Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, August 9, 2018

To the Top, July 10-12

We reluctantly left Fleury and it’s great swimming hole and headed north on the canal. Châtillon en Bazois was only about 12 k away and it would take us until about 2 pm (with the obligatory 1 hour lunch stop) and 6 locks to get there.
When we visited in 2009 we were able to get a tour of the inside of the imposing chateau but the tours don’t start until the middle of July so we’d miss it this time. The same gardener was still there, just a little grayer. And instead of trying to blow away gophers with a shotgun he was cleaning out and refilling the water features of the impressive gardens.

The chateau from the canal.

Wednesday we just wandered about the village, doing a little grocery shopping and strolling along the canal in the direction we’d be heading on Thursday. Thursday night was also the next match in the knockout round of the World Cup; France vs. Belgium. France’s victory was met with much less fanfare than the victory over Argentina when we were in Montceau. We heard a few car horns in the distance but there was no parade around the moorings.
Thursday morning we were off on the last bit of up locks to the summit pound of the canal and the lakes at Baye, 14 locks in 15 k. 
There are three “stairstep” locks in this section of canal; two with two locks and one with three. That means the boat exits one lock directly into the next. It’s quite impressive when going up as the lockkeeper releases the water through the top lock until the one you are in is filled, you move the boat to the next, the doors close behind you and the process is repeated. It’s like a big waterfall coming right at you.

Water fills the bottom lock of the Chavance stairstep.

By 3:30 we were tied up along the wall at Baye in the summit pound. It was going to be very warm for the next several days and the idea of being next to the lake with it’s swimming beach was very attractive. 
After the three tunnels when we left the lakes we’d be going down for quite awhile, all the way to the Seine. 

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