Good news! We did move on from St Leger and our temporary fix is still fixed. So far so good. We left St Leger on Wednesday, June 17, a gorgeous day, blue skies, sunshine, warm and dry. Perfect for boating. Having had a look at the map we decided to head for Montchanin, a small town about 15kms away and the summit of the Canal du Centre. 19 locks uphill though, many over 5 meters. We stopped for lunch at St Julien-sur-Dheune, a quiet village with a few bollards to tie up to and apparently water was available from the Maire. In retrospect we should have stayed there the night because on arriving in Montchanin, after those 19 uphill locks, we took one look at the place and decided to carry on. It just looked a bit sad and uninviting.
At least now we were going downhill. We finally stopped for the night in Blanzy, a small town with a handful of bollards and free power if you could reach the box. We couldn’t. Just as well we have our trusty generator. We took a tour of the town. As in up one street and down the other. Boulangerie, boucherie, tabac. All the usual suspects. The mooring is on a road and not peaceful but we were pretty tired so it didn’t really matter.
Stats for the day: 28 kms, 26 locks-19 uphill, 7 downhill-, climbed 67 metres and then dropped 17.5 metres. Not a bad workout. I could hardly walk next day.
Speaking of the next day, today, Thursday, we were up reasonably early as we had a 10am time slot to start the next chain of locks. Alan had chatted to a French couple also tied up at Blanzy who were heading out then so we followed behind them, sharing the days’ locks. Originally we thought we would just cruise down to the next town, Montceau-les-Mains, and stay there a night but the French couple warned us of a ‘disco’ that was open until 5am right by the port de plaisance so we took their advise and continued on to Génelard, a town about 20kms further on. 9 locks, all less than 3 meters, on and it was an easy day, taking only 4 and a half hours.
Génelard is another small town but with an interesting history. The Demarkation Line of WW2 that separated the occupied North from the free Vichy government of the South, is marked by the bridge here across the Canal du Centre. The Germans guarded this bridge, checking everything going from North to South but as the town cemetery was on the south side of the bridge, people would escape to the south pretending to be part of a funeral cortège!
We are going to have a better look around tomorrow, maybe go for a bike ride. We are parked in a nice basin with quite a few other boats including a few Aussies and Brits. A very kind Aussie lent us an extension cord so that we can hook onto the free power. There’s even a water tap! All the luxuries. We may stay a few days.
We worked out today that since we started on the Canal du Centre we climbed 119.2 metres to the summit with a total of 34 up locks. From the summit the Canal goes down to Digoin by way of 26 locks. From there you can go onto the Canal Lateral a la Loire or take a side trip down the Canal de Roanne à Digoin to Roanne. Decisions!
Blanzy mooring. Looks nice from the bridge.
The French boat we followed. Here you can see two of the three lifting bridges in Montceau-les-Mines. They work automatically after pulling a cord in the middle of the canal. Very entertaining.