Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • September 2015
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Heuilley Cotton to Villegusien–le-Lac (Sat/Sun 26th/27th)

Posted by contentedsouls on 30/09/2015

8 locks and 7 km

With 43 locks and 64 kms to run down to the Saone, we made a start on Saturday morning by starting on the first –chained– flight of 8. Once the first lock is set, each subsequent lock in the chain automatically sets for you but, although we’d booked it, we had to ‘phone and then wait for someone to come out and start them. Once again we had to answer all the questions about where we were going to etc., etc. despite having provided this info already. The locks in this flight are over 5 metres deep and, now we don’t need them, have one and sometimes two wall bollards and paint marks on the walls in line with the top bollards. We don’t need them now as we’re going down – in all honesty we don’t need a rope on going down at all, but we put one on if VNF are around – it saves arguments.


Once we started we whizzed down the flight in no time at all and were moored up and settled by 12.30


Given G’s failure the previous day to check out Daisy’s tracker collar, he picked a mooring where he was sure to be able to put it to good use! Under normal circumstances I would have thought twice about letting her out here at all. We had moored outside a huge, disused and derelict – but highly accessible – silo. It wasn’t long before he needed to activate the tracker which, fortunately, worked extremely well.


After lunch Muttley and I retraced our route on foot, leaving G to watch the Grand Prix qualifying and/or Rugby. I said I’d get the car if he made dinner. A cruise that took 2 1/2 hours in the boat took me just 1 hour 20 minutes, uphill, to walk back.


The village of Heuilley Cotton was really pretty – I hadn’t had time to look around when we were moored there overnight.


Arriving back at our mooring a small sailboat had moored behind us and was being thoroughly checked out by Daisy; much to the amusement of the skipper. We had a good natter before he moved on; he wanted to be in St Jean de Losne by Tuesday and had just stopped for a break as he was single handed. Very kindly, he came and checked that we knew where Daisy was before he pulled pins as he was afraid she was still somewhere on his boat.


G was up at 6.30 on Sunday to watch the Grand Prix which left time for us to go up into the hillside villages exploring and to do a bit of ‘food for free’ harvesting before dropping back down to the Reservoire de Vingeanne – one of 4 in this area that supplies the canal. Driving back through the village of Villegusien we were fortunate enough to catch the bar in time for a beer before it closed. The walnuts were given to us by a lady passing by the boat in her van and we picked sloes and pears.



Later on Sunday afternoon we could hear noises in the silo – then smoke started drifting out of one of the doors. Shortly after that the Gendarmerie arrived and pulled a load of teenagers out. Very long ‘discussions’ were conducted and then parents started to arrive to collect their children – I suspect a few of the kids may be grounded for awhile.


Later, at dusk, G took the dogs out and this little chap wandered out of the silo right under Muttley’s nose. G was able to rescue it whilst I put the dogs on the boat. We put it back close by the doorway and just above ground level with shelter and checked back a bit later to find it had gone – hopefully a good sign.


Brian Holt sent us a link regarding what should be done if you find a young fledgling owl; basically fetch a ladder and you must put it back into the correct nest. This is the inside of the barn it hopped out of.


Hmmmm. That wasn’t going to happen I’m afraid. I do hope he/she made it. I suppose we could have kept it as a boat owl and used Daisy’s mice to feed it until it was all growed up enough to catch it’s own.

A long and lovely day ending with pretty skies and a big moon that was still there at 6.45 am in the morning.


Within half an hour of G taking the picture of the moon, the sun was fully up and bathing everything in glorious light



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