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.

Paray le Monial to Digoin

Tuesday 25th August to Sunday 30th August

We spent an enjoyable 5 days at Paray le Monial.  The weather developed into another heatwave and we ended up roasting again!!  We were pleased that we were on electric so that we could run our air-conditioning to our hearts content.  It certainly helped with sleeping at night. 

We did some sight seeing, ate out in a few restaurants, carried on with re-varnishing the wheelhouse and some of our deck furniture, and we went to the market in Paray on the Friday morning, which was a lot bigger than we’d expected.  The mooring had lots of comings and goings, but was pretty quiet by the weekend. 

The mooring at Paray is very good, for our size boat it cost us 13 euros a night, which includes water and electric.  The downside was that there is a big park next to the mooring where they had been a huge event over the summer and they were in the process of dismantling the marquees, which took all week, with clattering and banging, and revving of engines of cranes, high lift platforms and forklift trucks.  Some days they started at 7am not finishing until after 7pm and worked all over the weekend.  It can’t have been easy for them in the high temperatures.

On Saturday we decided we would take the train to Auxonne pick up our car, where it had been since we got back onboard in July.  Paray has a good train service to Dijon and then onto Auxonne.  We had a very nice scenic drive back via Beaune and the vineyards.  We enjoyed the drive because of the scenery and the air-conditioning as it was another very hot day.

On Sunday we drove to Roanne, to leave the car for a couple of weeks as its where we are wintering Rangali.  We’d looked on line to see that there was a train service from Roanne to Paray for only 9.30 euros.  When we got to Roanne railway station to buy our train ticket we found that we would be on a TGV ‘autocar’, which is a very posh coach.  It was actually very nice to be on a bus, we had the front seats and had a great view.  We also had the pleasure of a local radio station and 70’s/80’s music, which you certainly don’t get on the train.  The bus goes eventually onto Le Cruesot where it then links with the TGV train service.

This was being dismantled over the week we were at Paray
quite noisy at times

We saw more monks last year walking around the town
but I did manage to spot one!

Stunning lighting at Paray

Views of the vineyards on the train from Paray to Auxonne

A very quiet Paray at the weekend

Monday 31st August
Paray to Digoin
13 km 4 locks 3 hours

We woke up to another sunny morning, after a very hot and humid night.  We left Paray at 8.40am, and slowly made our way to the first lock.  We’d booked it for 9am, and sure enough the VNF van was there and the lock was ready for us, as was the second lock, with the same VNF man waiting for us.  As he’d been present for the first two locks, we assumed he was going to be at the next lock, which was the final lock on the canal du Centre, but when we arrived, the red light was showing and no sign of any VNF van or man.  We hung around for a while, thinking maybe another boat was coming in the opposite direction.  Eventually we got fed up with waiting and rang the control centre.  We told them which lock we were at and that the red lights were showing.  A few minutes later a chap walked out of the lock keepers cottage went into the lock office and he set the lock into motion for us.  We don’t know what went wrong with their very efficient management of the locks, they’ve been excellent all the way along the canal.

We arrived in Digoin at 11.30am.  We decided not to stop at the port du plaisance as we didn’t need water or electric.  We had planned to stop after the aqueduct that goes over the Loire but we knew there were trees by the mooring and there was a big thunderstorm and heavy rain forecast and we didn’t fancy being covered in leaves.  So after the port du plaisance at Digoin we looked out to see if we could moor up and we found lots of space and no trees.  No bollards but the steel pilings have holes in them that we were able to thread our ropes through.

The forecast was correct and at around midnight we had a terrific thunderstorm, with very heavy rain.  No hailstones, which we are pleased about as we’ve been told it’s the vineyards worst nightmare and they are just about to start their harvest.  We are staying in Digoin until Wednesday as the forecast is not good for Tuesday.

Our mooring at Digoin,
we liked it better than the port du plaisance which feels rather claustraphobic

The river Loire

The aquaduct we will go over to leave Digoin -
The beginning of the Canal Lateral a la Loire