Friday 16th June
Epinal to Nomexy PK71
15km/10 locks/4 hours 45 mins
We left Epinal at 8.15am to get to the first lock just before 9am. At 10am we had just gone past what looked like a gravel depot when we both thought “I wonder if there are commercials working on this section of the canal?” when a few minutes later we see one coming towards us! Luckily it is on a wide section of the canal. We came across two more fully laden commercial barges. They are very strange looking as the skipper sits in a wheelhouse at the front of the barge, and as its fully laden it sits very low in the water.
|We saw this one coming up the lock so we decided to tie up to a fence and lamp post until it went past, |
our worst nightmare would to damage our propeller in a shallow section,
the commercial barges take no prisoners!
|The third barge we came across, ominously waiting for us to come out of the lock|
|This is where the commercial barges load up PK76|
We decide to moor up at Nomexy as we had been recommended to go and see the fortress at Châtel-sur-Moselle. We wait until 3.30pm to walk over to Châtel-sur-Moselle to join the 4pm tour. The underground rooms are supposed to be worth seeing but we were told when we got there that they weren’t running English speaking tours as the tour guide had an injury to her leg and we weren’t allowed to go down on our own.
We had read on the DBA mooring guide that the mooring can be noisy with youths on motorbikes and mopeds but we suffered no annoying problems, and it was nice to see groups of people playing boules very late into the evening.
|A nice shady mooring at Nomexy|
Saturday 17th June
Nomexy PK71 to Charmes PK61
10km/6 locks/2.5 hours
We had a nice easy cruise to Charmes. It is a favourable mooring in the sense that it has good facilities, water and electric but it is rather crowded with camper vans, overlooking the canal, but once we had moored we got used to them being so close to us. We felt bad about spoiling their view of the canal.
|Not so Charmes!|
|A Storks nest made up for the crowded camper van park|
It was very close to our mooring so we could hear the noises the stork made with its beak
when its mate returned to the nest
It was very noisy at night with youths shouting and singing nearby until the early hours of the morning. It is very hot at the moment so the nights are warm and we have the skylights open, so noise does travel.
Even though it was noisy Saturday night we decided to stay on at Charmes. It was going to be a hot, windy day on Sunday, plus we had heard that two commercials would be coming up the canal so we’d thought we’d give them a wide berth!! I know we are always looking out for large barges coming in the opposite direction, but its horrible knowing there is one definitely coming our way! Even worse when you know there is going to be two of them!
|A good decision to stay on at Charmes, two of these came through moving quite fast|
Monday 19th June
Charmes PK61 to Richardménil PK30
31km/15 locks/7 hours
We had a very long, very hot day today to make up for being so lazy yesterday! We had an easy trip to Richardménil and arrived to a busy mooring at just before 4pm. It is a strange mooring as the bollards are set quite a way back from the side of the canal but there isn’t any space to walk so you have to step over everyone’s ropes. We were also moored at the end of the quay, no view and it felt very claustrophobic. The town of Richardménil is situated up on a hill, it was far too hot and we were far too tired to explore. The heat wave has really set in.
Tuesday 20th June
Richardménil to Nancy
18km/16 locks/7 hours aprox
We had another very long day and it was so, so hot. We left the Vosges Canal to join the Nancy Branch Canal. This short canal has 18 locks over 12 km. It links the valley of the Meuthe with that of the Moselle. We controlled the locks with the same zapper we’ve been using on the Vosges canal. The first 5 locks were going up and they were awkward as the bollards are quite widely spaced so we used just a bow rope and the engine. Something we personally aren’t keen on doing, as we have heard of the bow rope failing. We know how easily a rope slices when under tension when we’ve had to cut a trapped rope going down in a lock. You just touch it with a sharp knife and bam, its cut through! The remaining 13 locks are all down, 10 of them are all one after the other over a very short distance.
We caught up with another boat (a small cruiser) up at lock no.1 of the group of 10 locks as they had a problem with a lock not working, so we shared the next 13 locks with them until we got to the end of the canal. Bet they groaned when they saw us coming as I am sure we slowed them down a little, and it was such a hot day.
We were moored up at Nancy by 4pm. We were almost feeling ill it was so hot and we had no shade where we were moored. We waited until it was a bit cooler to go and have dinner at Stanislas Square, but the heat and humidity was still there until late in the evening.
There have been signs/talk that there could be problems on the waterways due to lack of water, so we decided that we would leave the exploring of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin towards Strasbourg for another year and we will make our way slowly back to Roanne, making a detour down the river Saone to Lyon.
We felt really bad that we didn’t stay longer at Nancy, but the heat wave made it so uncomfortable and being in a city environment seemed to make it worse. We will be back and hopefully we will spend longer there exploring the city.
|Stanislas Square was very impressive|
|Still 38.4C at 9.40pm in our wheelhouse|
Wednesday 21st June
Nancy PK164 to mooring on Nancy Branch before lock 10
We decided to stop at a mooring by a supermarket after lock 26. We were able to take the trolley to the boat so we bought loads more bottled water, as we’ve been drinking at least 4 x 1.5L bottles a day.
It was due to be another scorcher so we only went through 3 of the locks on the Nancy Branch canal and moored by noon at a lovely, shady spot just before the flight of 10 locks.
Thursday 22nd June
Lock 10 to Richardménil PK 30
8km/15 locks/4hrs 15mins
It was another incredibly hot day. We travelled up the 10 locks in just over 2 hours, all working perfectly.
|You can see the next lock. They work in a chain so as you go through one lock, the next lock is getting prepared|
|And yet another lock ahead!|
When we came out of the Nancy Branch canal to turn left onto the Vosges Canal, a commercial was just going past, so it ends up being in front of us. It is moving so slowly, it takes us yonks just to travel the 1km to Richardménil. It makes our mind up about mooring there again as we would take ages following this slow barge.
|Bad timing as we leave the Nancy Branch canal as this commercial is just going past|
we follow it for 1km, painfully slow
Its only 1pm so we decide to walk into the town to find a boulangerie. Bad decision! It’s a very steep hill, on a very hot day, the boulangerie is closed and the supermarket is right at the end of the town. As we are walking there we notice a huge storm heading our way, it was forecast so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But we realise we’ve left our hatches open, so I run back to the boat whilst Kev continues to find the supermarket. I get back in time and actually the storm just misses us, probably only by a few miles. Kev came back with a very flushed face, overheated from the long walk but with a baguette in hand.
We get hooked up to the electric and have our air conditioning on to cool our bedroom down before going to bed. Bliss, a cool room to sleep in!
|We preferred this spot at Richardménil, we had more of a view|
Friday 23rd June
Richardménil PK30 to PK 43
13km/8 locks/ 2hrs 45 mins
We have a lovely cruise to moor up in a very quiet spot, shaded again by trees, no other boat moored here. A bit different to Richardménil, which both times has been jam packed full of boats.
Saturday 24th June
PK43 to Charmes PK60.5
17.5km/10 locks/4 hours
|A pretty section of the canal|
Another great cruise to Charmes where we decide to moor back at the same spot as before. I have a little medical worry, which we decide it would be good to get some medical advice on, so being moored in a town rather than in the middle of nowhere was preferable. We visit the local pharmacy and there was an incredibly helpful lady who rang a emergency telephone number and arranges for me to see a local Dr later that day and she also then helps us book a taxi to get there as he is in the next town.
I see the Dr, who didn’t speak any Englsih, so with Google translate and my limited French I manage to have a consultation and get a prescription for some antibiotics.
Sunday 25th June
Charmes PK60.5 to Epinal
We had a long trip, all our 16 locks were going up, but we are very slick with them and they all work well. We wanted to leave on Sunday and get through the section of canal where the gravel commercial barges work PK76 to PK81 as we knew they didn’t work at the weekend. We weren't sure if we could moor up in Epinal as we had heard the embranchment was closed due to low water levels. But when we got to the locks near to the turn off we asked a VNF man if it was open and he surprised us by saying yes it was. So we were moored up by 3pm. Lots of space to moor, which was fab. The heat wave is breaking and there are storms forecast over the next few days.
My medical concern hadn’t been helped by the antibiotic I was given on Saturday so on Monday we went off to the hospital in Epinal and after spending the morning there being very well looked after, I came away with another prescription for more antibiotics, 5 days worth this time, so hopefully these will work. We are staying here in Epinal until we are happy that I’m better and also the forecast isn’t good so we probably wouldn’t have been travelling anyway. We have had some big thunderstorms and heavy rain, so hopefully this will alleviate some of the water level concerns on the canals.
|A quieter Epinal port|