The long flight of locks was hard work in the heat, which was in the low thirties Celcius. Even though we didnt have to wind paddles or open gates we spent most of the day standing in the sun holding ropes in the locks.
At the summit the canal goes though some dramatic cuttings and three tunnels.
We emerged from the other side of the tunnels to a stunning site of the canal going along the the edge of a lake (Etang de Baye). The lake is actually a reservoir for the summit level. The canal at this point is a walled off edge to the lake. We stayed here for the night. It would be difficult to image a more gorgeous place to overnight.
The pictures below were all taken from the boat. The amphibious vehicle entered the water on a slipway at the nearby boatyard, went along the canal for a while then across the lake then came out up the bank on the far side !
The next morning we decided to use the hire bikes to cycle to the village of Bazolles about 3km away to buy some bread & croissants. We found the village and we found the boulangerie, but it was closed! So cycle back to the boat and set off down the other side of the summit. The locks are spaced much further apart here.
The elcusiers are on duty 9:00 – 19:00 with a lunch break 12:00 – 13:00. They stick to these times rigidly. We arrived at a 3 chamber staircase followed by a single lock about 200m apart. We worked down the staircase OK, then approched the single lock and waited mid-stream just short of the lock as is usual. We could see the eclusier sat on a chair in the shade (it was lower thirties Celcius by now). We waited, but he didnt get up from his chair. We waited a bit longer, then he pointed at his watch! It was 11:45, he wasnt going to start locking us through in case he didnt finish before 12:00 !
So we moored up and had lunch. He didnt come back on duty and start filling the lock until 13:05. As the days went on we came to really enjoy this enforced rest in the middle of the day, getting into the “French way of life”
We arrived in the lovely little town of Chatillon-en-Bazois just after 4 o’clock and decided to stay there for the night. As at Baye, Chatillon has a ‘port’ where there are pontoons for visiting boats complete with water, electric hookup etc, but we preferred to moor on the bank just outside the town opposite the chateau.
Part of the chateau