Saturday, 30 August 2014

Pont Royal to Pouillenay/Pouillenay to Montbard -Canal de Bourgogne

Thursday 28th August
Pont Royal to Pouillenay
32 locks, 19km 8¾ hrs with 1½ hr for lunch

We set off at 8.50am to arrive at our first lock at 9am.  We originally planned to go to Marigny-le-Cahouët which would have been 13 locks and around 12km but we weren’t asked where we were going by the lock keepers so when we got to Marigny at 12 noon we thought why not carry on, after lunch, down the chain of locks to Pouillenay, which we did.  We had a great team of eclusiers, two guys working with us, and the locks kept on coming!  The scenery was fantastic, and we were fortunate that after a very grey, unpromising start to the day, it ended up lovely and sunny with a cooling breeze.

For a change we were lucky at lunchtime, after mooring up we walked the short distance into the village of Marigny-le-Cahouët to find the boulangerie open!  We got there just in time as they close at 12.30 for lunch.

We arrived in Pouillenay at 4.40pm pretty tired, but we enjoyed the day.  We walked into the small village and there is a small grocers where we bought some bits and pieces.  There was a hotel and restaurant in the village but we ate on the boat.

Leaving Pont Royal, lots of space here.
The restaurant was ferme, they were on their annual holidays!

Our team of two eclusiers, ready and waiting!

Our lunchtime mooring at Marigny

A rare sight..... other boats!

Through one lock and straight into another!

Stunning scenery the whole day

We moored up on pins
We could have squeezed in on the other side on the official mooring
but we couldn't see any bollards and we were tired!

Friday 29th August
Pouillenay to Montbard
19 locks 18km 8 hours including 1 hour for lunch

We decided that we wanted to get to Montbard for the weekend, so we did another long day today.  There were still quite a few locks, but not so many as yesterday, with longer gaps in between.   

We didn’t have such a good day today because the lock keepers were working singularly, and they weren’t so well organized.  Our 9am lock ended up being 9.20am, we met a couple boats coming up who we had to wait for; in the afternoon we had to wait 40 mins at a lock for a hotel barge to come through and then on our 3rd from last lock, no eclusier appeared for at least 15 minutes.  She apologized when she arrived, asking us how long we had been waiting for (we said 3 days!) luckily she got the joke.  She said the young lad who worked our previous 2 locks was supposed to ring her when we went through but he didn’t.

We arrived in Montbard pretty tired but at least we were going to be in a town on a Friday, so that meant the town was going to be open!  We had a quick walk around, it’s a strange little town, but quite nice.  We went for a meal at a buzzing little restaurant called Calypso, mainly a pizzeria.  Full of locals. It was quite good, and very reasonably priced. 

We decided that we would not move tomorrow, and have a well-deserved rest.

Venarey Les Laumes
We arrived here at lunch-time.  we moored up just where a hotel barge
 was due to arrive at 3.30pm, lucky we weren't staying!

Beautiful scenery

This is the hotel barge we had to wait for,
it added 40 mins to our already slow journey

Lovely flowers in Montbard
Now thats what I call a proper hanging basket

Our mooring at Montbard, near the Locoboat hire centre.
We are watching the new holiday makers have their first lesson for our evening entertainment!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pont d'Ouche/Vandenesse-en-Auxois/Pouilly-en-Auxois/Pont Royal -Canal de Bourgogne

Sunday 24th August
Pont d’Ouche to Vandenesse-en-Auxois
11 locks 9km 3 hrs

We woke up to a very foggy morning, but we knew the forecast was good once the fog cleared.  We shared all the locks with Sologne a French cruiser.  The fog finally cleared to a beautiful clear blue, sunny sky.  We were really well looked after by a group of eclusiers, and got to Vandenesse just after 12 noon.  The port was crowded with large hotel boats but we found a space, quickly scrubbed up and went to the local restaurant for a lovely Sunday lunch.  In the afternoon we walked up the hill to Chateauneuf-en-Auxois, we rather regretted having such a big lunch but at least we walked some of it off.  The town was lovely, quite busy with tourists, there were a few art exhibitions, small gift shops and a few places to eat.  The views from the chateau were worth the walk up the hill.
A very foggy start to the day, there is a narrow bridge we have to go under somewhere!

Leaving Pont d'Ouche

The fog is clearing to reveal a beautiful day

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois on the hill

Full of Hotel barges the first night

A lovely place to eat Sunday lunch at Vandenesse

5 mile circular walk up to Chateauneuf

Looking back from Chateauneuf to our mooring at Vandenesse-en-Auxois

Me being lazy, here you can read about beautiful, historic Chateauneuf-en-Auxois

This was near the church at can see what Kev was more interested in!

Second day at Vandenesse we moved to the quay for water and electric after the hotel barges left

Monday 25th August

In the morning two of the large hotel boats moved off back towards Dijon so we moved our boat over to the other side of the port and connected to the electric.  This always means you feel you should be doing some washing to make the most of the electric, but besides this, and a short walk we were very lazy.  Kev did his final calculations for the tunnel and he felt certain we wouldn’t have a problem.

Tuesday 26th August
Vanderness to Pouilly-en-Auxois
8 locks, 1 tunnel 3.33km long and 9.5km 3 hours

It rained heavily through the night.  It was still raining when we set off at 9am but luckily it had stopped by the second lock.  With three eclusiers working the locks, we got through the 8 locks very quickly, Sologne the French cruiser travelled with us again.  We moored up just before the light that controls the tunnel so that we could dismantle our back awning for the tunnel. 

Kev was slightly anxious that if we didn’t keep the boat straight, the wheelhouse could hit the roof in the tunnel, even though he had worked out the calculations to show we should be ok.  Once we were in the tunnel we could see that no way would our wheelhouse hit the tunnel roof even if the side of our boat did hit the sidewall, so it was a very easy trip.  Our dimensions are 3m wide, with a 2.4m wide wheelhouse, and an air draft of 2.8m.  We even think next time we wont need to dismantle the back awning, just lower it as we do for the Nivernais bridges and Baye tunnel.  The Pouilly tunnel is dead straight; you can see the end, although it does seem to take an age, I think it was around 45 minutes to get through the tunnel.  The white dot you can see showing the other end of the tunnel just didn’t seem to get nearer.  There were no lights in the tunnel, they were not working, you had to have a light on your boat, and we also had to wear our life jackets.  We were given a walkie talkie to use if we had a problem.  In the tunnel there are markers on the wall pointing how far it is to the nearest end, so you can see how far you’ve been, and once you get past the half way mark, how far you’ve got to go. 

We arrived at 12 noon in Pouilly-en-Auxois, a very large port du plaisance, with loads of space to moor. We walked into the town, about a mile away and we had a very nice lunch at Hotel du Commerce, and we then went and stocked up on essentials at the local supermarket, very close to the port.  There is a fuel station there too.

Entrance to the Pouilly Tunnel

Impossible for us to hit the wheelhouse roof, even if we wandered off the centre line

But it still takes some concentration to keep the boat straight

The end is nearing

Exiting the tunnel

Our mooring at Pouilly
A barge arrived in the afternoon while we were at lunch-direction Dijon

 Wednesday 27th August
Pouilly to Pont Royal
13 locks, 18km, 4hrs

We set off at our normal time of 9am, our first lock of the day was in view and we could see the eclusier opening the gates for us.  All our locks from now on will be going down.  We travelled alone today, Sologne were staying another day in Pouilly.  It was a beautiful sunny morning, the locks no.2 to no.11 were operated by an eclusier on a moped but they were automated so it was a very quick trip.  We then had over 10km with no locks at all; it was quite shallow in places, but ok, it caused us no problems.  We saw two boats today travelling up stream, one hire-boat and one private.  We can’t believe how quiet the canal is; we’ve seen more hotel boats than private boats.

We arrived in Pont Royal at 1pm, and we wondered whether the restaurant would be open but it was closed for holidays 16th-31st August!

We got the bikes out and cycled back along the canal to St Thibault to look at a lovely church.  There was a boulangerie in the village but it was shut!

Beautiful far reaching views of the Burgundy coutryside

Our first on this canal a hire boat!

A narrow section, with some passing places, we decided it must be instead of a tunnel cutting through a hill

Our mooring at Pont Royal
It looks busy but there is only one other boat other than Rangali that is occupied on this mooring