These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

1st - 7th June 2015 Enfin La France!

Before leaving Dinant, we went for a walk/climb up behind the town.
This road led us up in front of the cliffs until we were as high as the citadel, where we turned off along a track through the woods, which led us even higher to a small hamlet, lying amid green pastures, above the tree line.
Further exploration led us back into the woods, but we missed the turning down to Dinant, and found ourselves on a path which led to the edge of a cliff! Fortunately, we met two dog walkers, who pointed us in the right direction for an extremely steep, but safe, path back through the woods. The gully on the right, behind this church, marks this path, but it was very well hidden to a casual glance.

The river Meuse continues to climb slowly through fantastic scenery, as we go past some cliffs. We are in the Ardennes here.

Both sides of the river are covered with trees with more cliffs amid the greenery.

We both take our turn at the tiller.

Our last mooring in Belgium was at Hermeton.
Having crossed the border into France, we experienced our first French tunnel. This was our first tunnel for four years, and the first ever for Shannon. She was not too sure about it! Just before this tunnel was Trois Fontaines Lock. The light was green as we approached at 11.30am, and there was plenty of room for us to come in alongside another boat, but the lockkeeper shut the gates in our faces. He then came to tell us that it was his lunchtime, so we could wait until 1pm before he would let us through!
We moored at Haybes with several other boats, our busiest mooring so far this year. There is a walking centre on the edge of town, and we followed a marked walk up through the woods for six kilometres, climbing nearly 200 metres to look down on Fumay. Fumay is the next town on the Meuse, and is built within one meander of the river.

The next day we cruised around Fumay, and could see our lookout point high among the trees. See the red arrow.
We now operate these locks with a handheld device. Usually it works well, but we had to wait half an hour for someone to come and let us all out of this lock, due to a power failure.
Our next stop was at Laifour. When we arrived the mooring was full, but Iede invited us alongside Onrust, and we spent a couple of happy days there, with him and Jeannette. Onrust is nearly twice as long as The Puzzler, and over twice as wide, so the harbour master only charged us the very small boat rate, which was nice!

Laifour is a pleasant, unassuming village.

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