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

  • November 2015
    M T W T F S S
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Thoraise to Besancon (Thurs 29/11)

Posted by contentedsouls on 08/11/2015

6 locks and 15km

Thursday continued as it started with glorious weather and the scenery trying to outdo itself around every bend. The length of Le Doubs is shadowed by the ‘EuroVelo 6’ cycle track which runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, travelling 3,820 kms through 9 Countries! That probably explains why the cyclists are reasonably gentle with the dogs and I – they’re too bloody knackered to go too fast or pick fights.

Do you ever wish you’d discovered things earlier in life? I try to live my life with no regrets but the Regions of Franche Comte and Jura are areas where I could have done a lot of damage when I was younger; riding, kayaking, etc., had I found it 40 years ago. So here are a few tons of photos which, for those of you who are not familiar with this neck of the woods, will give you a taste of why I have fallen in love.


Then, when you think you’ve seen it all, the Citadel of Besancon hoves into view on top of the escarpment. The old part of Besancon is situated within a loop which is ‘turned into’ an oxbow that cuts across the neck by a tunnel – we, of course, ignored the tunnel and went round the loop to reach our mooring.


Just before we reached our moorings – as we came level with the port for little boats – we came across an unexpected obstacle. A lock with no lights and no eclusier. Not a mention in our map book, so himself decided to put me off so that I could investigate. This was easier said than done as the towpath was closed due to repair work in progress, the side wall sloped away and the water was very shallow with large rocks in it towards the bank. The good news was that it wasn’t deep enough to get very wet, but the bad news was that I would have a very large audience.


Having scrambled off (keeping my feet dry and my dignity reasonably intact), I discovered that I was expected to operate the lock myself!!!! This flash of enlightenment came to me when I discovered a sign which read, “self service”. Now you may well laugh, but this task hadn’t been asked of me in the last 19 months and I’d left my windlass on the boat. Usual story though; the last bugger through had left both top gates and paddles open. So I set about exercising some muscles that hadn’t been used for a long while and found that the gates were closed by using a big wheel set on a post parallel to the ground (brute strength) and the paddles by a standard windlass welded into place (like Llangollen lift bridges they, could have done with some hydraulic gearing). After a short time this attractive French lass turned up, hung up her Jacket and gave me a hand – I just hoped G was concentrating on the job in hand on keeping MR safe.


Round the corner was our mooring for a few days. Not particularly attractive but vast, unoccupied and reasonably city secure with a rise and fall pontoon housing water, electric and fuel (another first). I say, “reasonably secure” as there was one low part of the fencing which could have been stepped across onto from the public footpath – quite inviting to young revellers. We had no problems and found the locals very friendly – no signs of ‘city’ attitude here.


6 Responses to “Thoraise to Besancon (Thurs 29/11)”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Thoraise to Besancon (Thurs 29/11) – Posted by contentedsouls on 08/11/2015
    mmm, there must be a time-warp or black hole somewhere nearby I guess then ? LOL

    I think the photos are probably some of your finest… so far… and although
    I’ve not been to that particular department I see why you are in love with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jill Budd said

      I knew you’d be sharp enough to pick that up – I edited the date and a few other bits after I received the, ‘your blog post failed’ message; then I realised it had actually posted.
      I can’t take the credit for the pics (much as I’d like to) as with a point and click camera, a sensational location and perfect weather it’s not possible to fail.
      You should put this region on your ‘must visit’ list.


  2. Wow Jill, I can see why you would fall in love with that place it looks wonderful – great picture too! Regards to you both. xx


    • Jill Budd said

      Lovely, as always, to hear from you both. I don’t know about you, but it seems a very long while ago to me that you came and waved us off xx


  3. ianmccauley2014 said

    Glorious photos – and Graham is very lucky to have two such lovely ladies operating the locks for himself, I can see why he might be distracted 😎


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