Monday 24th to Thursday 27th July 2017
Canal du Centre – Locking down
Montchanin is at the summit, so to speak, of the Canal du Centre and now we started locking down again. The trip to Montceau-les-Mines was 13 kms and 9 locks with a total drop of 26 metres.
Locking down is a whole lot less stressful than locking up, as much easier to get ones ropes on the bollards. We started off as the locks opened at 0900, behind a French boat. They had scant regard for the speed limit, and we actually struggled to keep up with them. We only wanted to keep up so as not to waste time waiting for the locks to fill again if they did not wait for us. We did the first 7 locks with them in record time. Then they pulled over and stopped for lunch, so we carried on through the last 2 locks on our own, quite quickly and arrived in Montceau about 12.30. Despite the haste, it was still a very pleasant trip, through the beautiful French landscape, with the occasional birdlife sighting.
As usual here, lots of low bridges and all awnings were down – fortunately there was only a little light rain right at the end.
Montceau-les-Mines, as the name suggest, was a busy port where they loaded the coal from the mine at Blanzy, a few kms away. Now they quite large harbour is a leisure port with a lot of finger jetties.
The rates were nice and cheap – Euro 8.50 all inclusive. But as usual the wifi was not really up to much. I have remarked on this so many times! I dont know why tiny cafes or restaurants can have excellent wifi, but the marinas generally cannot seem to get it right. Here they use a provider call Beespot – but it is pretty useless. We found a hotel nearby that had good wifi, and were able to use theirs.
The town itself was quite large, with an imposing Town Hall or Hotel d’ Ville. Luckily we were there for the Tuesday market, which was right next to the marina, and we stocked up on some lovely fresh produce.
A friend of Karen’s was joining us here. We planned it that way as Montceau actually has a railway station, but for some strange reason she arrived by coach, earlier than the train. Thanks to the oddity of the French transport system. But the main thing is she did manage to find us! Earlier in the trip we had met another South African couple also with a Dutch Steel boat. They arrived here in Montceau as well so we had one very social evening on board catching up – over a few glasses of very nice wine.
Next – on to Genelard.
Have a look at Karen’s blog (www.greenpointgreenie.co.za) , to get her perspective on our travels…..