It’s lovely to be able to take our time down the Nivernais – a beautiful, rural canal with with changing scenery – from wooded hillsides to rolling arable fields to built up towns .
We had a bit of a delay leaving Chatillon en Bazois but then we were paired with a hire boat – having grabbed ‘our’ lock they had to wait for us at the next, and the next… We do have to approach locks rather sowly and carefully. The ecluusiers are now having to pair bots when possible because of diminishing water supplies.
We stopped at a little place called Fleury for the night – lovely little place which has certainly gone up in the world since 2009, with the old lock keeper’s cottage turned into a simple little restaurant. We believe in supporting the local economy so we ate there and then had the most wonderful starlit sky and the sound of owls.
We have seen many raptors – red kites certainly but also a buzzard and a young raptor still with fluffy feathers sitting on a fence post.
We also saw a red squirrel come to drink at the canal side then turn tail and scurry back up a tree when he saw us……… and a pair of kingfishers dart across the water at Pannecot.
Another first was a Philippines flag! Had to check that one out in my eye spy book of flags!!
Pannecot had come down in the world – the water was very silted up and weedy. Not an easy place to get in and out of especially as there were two right angled bends with the pull of the nearby weir to contend with. Amazing how easily Piedaleau is pulled off course!
But we met up with a great Aus couple on a hireboat – David and Jennie – and cruised with them for a couple of days. Cercy la Tour was a very pleasant stopover and I walked up to Our Lady of the Nivernais which dominates the skyline of the small town.
And finally we got to the end of the Nivernais and arrived at Decize – what a relief! We have managed the twists and turns, the narrow locks, narrow and low bridges and the lifting bridges that didn’t quite lift…… What’s interesting is that the low bridges marked were not really the most difficult – others that were really, really low had no warning at all! Still we got through this beautiful canal……
We moored on the Loire at the foot of the old town with a couple of other barges – made Piedaleau look small! And if we thought we had difficulty getting through some of those locks and bridges then this 20m peniche was severely challenged – they had to fully dismantle her wheelhouse and she left quite a lot of paint on the lock walls as she could hardly squeeze through (5.03m wide). This morning Adrian and Alan ( from another barge) helped to lift her side panel back into position – took ages for them to put her back together gain !