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 2016
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for September 9th, 2016

Up to the summit and down the other side

Posted by contentedsouls on 09/09/2016

I’m so far behind again that I can’t remember what I’ve told you and what I haven’t. The Nivernais continues to enchant as it meanders through ever changing scenery – from very British looking tiny canal, to mini Meuse, to wide open river and craggy rock faces. We moored at the little village of Fleury where we met new boat owners, on barge Anfra, Kellie and Peter with their Collie, Pepsi. Sadly in a rush due to time constraints to get her up to Holland for some maintenance. We had an excellent Sunday lunch at the restaurant lockside too.


The next place we moored was Chatillon-en-Bazois; not too shabby under the chateau with parts of the old gardens adjacent (it also had the added bonus of a decent sized supermarket and full rubbish and re-cycling). Baxter was quite happy chilling out the back – his favourite place on the barge now as long as it’s not in full sun.


On our final push up to the summit pound we encountered several staircase locks. In the doubles they filled both chambers from the top – only closing the middle gates after you moved into the top chamber. I found crossing the cill between the two chambers quite disconcerting.


There was also one 3 chamber staircase which, much to my relief, was operated in standard fashion

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After that we made our way, uneventfully, up to the summit pound at Etang de Baye, encountering very little traffic

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We were still experiencing baking temperatures (and still are) and our mooring next to the 25 acre reservoir which feeds the Nivernais was most welcome – not only for the breeze, but also for the swimming. We were also delighted to meet up with our blog follower Paula (who you will often see comment on here) and husband Phil from wide beam narrowboat Den Within Willows. We had a lovely evening; made all the better by knowing that we would catch up with them further on where they were moored at Chitry. Had a fabulous meal there at La Marin – I have no idea how they can produce that quantity and quality of food for the money.


Leaving Baye we were in for a longish day; 3 tunnels, 16 locks, but only 8 kms. With nowhere to moor between the locks, the eclusiers leave you in a lock at lunchtime – by sheer good luck, our lunchtime ‘lock of the day’ happened to be outside a quirky little bar that provided us with beer and crepes; except the crepes were delicious, fat, proper pancakes.


Our mooring at Sardy was newly constructed and very long, but occupied only by us, one motorhome, two horses and a man with a (cara)van. The village itself was full of art work. This stretch down from the summit is very arty farty and potters and artists abound.


From there it was on to Chitry les Mines where we met up with Paula and Phil again, plus some other rather interesting individuals for drinks. Bit of a party place is Chitry – what happens in Chitry, stays in Chitry (hmm .. didn’t Debs and Kevin moor there last winter?).

Paula and Phil’s  boat outside the little cafe there.


This really is a pretty little canal and, with it’s lift bridges, very reminiscent of the Llangollen in some ways – the big difference is that you don’t have to wind like a maniac – you just stand and look cool with your finger on the button!

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As we were approaching our mooring for the night at Cuzy, we spotted this monster in our rear view mirror – it’s only able to get under the bridges as it has no fixed wheelhouse. Unfortunately, the Germans in the hire boat had just pulled pins and were leaving for the bridge ‘ole – I shouldn’t laugh really, but they were like rabbits frozen in the headlights. The owners of the peniche were the delightful Giles and Sabrina and G was able to re-unite them with their car later in the day; we’ve been bumping into them (not literally as they are much bigger than us) ever since.


We had planned to eat at the, thoroughly recommended, hotel restaurant behind the hire boat but it had been closed for over a year. Instead we found a delightful little bar up in the village; 4 courses and a glass and a half of wine each for 12 euros – you really can’t go wrong with these ‘workmen’s lunches’. Whilst there was a pretty patio out the back we elected to eat in the main bar and engage in a bit of banter with the locals and a Dutch couple cycling with their dog in the basket on the bike.


I find I keep using the word quirky and having to change it to something different; but ‘quirky’ seems to sum up not only the canal, but also the people we are meeting along the way.

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