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in all of us there is a restlessness,
a sense there should be more to life,
that it should be different to how it is.
This restlessness will not go away,
nor will it ever be satisfied,
all we have is the trying and after that the trying again.

Peter Mortimer


Neronville to Herry

Sat 07 July
Neronville- Montargis (Canal De Loing-Canal De Briare 21 km 10 locks)


Ecluse.

Brise barre 6 lift 1.76 m
Nargris 5 lift 1.39 m

Retourne 4 lift 1.94 m

Montabon 3 lift 1.41 m

Vallees 2 lift 1.49 m

Cepoy 1 lift 1.52 m

Buges 36 lift 1.46 m

Langlee 35 lift 2.30 m

La Reinette 34 lift 2.18 m

La Marolle 33 lift 4.80 m

montargis
Montargis

A fairly leisurely start to the day as we went off exploring the local country side looking for Chateaux Landon. We only have 20 km to cover today and as the locks are all staffed by students, who always have the locks ready for you, we knew we could cover this distance comfortably in half a day. The journey itself is very pleasant with scenic views and very pleasant staff who are extremely helpful. They will ask you if you are intending to continue after this lock and give advise as to where haltes are best for different type of boats. They also will ring ahead and inform the lock of your arrival.

montagris

Montargis halte fluviale

What's more, if you make the effort to speak french, and are clearly struggling they will answer in good English but you have to make the effort first. It's possibly true that the further south you go the more pleasant the people become. However we have been warned about Montargis and will pass on this information, do not moor in the industrial zone just down stream of the city. Go through and complete the last lock which is a large 4.8 m and what's more there are no floating buoys, no ladders, no moorings in the walls. The little girl who operates the lock lowers a line and hook for you to put your lines on and she secures it to the bollard. Immediately on exit of the lock is a halte that has electricity and water for 5.80 euro a night. Access to the city is only minutes away, as this is city centre. It's a beautiful place with an all day market on Saturday, the canal passes right through the centre. For size it's probably on pare with a large English Town like Berwick.


montagris
Montagris town center

 

Sun 08 July Montargis-Chatillon Coligny (Canal de Briare 23 km 8 locks)



Ecluse

la Tuilerie 32 lift 2.12 m

Sablonniere 32 lift 3.01 m

Souffre douleur 30 lift 3.70 m

Min de Tours 29 lift 3.72 m auto

Chesnoy 28 lift 3.73 m auto

Montambert 27 lift 3.70 m auto

Montbouy 26 lift 5.12 m
mountbouy
Ecluse Mount Bouy, thats a Bentteau 36 inside


Lepinoy 25 lift 4.94 m

Another fairly straight forward day, should be quiet as it's Sunday. As usual nothing goes according to plan, as you can see from the heights of the locks these are deep locks for this stretch of canal, what's more and you don't find this out until your nearly inside the first lock, these have no where to put your lines, it's no problem if you are travelling alone because you can tie to the ladders but as the French holiday season approaches more and more pleasure boats are taking to the water and you find yourself having to double up. With the lock at Souffre douleur 30 the lock keeper has a line with a hook on for you to place your lines and he secures them to the bollards, the next two locks are automatic and the keeper didn't come with us. I had to put Debs ashore before the lock to walk up and catch the lines for us. These locks don't have any rising bollards, rising lines or wall fixings, you can only use the bollards on the top and there's no way your going to reach them from the deck. This would be a very difficult stretch for a single hander. At Ecluse Montbouy the navicart tell us there are showers available, we couldn't find them, neither could a local woman we asked. There is a very pleasant fluviale with 2 meters depth, water, electricity on tokens available form the the local Tabac and Boulangerie. Worth stopping if you have showers onboard, if not keeping going another 2 locks and 3 km to Chatillon-Coligny. A great little town steeped in history since the Roman times. Mr Becquerel 1810-1878 Pionnier de l electricite. As you round the bend in the canal the pontoons are on the right. Water, electricity and the town only minutes away and it's free, oh yes and really good showers, which is why we stopped here. As part of exploring any town we always make for the church's, just happened tonight was a concert by Choeur Forbelle-Jeuneviox, a choir of 55 young people ranging from 7 to 18 years old. We have never heard singing like this. A good way to spend an evening.


Tue 09 July
Chatillon-Coligny to Rogny Les Sept Ecluse (Canal De Briare 9 km 6 locks)



roman gate
A Roman gate still used in the town wall.


Ecluse

Chatillon 24 lift3.24 m

Gazon 23 lift 3.26 m

Briquemault 22 lift 3.28 m

Min Brule 21 lift 3.48m

Picardie 20 lift 3.48 m

Dammarie 19 lift 3.48 m

We stopped in Chatillon until lunch time in order to do some shopping, to days travel was only 9 km and we thought it was going to be easy. However the last three locks are banked very close together which helps to get them over with but doesn't give you much time to sort the boat out between locks. All of these locks are manned and none of them have any form of mooring built into the walls. They are all to high to get a line on from the deck. We reached Min Brule at about 1230 hrs , the ecluse was closed for lunch, there is moorings just before every lock for just such occasions, the water levels here are only 1.2 m we had to raft to a motor boat that was already moored. At 1300 hrs the locks open and off we go, the motor boat was hard aground. Stopping places with enough depth of water are hard to find on this stretch of canal.

new canal

the new locks on the strech of the canal at Rogny


Rogny a little town has a fluviale but again you have to pick your mooring very carefully as even here places have only 1.2 m. You always go bow gently in with a crew member up front watching and feeling with a boat hook for the bottom. The quay wall in new, electricity and water, showers and WIFI all included for 11 euro a night and if you stop two nights the second night is half price. The staff at the office will even run you to in a car the 8 km to the supermarket all in the price.

fluviale
Rogny fluviale, with chandlers, bars and restaurants.


The fluviale office is 50 m away in he form of the local chandlers, with engineering facilities, they will lend you equipment as well. I borrowed a wood saw and a drill with hole cutter, to cut the fender board in half so I could use it on both sides permanently. You need them!!



Wed 11 July 07
Rogny Les sept Ecluse-Chatillon sur Loire (Canal de Briare-Canal Lateral a la Loire 24 km 14 locks)



sevenlocks

The ancient seven step Ecluse that was built in the 15th century. This is under going restoration at present. However the new canal runs along side and is fully automatic

Ste Barbe 18 lift 4.15 m

Rogny 17 lift 4.15 m

Chantepinot 16 lift 4.15 m

St Joseph 15 lift 41.5 m

Racault 14 lift 4.15 m

Javaciere 13 lift 3.95 m

Gazone 12 lift 2.34 m

Pit Chaloy 11 lift 3.75 m

Notre Dame 10 lift 3.69 m

Les Fees 9 lift 3.72 m

Min Neuf 8 lift 3.72 m

Ouzouer 7 lift 4 m

Courenvaux 6 lift 3.89 m

Venon 5 lift 3.46 m

pont canal
The entrance to the Pont canal


0900 hrs cast off to be first in the locks, to complete the six lock staircase before the traffic starts. For some reason the whole of the French waterways start at 0700 hrs, this lock starts at 0900 hrs. 1000 hrs have completed the first six locks of today's run now theirs only eight more to do but they are down hill from here and they are all automatic which means we operate them and we can get ourselves in and out quicker then with a keeper. 1200 hrs got stuck again at number 8 lock because of dinner time, even though this is automatic they shut down for dinner, problem being that when you try to moor on the side of the canal their is seldom enough water for us and we end up sticking the stern out into the canal. On the exit of this lock Debs lost her footing on deck when trying to push off the side falling badly on the guard rail, very nearly going over the side, she's black and blue from head to toe. Gave me a bloody fright as well. 1430 hrs we reach our target Briare with the pont canal over the river Loire, I remember this from years ago when you travelled France with the kids, camping. 1500 hrs we approach the pont canal very cautiously looking for traffic control system as this bridge is 1 km long 5 meters wide, single file only and the sides are ragy as hell if you have to lean on them for any reason. Right on the entrance, still no lights. We finally just sail straight on and decide the possession is nine tenths.

chalon
Chatillon Sur Loire halte fluviale


Luckily nothing came the other way, we couldn't believe that something like this could not be controlled by lights or time. Debs was taking photos asking me to smile, I was too worried about something coming the other way and concentrating on keeping the boat in the middle. 1530 hrs arrived Chatillon sur Loire and found an empty birth, this is the only sure way of finding enough water to moor safely in. a birth for a 10 m boat cost us 7 euro, water included electricity extra. Had a quick look around the town and will pop back tomorrow before we leave as there's a market on. However the town looks run down and the pleasure boat operate who occupies part of the fluviale is warning people not to leave valuables on display and always lock your boats when your not on board. This is the first time we've be told this in France, we have been able to leave the boat not only unlocked but open while we've been away. Services- water, electric, showers, toilets all for 7 euro a night. Having said that the toilets where filthy and we didn't use the showers either.

 

Thurs 12 July 07
Chatillon Sur Loire - Herry(canal lateral a la Loire 50 km 8 locks)



Maimbray 38 lift 2.08 m

Belleville 37 lift 2.00 m

Houards 36 lift 1.79 m

Peseau 35 lift 2.13 m

Bannay 34 lift 3.00 m

Thouvenay 33 lift 3.75 m

Grange 32 lift 1.75 m

Pree 31 lift 1.97 m

When they decide to cut the verges , they dump all the cuttings
in the canal, we had 5Km of this


grass


Cast off about 1000 hrs today, took a walk around the local market before leaving as we had a small amount of locks to complete. The distances aren't the problem, it's the locks that slow you down. Today went straight forward, no problems with the locks or the boat and we arrived at Herry 1630 hrs. a small town with a history dating from 721. The Navicartes indicate that this town has all services to offer, which is why we picked to stay here. There is no showers , no fuel, water and electric are there but are controlled by tokens. We stayed the night anyway. It was free.

lock keepers cottage
Lock keeper cottage at Ecluse Retourne canal de Loing

cepoy
Cepoy mill