantage so it’s not a problem. The next lock we go in is here at Montbouy, its 5.10m deep, we went to have a look and to book when we will go through tomorrow with the lady lockkeeper. The lock is full of water so you don’t get a feeling of the depth of it.
Monday 26th August (Bank Holiday at home!)
Montbouy to Dammarie-sur-Loing 12km 8 locks
We left Montbouy at 9.30am, we had already organized the time we would go through with the lock keeper yesterday so no problems today. Also the lock was very easy, even though it was so deep, 5.10m. The lock keeper helped by hooking up our ropes to the bollards, otherwise there would have been no chance. The lock also filled very gently so all in all a very pleasant experience.
The locks are very pretty on the Canal de Briare, one was especially beautiful - lock 20 Picardie. The grass leading up to the lock was all mown and the flowers at the lock were amazing. As we entering an empty lock you don’t see the flowers until you come up, and what a nice surprise they were.
|Lock 20 really beautiful flowers|
We decided to stop at Dammarie-sur-Loing after lock 19 as the mooring looked great. (Water and electric is free.)
After we moored we cycled to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, which is about 5km. A pretty town, also with great moorings with lots of space but not free by the looks of it, The 7 old locks after which the town is named are replaced with 6 automatic locks but there looks like there is a lock keeper there to help you with the ropes as agan they are quite deep. The locks are very close together so it should be fun tomorrow. We cycled back along the canal, the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked, the roads became rivers and just as we got back it a thunderstorm began. It was quite fun as once you are wet you are wet! I wish we’d had got a photo of us when we got back to the boat, we must have looked a sight.
|Kev before we got soaked|
The rain looks set to stay, its tipping down at the moment but we can’t complain as we have had some amazing weather since we’ve been here in France and also in UK before we left. Quiet night in tonight, mailnly because of the rain, also nothing here in Dammaire!
Tuesday 27th August
Dammarie-sur-Loing to Ouzouer-sur-Trezee
15km 11 locks
What a lovely trip, so many locks but the lock keepers were a delight especially the lock keeper Eric who took us through the automatic locks at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses. There is a cruise hire company based at Rogny and we followed a lovely family who had just started their weeks holiday on a boat, they were fun to watch but they got the hang of it in the end. We shared the last 6 locks with them, the locks were all descending so nice and easy.
|Eric our friendly lock keeper|
|Rogny les Sept Ecluses|
The old locks are on the left of the picture
Just before our first down lock we had to stop as it was 12noon and coming through this lock on their way up was another Piper boat called Tesserae. Their boat was launched the same year as ours. We had a cup of tea with them and a quick catch up. They are going to be turning around and coming back and then following the same route as us up the Nivernais so I am sure we will see them again, which will be great.
|Tesserae and Rangali|
|Our mooring at Ouzouer-sur-Trezee|
Wednesday 28th August
Briare by Bike!
We decided to cycle to Briare and leave Rangali at Ouzouer today. We cycled there by road and came back on a track by the side of the canal. Briare is lovely, full of flowers, we had a good wander around, saw a barge called Maximillon at the port du Plaisance. We recognized the barge from The Thames earlier in the year and at a DBA rally last year and we had a chat with the new Australian owner. He recommended a restaurant called Le Petit Saint Trop and suggested we should book “as it was the only good restaurant in town” so we booked it for lunch and it was excellent. We then walked around the town, had fun in a knitting and needlework shop, we bought some cotton, an extra long needle and some buttons to up grade some seat cushions we’d recently bought. The lady tried to give me lessons on what to call needles in French, and how to pronounce it correctly; it gave her a lot of amusement. There are some French guttural sounds that I am incapable of making!
The weather is improving and we’ve had a lovely sunny day today. We have really enjoyed Canal du Loing and Canal Du Briare, we are joining Canal lateral a la Loire tomorrow, crossing over the Loire via the Aqueduct at Briare. I wonder if the lock keepers will be as nice?
|Briare Church of St Martin amazing mosaics|
Thursday 29th August
Ouzouer-sur-Tezee to Chatillon-sur-Loire
12km 2 locks 1 aqueduct
We had a very easy trip to Briare, although we had to wait at the two locks for boats coming up. We left Canal de Briare and joined the Canal Lateral a la Loire.
When we got to the Briare Aqueduct, we knew we had to give way to boats coming over the bridge to Briare, there are no traffic lights controlling it. We saw a boat on the aqueduct and it looked like it was going away from us, we checked with some tourists who had just come off the aqueduct and they confirmed its direction, going away from us so we thought “great, if we follow it nothing will be coming the other way so we thought we should go across too” Big mistake….as we got onto the bridge we could see it was a big tour boat, it looked like it had stopped, so I warned Kev, then it looked like it was going backwards….we couldn’t believe this was happening but yes it was, and it wasn’t going to slow down, so after tooting our horn to warn him of our presence, Kev had to reverse back off the bridge to let the tour boat off. Kev reversed brilliantly as boats aren’t great at going backwards. After a few dirty looks from the tour boat skipper and from Kev we attempted another go and this time it went smoothly. Its an amazing view from the aqueduct over The Loire, not sure if Kev saw it as he hates heights!
We are now moored at Chatillon-sur-Loire, we walked around the small town, we’d just missed the market which was a shame. We had a really lovely lunch at a place near the port du plaisance. The restaurant is called Le Vieux Port.
|Briare Aqueduct, |
tour boat going away from us before it started to reverse!
|View of The Loire from the Aqueduct|
|We made across eventually!|