Just 4 months ago we took the Canal du Loing and Canal de Briare north in the freezing cold. Now the weather was much better, sunny and warm with a few clouds around, but the water levels in the canal were reduced to conserve water. We were afraid that might prevent us from mooring in some of the places we intended but that turned out not to be the case. We did have some interesting chats with lock keepers, though. They made sure we knew the canals were going to close and really wanted us to keep moving along, but we knew there was no reason to rush too fast. We had a week to cover what could be done in three days if things got dire.
Over the four days we also passed 4 hotel barges that were heading out of the area. The other exit from the region, the Canal latéral à La Loire, had very restricted depth available at it’s eastern end so if the deep hotel barges didn’t get out before the closure they would be stuck on a small portion of the latéral.
Our first stop after Saint-Mammès was just some bollards in the grass near the town of Montcourt. We’d stayed twice in this general area on rural moorings and it’s very peaceful.
Monday we traveled for about an hour to Nemour. We were out of bread and Cathy Jo thought she remembered where a boulangerie was so we threw a couple of lines out and off she went. It turned out to be a fruitless search so about an hour later we were off again.
After lunch one of those drifting clouds decided to drop it’s load right on top of us. We had just passed a group of fishermen scrambling to recover their gear when the heavens opened. Luckily for us, we were between locks and it was a quick shower.
We had planned to stop right after the first lock on the Briare. There’s a pontoon right next to a nice park we’d noticed on our two previous trips but about 3 pm we passed a picnic spot with a couple of bollards and decided to call it a day.
About a half hour later we saw something unusual on this canal, a loaded commercial barge headed down.
And what do you do when the kids are out of school and you have a boat to run? You bring them along and make a secure spot on deck so they can splash away.
When we were on the Seine we saw a similar setup but with a swing set on the deck. Unfortunately, they were just a little too far away for me to get a good picture.
Tuesday we put in about 27 kilometers to Montbouy (we’d stopped there on the way out) and Wednesday we made it to Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses by about 1 pm, giving us plenty of time to wander around the village again, although this time we didn’t climb the hill beside the old lock staircase or make the trek up the steep hill to the church.
The River Loing crosses the canal in Rogny,
coming in from the right and exiting under that walkway to the left.
The old mill
I promised I wouldn’t take yet another picture of the old lock staircase but I just couldn’t help myself. It is pretty awesome what they accomplished in the mid 1600’s. Over 6000 people worked on the construction of the canal.
Water used to come cascading down through the seven locks to lift barges over the hill.
It took us just over an hour to complete the six locks around the hill to the top and by 11 am we were in the first lock starting down.
We spent the night in Ouzouer-sur-Trézée again and on Friday at 10:30 were tied up at the Briare fuel dock, just before the last lock into the marina. Since it was Friday, Cathy Jo hustled off to the market for some fresh vegetables and I, along with the marina Capitane, David, put on the 400 liters of fuel to fill the tank. We finished just before 11 and David had already called the waterways people to operate the lock. I told him I needed to wait for Cathy Jo’s return but he said that wasn’t possible. We had missed the announcement that the three locks on the embranchement into the marina were only operating from 9 to 11 am. I managed to single-hand the boat through the lock and got tied up in the slip shortly after.
On Sunday afternoon the canal closed and that was it for the year.
Chores and projects await!
You can see the stern of the boat among the sea of cruisers.