Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Return journey from Corre to Roanne (Saöne/canal du Centre/Roanne Digoin Canal

Since I last blogged we’ve retraced our route back from Corre to Roanne along the river Saöne, the canal du Centre, and the Roanne Digoin Canal.  We have had a wonderful time, with great weather, no disasters, just about every mooring we planned to stop at was available, and we’ve met some great people along the way.  We’ve taken our time, not moving if the weather was forecast to rain or thunderstorm, staying for a few days if we liked the place, or moved on if not.  We have had to call the police a couple of times, which was unfortunate but dealing with the Gendarmes was a very positive experience, with brilliant response times.

I’ll write a shortish résumé of our trips and moorings.

Thursday 13th July
Corre PK 407 to Fouchécourt PK381
21.9km/3 locks/3.5hr

We stayed two nights at Fouchécourt, which was very enjoyable.  We were there for Bastille Day (Kevs' birthday) and Roger the chef and captainaire put on a mini firework display which was fun.

Saturday 15th July
Fouchécourt PK381 to Port sur Saone PK365
16km/1 lock/1 hr
Port sur Soane

Monday 17th July
Port sur Saone PK365 To Scey-Sur-Saone PK356
9km/2 locks/1.5hr

Scey-sur-Saone was a new mooring for us and it is a beautiful spot just by a weir.  It is a popular mooring for hire boats but they tended to stop for lunch and then move on so it was quite quiet during the evenings.

At the locks on the Saöne there are mirrors which made
for some interesting pictures of Rangali


Idyllic setting at Scey-sur-Saöne
Thursday 20th Juy
Scey-sur-Saone PK356 to Soing PK333
23km/3 locks/1 tunnel/2 hrs 40 mins

We were pleased to be able to moor back at this nice quiet mooring.  We were joined in the evening by a yacht, which moored alongside us for the night.
Our neighbours for the night

Friday 21st July
Soing PK333 to Savoyeaux PK314
19km/4 locks/1 tunnel/2 hrs

One of the canalised section (deviations) on the River Saöne

Even though we weren’t keen on the Savoyeaux mooring when we moored there earlier this year, we decided to stop there again as we knew we could just squeeze onto the end pontoon.  It was fun watching the hire boats returning at the end of their holiday and try and moor up in the tight spots allocated to them.  The hire boats from this place all looked like private boats that were hired out, some of them looked very nice boats.

Saturday 22nd Juy
Savoyeaux PK314 to Gray PK283
31km/1 tunnel/4 locks/3 hours

We set off at 8.50am and had to hang around for a short time for the tunnel to open.  Luckily we were first in the queue so it made our trip very easy and we were pleased to find a space for us on the quay at Gray where we stayed for one week.  We even got electric at Gray which was great (its free there)

Saturday 29th July
Gray PK283 to Mantoche PK276
7km/0 locks/40 mins

We were lucky when we got to Mantoche as a large cruiser was just leaving so we were able to perch on the end of the quay.

We really like the mooring at Mantoche but it was rather spoilt this time by us noticing a young man who was obviously selling drugs, very near to our mooring.  Over a couple of days we slowly put two and two together as we noticed him hanging around with his phone and occasionally a young person would meet up with him for a short time, and then disappear.  On the Monday evening this young guy joined a chap who was fishing extremely close to the stern of our boat and it looked like they were smoking drugs at the same time.  We were sat on our back deck and we tried to ignore them but when the guy who was fishing lobbed his line right over our back awning, we could hear all the bait falling onto our awning roof.  Kev lost it and told them that he was going to call the police as they were smoking drugs!  They scarpered pretty quickly.  We've never seen a fisherman get his gear together so quickly!  Kev did call the police and they turned up within 10 minutes, which is pretty amazing.  We explained what we had seen happening and they drove off to see if they could find the two young men in the village.  We decided to move off the next day.

A nice quiet spot if there are no druggies around!

Tuesday 1st August
Mantoche PK276 to Auxonne PK234.5
42.5km/3 locks/5 hours

We had a long cruise today to Auxonne. We moored back in the Auxonne H2O marina.

Friday 4th August
Auxonne PK234 to St Jean de Losne PK215
19km/1 lock 3 hours including stop for fuel

When we got to SJdL there was no space on the quay so we phoned H2O and they had space for us on their visitor mooring.  It was nice to moor somewhere different at SJdL, it was very peaceful moored in the marina.

A beautiful sunset at our mooring at H2O

Monday 7th August
St Jean de Losne PK215 to Fragnes on Canal du Centre PK8
68km/3 locks/5.5 hrs

We had a really good trip down the Saone to Chalons.  It was a lovely sunny day and we managed to arrive at Fragnes by 2.30pm after leaving SJdL at 8.30am.  The captainaire at Fragnes is off on Monday and Tuesday so she said she couldn't reserve a mooring for us but luckily there was plenty of space when we arrived.  Even better, the restaurant was open so we were able to have a meal.  We thought they’d be closed for their annual holiday but luckily we’d just got there a few days before they closed for two weeks.

One of the big boys on the river Saöne

Wednesday 9th August
Fragnes PK8  to Santenay PK25.3
17.3km/11 locks/5 hours

A very pretty cottage on the canal du Centre 

It was a long cruise today with some delays on locks with either boat traffic coming the other way or malfunctioning locks.  We were pleased to find space for us at our favorite mooring at Santenay.  We decided to stop a few days here; it was quite busy with hotel barges stopping off for a few hours to drop off their guests for tours to Santenay.   We had another enjoyable dinner out at the restaurant Le Terroir in the town.

Saturday 12th August
Santenay PK24.8 to St Ledger sur Dheune PK 32.3
7.5km/4 locks/1 hr 45 mins

Santenay was busy with hotel barges, its a very narrow section.

Monday 13th August
St Ledger to St Julien PK45
13 km/11 locks/ 3hours

Mooring at St Ledger, just out of the town

Since we’ve entered the Canal du Centre its all been up hill locks, some of them are quite deep 5m, with floating bollards.  They are fun to do when sharing with another boat!

Tuesday 15th August
St Julien PK45 to Blanzy PK61.5
16.5km/7 locks/4 hrs 50 mins

Leaving St ledger

Another longish day cruise, we were pleased to find a space just big enough for us at Blanzy. 

Beautiful evening at Blanzy, looks ready for a storm though!

Thursday 17th August
Blanzy PK61.5 to Genélard PK82
19.5km/9 locks/4hrs 30 mins

Saturday 19th August
Genélard PK82 to Paray-le-Monial PK102
20km/7 locks/4 hours including our delay at lock 17

We had pre booked our first lock of the day lock 17, but when we arrived at 9am it didn’t prepare for us.  We had to hang around for ages before a very nice lock keeper drove from Montceaux les Mines to sort it out for us.  While we were waiting a gentleman came from his garden asking if I’d like some vegetables and salad for 4 euros.  It was pot luck what I got, I was given green beans, different types of tomatoes, courgettes, lettuce, onions and some potatoes!  There were so many tomatoes I made a tomato soup and froze it.
Paray Le Monial

We had a lovely time in Paray, it was pretty busy on Saturday and Sunday as there was a big religious event going on. We did experience two disturbances over the week though, which wasn't so good.  On the Sunday morning at 5am I was woken up by a sound of someone on our roof.   We quickly got up and found a young couple standing on our roof by the wheelhouse.  We’ve no idea why they decided it was a good idea to board our boat and I think they got a big fright when they had me shouting at them to get off!!

Later on in the week we also got disturbed just after we had gone to bed at midnight by youths boarding our boat to steal our bikes.  They are fold up bikes and they were in a locked position but not locked to the boat.  We foolishly thought that, as we were in a religious town, there wouldn’t be any crime! 

They managed to get one of our bikes and run off with it.  They couldn’t ride it as it was locked in the fold up position and we had also taken off the saddles.  Kev rang the police and explained what had happened, describing the youths and the bike.  They said they would send someone round to see us.  45/60 minutes went by with no sign of the police.  We then got a phone call to say they had apprehended the youths and had got our bike back!! They said they would return the bike to us the next day, so we went to bed.  We’d just got back into bed when we heard a vehicle.  So we got back up to find it was the police with our bike and three other bikes!  They wanted to know if they were ours too!  They didn’t manage to arrest the youths, as they weren’t found actually with the bikes, just standing away from them.  Then next morning we were phoned at 8am to ask us to go to the police station to file a report.  When we got there after cycling half an hour in the rain, the police on duty looked confused as to why we were there and to start off with were reluctant to take a statement.  But they did in the end, but it will be a waste of time, as we couldn’t really describe the youths.  We were very impressed with the police though and so happy to get our bike back.

Friday 25th August
Paray PK 102 to Digoin/Chavanne PK5
13km/4 locks/2hrs 35mins

We really regret stopping at Chavanne (the woodpile mooring) this time, as we didn’t realise that the trees were dropping sap all over the boat. After rain and then a hot sunny day, the sap baked onto the roof of the boat and made a right mess.  It looked like the roof was covered with rust.  It took me days to scrub the roof clean, losing some of the white paint in the process.

We thought the sap from the trees would just wipe off but NO! Extremely hard to remove!

Over the past few days we had got to know a lovely couple, Werner and Lisa off a very nice Linsen cruiser and we enjoyed quite a few sociable evenings with them.  We were sad to see them leave Chavanne on the Thursday to carry on their journey to Decize for the winter.

Monday 28th August
Chavanne PK5 to Croix Rouge PK49
8km/3 locks/1 hr 45 mins

Phew!  A very hot day and night was spent here at Croix Rouge.  Luckily we had electric so could use our air conditioning in the bedroom.

Tuesday 29th August
Le Croix rouge PK 49 to Briennon PK15
34km/4 locks/ 6 hours

We left Croix Rouge at 7.45am, which is a very early start for us.  We had a great trip and we were moored at Briennon by 1.45pm.  Unfortunately the electric point wasn’t working so we couldn’t use our air conditioning and it was such a hot, and humid day.

Wednesday 30th August
Briennon PK15 to Roanne port
15km/3 locks/3.5 hours

We had a slightly longer trip as they were clearing weed from one section of the canal but we were moored up at Roanne port our winter mooring by 12.30pm.

We were held up at this lock while the weed muncher was fixed (it had broken down)
and then was able to munch up the weed.
We were happy to wait rather than plough through the soup of weed.

Quite a hard thing to manoeuvre 

This was a weed cutter we came across further up the canal

Our last lock of the season
Roanne Port our home for Rangali for the winter

We’ve had a fantastic cruise this year.  We had some very hot days, not much rain, which lead to some problems for some cruising on the canals.  We feel that we were very lucky in the fact that we weren’t badly effected by the low water levels, we always seemed to be able to moor where we had planned.  That could have been because the canals and rivers were quieter this year.  This also meant less socializing than normal, but that was probably good news for our livers!  We travelled 1259 km with 408 locks.