Friday, 29 May 2015

Vandenasse to La Forge/La Forge to Moulin Banet

Monday 25th May
Pouilly en Auxois to Vandenasse
8 locks, 1 tunnel 3.33km long and 9.5km 3 hours (including 1 hour wait just after the tunnel

We spent a very lazy 5 days at Pouilly.  Our first evening at Pouilly we had a lovely time getting to know Caya and Julian the new owners of Quercy.  They seem to have very quickly got to grips with the new boat and really enjoying their time onboard Quercy.  It was a shame they moved off so quickly, it maybe a while before we meet up with them again as they are going in opposite direction to us.  

Quercy departing Pouilly
Pouilly is a good mooring to be stuck at as they have electric and water, a supermarket, fuel station etc

We were stuck in Pouilly until a new alternator arrived as we’d been having battery charging problems over the past few days travel.  Luckily we were recommended by Simon Piper a company called Sutton Marine Services run by Paul Ladyman, an expert in generators and all things electrical.  A new alternator to be delivered to Paul in Kent on Thursday and he came to see us on Saturday.  Luckily he has a house in France and we weren’t too far away for him to travel to us.

We dropped just one end of our canopy down this time.
Last year we took it right off.

A lovely sunny morning to leave Pouilly

We booked the tunnel for Monday morning, and it all went well.  As we had been through the tunnel last year, we were much more relaxed about it, knowing we would fit!!  The first section of the tunnel was really well lit, but around halfway along there were no lights and the tunnel was pitch black.  We had our spot light on, so we could see in front of us but by mistake we hadn’t got our side navigation lights on, which until we turned them on, we really struggled to see the sides of the tunnel. 

The lighting is really bright

The lighting only went half way, it would have been pitch black without our lights on

After the tunnel we had to wait about an hour before we could go down the 8 locks to Vanenasse-en-Auxois.  The weather was a bit dull and miserable by the time we moored up.  We are hoping it will be nicer tomorrow.

Tuesday 26th May
Vandenasse en Auxois

Such a beautiful mooring, one of my hotel barges either so lots of space

Chateauneuf in the background...we went there last year

It rained quite heavily during the night but we woke up to a lovely sunny, but windy day.  I managed to persuade Kev that it was a good idea to get the bikes out and we had a mornings cycle ride to a nearby reservoir (reservoir de Panthier) and Commarin Chateau.  The reservoir has a campsite, with a restaurant and bakers, which is useful as there is no bakers at Vandenasse.   We had Pete, from PJ Marine coming to see us just after lunch to service our central heating boiler so we didn't have time to look around the Chateau and its grounds, but the cycle ride was a good one to do first timeout this year.  No hills and quiet roads.  Kev's shoulder held up well, so he hasn't that excuse not to go next time!

It was so windy the reservoir had waves

Chateau Commarin about 7km from Vandenasse via a cycle route

Wednesday 27th May
Vandenasse to La Forge/La Bussière

16km 17 locks 5 hours

We shared the first 11 locks to Pont d’Ouche with John and Nancy on Gruble.  We had already phoned ahead to Sonia at Pont d’Ouche ( to be told she had no room for us but we could moor on the bank opposite.  We asked the lock keepers if we could possibly carry on in the afternoon but we were told they were too busy with hotel boats and we would have to wait until Thursday afternoon to move on.  It wasn’t a problem although we had booked lunch at Abbaye La Bussière for tomorrow, so that booking would have to be changed. 

We managed to moor up ok on the bank opposite the port and we went and had a lovely lunch at Le Bistrot du Port, managed by Sonia.  As we weren’t going to be moving on in the afternoon, we ordered a nice bottle of Chablis.  Around 2pm one of the lock keepers came to the bistro to look for us to say they could now take us at 3pm, so we put the cork in the remainder of our bottle of wine, and went back to the boat to have a coffee to clear our heads (and me a snooze!) We don’t normally drink and drive and luckily we were ok.  

We arrived at La Forge between lock 25 and 26 around 3pm, with lots of space for us, no other boats here as yet. 

Thursday 28th May
Abbaye La Bussière

We had a lazy morning and then got dressed up smart for our lunch at the hotel Abbaye La Bussière.  We went there last year for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed our posh meal, which we didn’t think was that expensive, and definitely worth it.  We were really lucky that it was a sunny day, with a light breeze.

I almost didn't recognise this smart looking man!

We wouldn't come along the Canal de Bourgogne without coming here for lunch, its superb!

Its very strange arriving by foot to such a posh hotel

The grounds are immaculate

This 'soup' was delicious

We walked into La Bussière after our lunch to look for the war graves we had read about in the DBA mooring guide.
Very sad, the plane wouldn't have had a chance as it is so wooded and hilly around La Bussière
R.A.F Base: Chedburgh, Suffolk
Unit: 214 Sqdn. Bomber Command
Aircraft: Short Stirling, Mk l, serial EF390
Target: Torino, Northern Italy
Incident: The Stirling was damaged by flak and finally shot down by Capt. Hans Wolfgang Niebelschütz. The aircraft crashed at La Bussière and all the crew perished. 

Our mooring at La Forge - We were joined by a hotel barge on Thursday evening
We hadn't heard it arriving as we were down below,
it gave us the shock of our lives as we looked out our window,
it looked like it was going to hit us but actually it was miles away!
They very politely in asked us if we could move along to give them room to moor up, which we did happily. 

Friday 29th May
La Forge to Moulin Banet
6.5 km 6 locks 2.5 hrs

The lock keeper arrived dead on 9am and we had a fabulous trip to Moulin Banet, a mooring just before lock 34.  The scenery is beautiful, with heavily wooded hills.  We moored up just in time for lunch at the café by lock 34 run by Uls and Doris a very friendly Swiss couple.  The café is only open Friday/Saturday/Sunday.  When we arrived last year it was closed and I was thoroughly fed up, as it seemed that all the places we’d been recommended to go to along the canal de Bourgogne, had been closed, either we arrived the wrong day of the week or they were closed for their annual holidays.  So this year we are planning our stops better!

We passed two hotel barges today, the lock keepers warn us and its horrible knowing you are going to meet one,
keeping your fingers crossed its not going to be on a corner

This hotel barge didn't seem to slow down or move over much for us

Moulin Banet lock 34, a great place to stop

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Montbard to Verenay/Veranay to Pouillenay/Pouillenay to Marigny/Marigny to Pouilly

Saturday 16th May
Montbard to Venarey-les-Laumes
13km 9 locks 4.5hr (including 1 hour for lunch)

We set off from Montbard to be at our first lock for 9am, a hire boat followed us into the lock and they travelled with us through the 9 locks to Venarey-Les Laumes.  It was a beautiful day so we had perfect weather for seeing the beautiful countryside surrounding us on our trip.

Leaving Montbard

We had company for all the 9 locks

Lovely open countryside on this stretch of the canal

We moored up just along from the hotel barge Elisabeth, luckily there was space for us on the quay, there is electric and water at the mooring, no one came to take any money from us.

Venarey-Les Laumes

Sunday 17th May
Venarey-les-Laumes to Pouillenay
4.5km 10 locks 2 hours

It was another beautiful day, perfect for travelling up the hill to Pouillenay.  Last year we undertook some epic days travel with lots of locks on this stretch of the canal, but we decided to slow it down this year to make the most of appreciating the fantastic scenery.  The photos don’t really convey how fabulous it is, and it is an absolute must to do it on sunny days, otherwise it’s a waste.

The bollards are very widely spaced apart and the ground was too hard
to bang our pins in, we couldn't even bang in our spirofix ground anchor.

We moored up in Pouillenay before lunch so we were able to walk the short distance into the town to buy some bread from the supermarket, which luckily was open, even though it was Sunday.

Sunday evening we were serenaded by a young man
practising on his accordion in his garden just across from where we were moored
He was really good

Monday 18th May
Pouillenay to Marigny le Cahoët
6.5km 19 locks 3.5 hours

Another fabulous day, with efficient lock keepers taking us through the 19 locks to Marigny.  Last year we only moored here for lunch, but it’s a nice place to stop overnight, except for the bells chiming on the church clock on the hour every hour and half hour.  If you’ve missed it, it repeats the chimes, so at Midnight you hear 24 chimes!  There is a small supermarket/bakers in Marigny but it was closed today (Monday).

A small selection of photos of our trip up the hill to Pouilly

Out of one lock and straight into the next

Marigny is a very nice mooring between lock 27 and lock 26 
Tuesday 19th May
Marigny to Pouilly-en-Auxois
34.5km 25 locks 9 hours (including 40 minutes for lunch)

At the first lock of the day we were asked where we were heading by our lock keeper; we were undecided whether to stop at Pont Royal or to continue all the way to Pouilly.  We wanted to see how we felt at lunch time.  The lock keeper didn’t understand our French, when we tried to say we weren’t sure, so we made the decision, due to the poor weather forecast for Wednesday (thunderstorms) we’d go to Pouilly.  Our lock keeper was operating the locks on his own so the going was a little slow, but he was great.  The last lock that he was responsible for was AFTER Pont Royal, but because he had to have his lunch we had to stop at Pont Royal.  This was a shame, as after the Pont Royal lock there is a 10km stretch with no locks. 

Lock keepers assistant

He was very cute

We arrived at Pouilly just after 6pm and we were pretty tired.  25 locks are a lot of locks!  We were pleased to see Quercy (55’ Piper) already moored up.  We’d corresponded with the new owners a couple of days ago as the canal jungle drums had told them we were on our way up to Pouilly, so we planned to meet up.  They had just arrived from the opposite direction, having successfully come through the Pouilly tunnel.

We plan to stay here for a few days.  There is a great supermarket near the mooring, plus a fuel station (Kev's already completed a few fuel runs with his 2 x 20l canisters.)

The forecast rain has arrived today, but no thunderstorms as yet.

Quercy and Rangali getting to know each other

Friday, 15 May 2015

Tanlay to Lezinnes/Lezinnes to Ravieres/Ravieres to Montbard -Canal de Bourgogne

Monday 11th May
Tanlay to Lézinnes
9.5km 5 locks 2.5hrs

We had a peaceful cruise through beautiful countryside to arrive at Lézinnes at 11.40am.  The lock keeper on lock 87 sold me a lettuce from his garden, he lived in the lock keepers cottage; you can’t get any fresher than that!

The morning had started coolish, but when we went for a walk to find a boulangerie in Lézinnes it had started to warm up, and we realised once we’d walked into the town/village that we definitely had the wrong clothes on for the hot weather; we were sweltering!  There are two boulangeries in town, the one near the church was closed (Monday), but we came across another boulangerie that was open.  We were struck how smart the village was; most towns and villages we have come across in France have a real shabby feel to most of the properties, but not so in Lézinnes, they all looked very smart and with beautiful gardens. 

No facilities here, (for water and use of the rubbish bin
you have to walk to the town hall to get the key)
This mooring is used by hotel boats who have priority but luckily no hotel boats were due,
 just further up the canal there are more moorings where we could have moored up.

Quaint boulangerie in Lézinnes

A patient heron we could see from our mooring

I don't think he caught anything this time

Tuesday 12th May
Lézinnes to Raviéres
19.5km 9 locks 6 hours (including 1 hour for lunch)

Up early again to be at our first lock at 9am 30 minutes away from our mooring.

There’s a very nice Dutch lady lock keeper who lives at lock 82.  We bought some excellent homemade marmalade from her last year, so I bought some more.  She speaks perfect English and it really shows us how much we miss out by not speaking fluent French to be able to communicate fully with ALL the lock keepers.  We can get by with our French but it’s not like having a sociable conversation.

Lock 82 Marmalade and Jams for sale

When we stayed at Raviéres last year we didn’t realize that there was a supermarket, so it was a nice surprise when we stumbled across it.

A hotel barge arrived early evening, and our evening was serenaded by an accordion player onboard the barge; sounds of very French music wafting over the water along with frogs croaking….perfect!

Wednesday 13th May
Raviéres to Montbard
19km 11 locks 5.5hrs (including 1 hour lunch)

We set off early again 8.30am to be at our first lock for 9am.  It was a very hot day, beautiful sunshine, but all the lock keepers were warning of thunderstorms on their way for the evening.

Departing Lezinnes, there is lots of space to moor here with good depth and free electric
Its a beautiful canal
Its a very hot day

Entering lock 74 - only 1.8m climb/descent - most of the locks average around 2.6m on this section
All the locks fill very gently and the bollards are set in the same place for each lock so all very easy.

Our stop for lunch at Buffon - PK96
It would be a great overnight mooring if you know no hotel barges are going to use it.
Its a short step to the Buffon Forge.  The museum was closed for lunch

We arrived in Montbard at 2.30pm, and there was lots of space to moor up.  We plan to stay here a few days now to chillout, also not so good weather is forecast, with strong winds so we’d rather move when the weather improves.  We are getting near to the section of the Canal de Bourgogne where there are lots of locks, very close together, climbing the hill up towards Pouilly-en-Auxois and the Pouilly tunnel; so we’d rather have good weather for that section.  Better weather is forecast for Saturday so we will start our journey again then.  

We are off this morning to the Montbard weekly market today (Friday) where we no doubt will spend a small forturne!

Arriving in Montbard, lots of mooring space for us

We had a look around Buffon Parc in Montbard, its well worth a stroll around

Views from the tower at Buffon Parc