Woke up nice and early and had breakfast and coffee. We. Then made our way down a curvy part of the canal. There are loads of wild herbs and edible plants but the only ones I’m sure of are the nettles and dandelions. If you don’t tie up at the basin at Châtillon-en-Bazois then go under the bridge and hop off the barge – leaving someone behind to hold it against the shore. Go up to the main road and turn left. A minute down the road is a fantastic bakery. I bought a baguette, croissants and a tart citron. We carried on until the next lock, tied up under the bridge and had lunch. I had an amazingly clear call to South Africa when I phoned my Dad for his birthday. There are artists cottages at some of the locks. The first one we came across was for stained glass. At our first double lock I took a video. The lock keepers house has a small farmyard attached and the poor goat was chained up. I managed to steer the boat for a bit, and made the bend with no problem. Our next double lock was followed by a holding basin and then a triple lock. We have been very lucky so far with all the locks being ready for us. We ‘picked’ up another barge at the second double lock. The late afternoon brought rain which was sweetened by the perfect tart citron. Not too sweet, not too sharp! The lock at Baye is deep but has a sliding pole for the ropes which makes life easier, especially when it’s pouring down. We were asked to wait until 6pm to go through the tunnels, so tied up alongside a commercial dining barge and as we did so the light turned green, an hour early! This part of the canal is fairly narrow. The tunnels are not easy to navigate. There is no lighting other than the boat’s floodlights and internal lights must be off. Thankfully we are doing this in dank weather as it would be difficult going into sunshine between the three tunnels. The tunnels are cold. And what a different experience to the locks. It takes 25 minutes to get through the 3 tunnels. There is a stunning waterfall shortly after the last tunnel on the right hand side then a very imposing bridge. There is a second waterfall on the right after the bridge. Our plan was to get to Baye on Monday night but we’ve gone past and tied up at Port Brúlé for the night. Tomorrow we start with 16 down locks in a row! Tonight Toulouse sausages and a bottle of Côtes de Bourg are on the menu.
with love from France
Tandy and Dave