Barge Date: 07-22-2021
Sitting on Top
We are in Pouilly-en-Auxois, the highest point in the French canal system. Google Maps say the elevation is 384 meters. There are several reservoirs nearby that help feed the water that the canal needs and uses up as everything flows down hill. If these reserves of water are depleted then the canal must close. This has happened frequently in the last several years as France has faced lower than normal rain fall.
A not too sophisticated measuring device is nearby and I guess that it is used to know when to add water. I am sure I saw a slug of water enter this morning in the basin where we are. Big ripples crossed the basin.
The canal was completed in the 1830s having taken about 50 years to create. The tunnel that is just off the basin is 3.4km long and took 5 years to make. We went through this tunnel several days ago. Very uniform in shape from end to end. While I tell myself to concentrate at all times it would appear that I touched the tunnel wall several times on the port side. Just the top edge of the metal roof trim touched. No damage and until I looked for it I was not sure I did touch. If done again I think I will attempt a better way to move the stern when needed. A local tour boat goes through the tunnel twice each day; four trips back and forth. See video at the bottom.
We have been through 76 locks on this canal. There are 189 in total so more to see. We will be going down now so will be finding filled locks that will drop us several meters each time.
The tunnel does not have a tow path; just water up to the walls. In the old days, we are told, barges had to be pulled through using hand-held poles that latched on to brackets on the walls. This could take up to eight hours to get through (plus 2 hours for lunch, I would guess). Then an electric tug was used to pull trains of barges through; then it took "only" 2 hours.
Pouilly-en-Auxois is a nice town but a hike from the basin. A number of restaurants, bakeries and other stores. Had some sorbet today; cassis flavor. Almost too powerful.
Did some cleaning on the boat and in the engine room. Greased the parts from the wheel to the rudder. Not a quick job; I must crawl way back into the stern which is a most uncomfortable place.
Wow. A boat just entered the basin from where we came from. Third boat we have seen this year.
We leave tomorrow morning to do 13 locks. Hoping for a restaurant where we will tie up but that is a question mark.
The previous stop we made had the benefit of a castle high on the ridge above the town. Actually a small village is there too. Made for some nice pictures. This scene is pictured on Hart Massey's second book about Lionel and travels in Europe. We walked through the port village and enjoyed the houses and farms.
|For those with French lessons.|
|Wonderful lock house. Had a line-up of old farm rakes too.|
|Lamp purchased last year now in operation.|
|Tunnel exit for us.|