Susi and Austin's

Travelling the Rivers and

Canals of Europe


Climbing the locks of the Burgundy

Sunday 15 May 2022 6:06 AM

Well, we love Lodi! But already in the first lock, we realised that we’ve got a new challenge on our hands. As the locks are very narrow here in France the extra 500mm in boat width makes a difference as does the 15-ton steel hull compared to the Freshwater’s 14-ton. Hanging on for dear life as the water gushed into the lock, we almost lost control of Lodi who is quite a “load”! How embarrassing! But being supposedly experienced boaties, we quickly changed our rope technique and had no further problems.

Casting off late at SJDL due to some morning rain, we only passed through 7 locks that day stopping at "Longecourt-en-Plaine". There was a quiet mooring spot next to an old mill on a secured bank. Stakes had to be used as there was only a lone bollard which, at the time of our arrival, was serving a French fisherman as a seat. 

Tied up securely, we just had to have our "safe arrival drinks” and some of the delicious pâté en croute to celebrate our first day on the canal. But really, any excuse is good enough to have a cool G&T!

After a quick nap, we walked to the village of Longecourt. Again it seemed that time had stood still. Houses and farms could have stood here 70+ years ago while the impressive Castle of Longecourt dates back to the 18th century and is privately owned by the Berbis family. Unfortunately, we missed out on admiring the German and Italian Stucco work that adorns the interior of the castle, as the family only allows visitors by arrangement during June, July and August.

Our next cruising day was a little longer, and, including the strictly observed lunchtime of the itinerant lock keepers, which can of course vary in length, we made it safely to Dijon by 4.30 pm.

It was a very hot day, and we forewent the safe arrivals, as we had some shopping to do - according to Austin! A little worn out after rope towing in lock after lock, I was dragged - where else - into a hardware shop, about 20 minutes from the harbour by tram! On our return, after massaging Austin’s swollen leg he had obtained after a fall in Germany, dinner consisted of half a stale baguette, cheese and tomatoes. He didn’t dare complain!

The canal up to Dijon was full of weeds and this continued on the next day. As a matter of fact, due to the unusually warm weather, the water level seemed quite low in certain sections. We also found that some of the moorings and restaurants we remembered had disappeared.

Our destination for the day promised to have water and a pontoon and had neither. So we decided to move on to Fleurey-sur-Ouche, a nice place which we knew from our last visit 9 years ago. But here the only pontoon was taken up by a hotel barge. As the locks were closed for the night, we finally found a space on the canal bank with enough depth to dock at. Out came the stakes and lump hammer! One hit onto the first stake by Austin “Thor” Robinson and the iron head of the hammer plunged into the canal. So it took another 20 whacks with an ordinary hammer to get us fastened to the side.

Lovely to finally relax along the green bank with the sun not setting until 10 pm. Feet up, it called for another safe arrival drink. It sounds like all we do is drink, but no, we also have the occasional meal!

PS: No money was received for this boursin advertisement!

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