Friday, 12 August 2016

Canal Lateral a Loire continued..Beaulon/Gannay/DecizeFleury-sur-Loire/Nevers/Corres Les Barres/Beffes/Menetreol sous Sancerre

We've had a fabulous time carrying on our journey along the Canal Latéral à Loire.  We've travelled this canal before but I'd forgotten how it changes after Nevers.  From Digoin to Nevers it is a wide, easy canal, most of the bridges are wide so you hardly have to slow down for them, but that then does make the canal a little boring.  After Nevers to where we are now, near Sancerre, it gets much more picturesque, with narrower bridges, nicer views, and canal banks a little more overgrown.

I've really enjoyed the fact that along a major part of the canal there is the Velo Route 6, a cycle route that runs thorough 10 countries for 3653 km from the Atlantic to the Black Sea.  Velo Route 6 follows the Loire, Doubs, Rhine and the Danube.  This means its been very simple to carry on with my running, along the cycle route, away from cars, and with the fabulous view of the canal.

Velo Route 6
We see lots of cyclists with their panniers fully laden following the route for their holiday
staying in B&B's and camping along the way.

As we have now got into the month of August we have come across lots of businesses closed for their annual holidays.  This can be very disappointing when you find a highly recommended restaurant on Trip Advisor to find it is closed for 3-4 weeks!

We have also noticed a lot more hire boats around, which is good to see as I am sure with the breach of the canal north of us it means that there aren't any private barges coming down the canal from Paris.

While we were in Nevers Port we had a fabulous evening with some friends who stayed at the city on their way back from the south of France.  

We are now moored at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre.  We had a lovely cruise here, a beautiful sunny morning, no wind, so very still waters that make for good photos.  We've been very lucky with our moorings so far.  Its alway great when you plan to moor up somewhere you especially like, to arrive and find a perfect sized space for Rangali!

A Summary of our travels

Friday 29th July
Beaulon to Gannay 2 hrs 14km 3 locks
We saw more Storks circling high in the sky at Gannay, and we even saw a Stork nest perched on top of a dead tree trunk.

Proof we have seen Storks this year, a very big bird

A boulangerie at Beaulon-Open!

Saturday 30th July
Gannay to Decize 4 hrs  16km 5 locks
The lock keeper at Gannay was a little slow getting us through which meant we got to Decize automatic lock just after 12 noon so we had to wait until 1pm to get into the marina.

We enjoyed staying at Decize marina but we were disappointed to find the Charolais Restaurant in the town had closed down, it was a thriving business when we where there two years ago.  Decize is easy to stay at as there is a nearby supermarket within easy walking distance.

Tuesday 2nd August
Decize to Fleury sur Loire 2.25 hrs 11.5km 2 locks

The boulangerie was open, (closed on Wednesdays)
A very nice mooring with a cafe that is open for lunch and dinner

Fleury sur Loire
Wednesday 3rd August
Fleury sur Loire to Nevers 5 hrs 22.5km 5 locks

Its about a 2 mile walk into the city of Nevers from the port,
there are some really lovely old buildings but the town does seem rather run down in places

Our mooring at Nevers Port

Sunday 7th August
Nevers to Cours Les Barres  5.5 hrs 23km 5 locks

Monday 8th August 
Cours les Barres to Beffes 1.5hrs 8.5 km 3 locks
Beffes is a really lovely mooring.  A lot of investment has been made into the facilities for the town. The quay is immaculate, water and electric that you pay for by credit/debit card 5.6 euros for 24 hrs.  the washing/dryer machine was rather busy!

A very nice mooring at Beffes, far right is barge Sojourn
Rob and Pam off Barge Sojourn arrived at Beffes on Tuesday, they are making their way back along the canal from Briare. We had two very sociable evenings with them and we really look forward to seeing them again in Roanne at the end of September.

I enjoyed a bike ride with Pam and Rob along some of Velo route 6
Charity sur Loire in the background

I made the mistake in going for a run late afternoon
it was still too hot and I found it very tough, this was me just setting off
my face was bright red when I got back to the boat

Thursday 11th August 
Beffes to Champalay (Nearish Pouilly Sur Loire) 4 hrs 20.5km 4 locks
We got to our first lock at 9am, having booked it for 9am the day before.  We had noticed when we left Beffes that the water level was very high.  We are not sure what happened overnight, maybe someone didn't leave to sluices in the correct position, but we had to wait at the lock for about 45 mins before we were let through, with the reason being that there wasn't enough water depth on the other side of the lock.  This meant we didn't get to our last planned lock of the day before 12 noon so we had to wait until 1pm to be let though.

After moooring up at Champalay we walked 4.5km into Pouilly sur Loire to buy some bottles of Pouilly Fume.  We found a wine producer that was happy to deliver to the boat as it was too far to carry more than a couple of bottles of wine and we'd bought 24!
A very quiet mooring, wild mint growing in the grass
so there was a lovely aroma as you walked over it

Friday 12th August
Champalay to Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre 1.45 hrs 9km 2 locks

A beautiful mornings cruise

Sancerre in the background, a very pretty lock

A lovely mooring,  right next to a busy little restaurant and there is a boulangerie, open this time, last time we were here they were on holiday.

A beautiful spot to moor at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre

We had a 4 course lunch for 13 euros each-main course was Moules and Frites
House wine Sancerre
We've booked for dinner tomorrow night (Sat)
it's a set three course meal with free music, it is a holiday weekend this weekend in France

A glass of Sancerre, 1.25 euros a glass!
We have planned to go into Briare Port and we have arranged for a parcel to be delivered there.  I emailed Dorothee the Captainaire today just to say that a parcel would be arriving for us and when we thought we'd get there.  About 30 minutes later, Kevin was accosted by a lady by our boat asking if he was the husband of Debbie....He was a little turns out that Dorothee is here on a boat taking a little holiday and had just received my email and then saw Rangali moored just along from her so shecame to talk to us directly.  She has found Briare Port extremely quiet this year because of the breach in the canal, so there has been no traffic from the north, so she decided to take a break while its quiet.  Dorothee reckons the canal is due to open at the end of August.