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Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

 

Monday 25th June – Digoin to Paray-le-Monial

Lovely late start to the day. Topped up the water tanks. Last shop up at E LeClerc and a visit to Tourist Office for wifi. Mainly to send emails to H2O in St Jean de Losne to set up meetings for a few repairs we need and to discuss the sale of Shangri La.

Grass cutting along canal

Grass cutting along canal

Got going after lunch – 3 automatic locks and 11 kms to Paray-le-Monial. Pleasant and uneventful – till the last lock! Maybe it is the time of year, but they are cutting grass everywhere. Most places they collect it up but around here they fling it in the canal. Leaving the lock, as sods law would have it the wind sprang up. I needed a kick from the bow thruster which instantly clogged with grass. And while bumping out the lock the fender rode up and hooked on the lock gate!! Fortunately, I was going very slowly and no major problem. I have a saying when it come to boat handling – The faster you go, the more spectacular and expensive the $%&*-up!!

Locking up on C du Centre

Locking up on C du Centre

Tied up at the free place at Paray le Monial. Last year when we were here there were hordes of people at some religious festival. Looks like they are setting up for the same event soon. We later found out that there is some sort of religious event pretty much all year round so we were lucky to be in between events.

Paray is actually a lovely little town. We strolled up to the Basilica, and into town. Small shop-up at the Huit-a-Huit supermarche and a drink at a bar/café.

Paray-le-Monial

Paray-le-Monial

Tuesday 26th June – Paray to Genelard

Awoken to the sound of more grass cutting! At 0640 in the morning. And during the rest of the day we saw numerous machines hacking away at the banks – and letting it all go into the canal. Most annoying.

Trip to Genelard was quite easy – 7 automatic locks. Despite the lockie telling us that the locks would operate during lunch, we arrive at lock 18 at 2 mins to 12 and the lock lights were out. So an enforced lunch stop. Arrived at Genelard and tied up at the same spot where we stayed on the down trip. Free stop including electricity and water. Lovely spot.

Genelard

Genelard

On the way we saw storks on their nests on poles. Something I have never seen in my life!

Storks

Storks

Had great plans to stroll up to the local hotel for wifi but it was so hot that the urge lost us. Once it cooled down we had a small barbeque on the grass by the boat. A friendly English boater had told us that the little auberge/brasserie nearby had wifi, but they were closed! Surprised? – No.

 

Wednesday 27th June Genelard to Blanzy

Montceau-les-Mine bridge

Montceau-les-Mine bridge

Made an early start as we wanted to get to Blanzy. Along with another similar boat with a German couple, we started the first lock at 0900. Today was hot and very windy. The wind helped cool things down a little but made boat handling through the bridges and locks extremely difficult. But all went okay. There are 3 lift bridges in Montceau and we arrived at the first right on lunch time so another enforced lunch stop. We had decided not to stay at Montceau as last time the marina was not particularly inviting – no wifi, horrible ablutions and loads of run down boats, some inhabited by homeless/squatters.

Montceau-les-Mine new marina

Montceau-les-Mine new marina

Well what a surprise! Montceau has had a face lift – brand new jetties, and no dilapidated boats anywhere. We nearly changed our plans and stopped there but decided to carry on to Blanzy as last time when we went passed it looked very nice. Well – mistake. The quay at Blanzy is not big and it was hogged by a very large barge, and the rest of the space, and the banks of the canal were full of all the run-down boats that had been kicked out of Montceau.

Anyway, we tied up as best we could – to the metal supports for the crash barrier running along the canal/road.  A long hot walk back for a shop up at Aldi and E LeClerc.

Moored to the road at Blanzy

Moored to the road at Blanzy

As usual we needed wifi. Walked up to the town and asked at several bars and restaurants. The best suggestion they could come up with was a MacDonald over 2 kms away! No way! About to give up we spotted another bar on the other side of the canal – and yes! They had wif. And very good it was.  A lovely lady who spoke very good English ran the place – made good suggestions for local wines and places to visit. Managed to get on top of banking and other communications over a couple of glasses of wine.

 

Thursday 28th June Blanzy to St Leger

As usual we seem always to be in a hurry. Firstly we need to get to Chalon so we can take 3 days out to go and visit Karen’s brother who will be in Paris. Also got a friend joining us in St Leger on Friday. We opted to have a long boating day and get to St Leger-sur-Dheune. 28 Kms and 26 locks – all lock chains. Another very windy day, and the bow thruster playing up!!

Starting the decent

Starting the decent

Got going at 0845 and into the first lock at 0900. Mostly went well. A lockie followed us for the first locks as there seemed to be a problem. Then later at lock 13 there was some problem and we had to wait nearly half an hour for them to reset the system. And at the next lock we had to wait for 2 huge Dutch commercial barges coming up the other way. Finally arrived St Leger at 1715hrs.

Large commercial barges coming through

Large commercial barges coming through

On the way we passed Montchanin – no improvement here from last year. The chart shows a port with water and electricity etc. Well there is actually nothing there except a disused boatyard full of pretty dishevelled boats.

Montchanin marina - boat dump!

Montchanin marina – boat dump!

For Karen’s take on our boating adventures, check her blog here

 

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