Thursday July 28th. Pont Royal proved to be an excellent mooring. Quiet, well maintained, plenty of room. The chambre d’hôtel (B&B) opposite runs the mooring and takes orders for bread the night before. There is a nice looking restaurant on the main road but it was closed for their annual holiday. Quelle surprise.
What’s really cute are the geese, chickens and dogs, a St Bernard-type dog and a lab, roaming around. I also saw a French bulldog strutting his stuff.
We headed off at 8.45 behind the Dutch boat having said farewell to the Italians yesterday. As they were in a hurry they carried on up the canal when we moored up. I’m sure they were glad to see the back of us!
How easy it is in contrast to have just two boats in the first lock. C’est facile! Not only that but after that first lock we had a 10km stretch without a lock in sight. Formidable! A great opportunity to eat our croissants and drink our coffee while taking in the bucolic Burgundy countryside.
The weather had become overcast and a little cool. I was loving it.
We motored through the Tranchée de Creusot, a 1130m narrow cutting with turning bays along the way. On the other side the scenery was very pastoral and the canal lined with toi tois (not sure what they called here).
After the 10km stretch there were 12 more locks, nine in a staircase, to ascend before finally reaching the summit at Pouilly-en-Auxois. And then the Pouilly Tunnel. 3.35kms long, beam 5.12m and air height 3.10m. We will probably have to dismantle our windscreen to fit in.
But that is for another day and we’re not in any hurry so will stay in Pouilly-sur-Auxois for a couple of days.
By the time we approached lock 7 the wind had picked up considerably and, having locked up, there was a vicious cross wind that picked up both boats when we untied to motor out and flung us both at the left side of the lock. The water level was very high and the poor boat in front hit the side with a crash and then scraped along before being pushed into the side of the bank. Not good. I pushed as hard as I could with the boat hook to move us off the top of the lock and was able to make a small gap while Alan gunned the engine to allow some steering and we just got out, hopefully we didn’t scrap too much as, with the high water level, the fenders had popped out onto the top of the lock. Could have really done with that bloody bow thruster!
At the next lock we had the same problem but managed to get through them without scraping the sides. All very nerve wracking! We tied up for lunch just before lock seven as instructed by Madam eclusier. My aching arms were shaking as I prepared lunch. Later on the remaining locks were better as the canal winded its way to the left so the wind was behind us.
Finally we came to the last lock, lock number 1, and were given instructions by the eclusier about the requirements for the tunnel. He also needed to see that we have a working spotlight. We plan to stay in Pouilly-en-Auxois for two nights and booked a rendezvous with the VNF at 9am Saturday to fill out the paperwork and get more instructions. Fun fun fun. Should be interesting!
Pont Royal to Pouilly-en-Auxois 17kms, 13 locks, 5.5 hours