These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight 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, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Friday, 10 July 2015

4th - 10th July 2015. On to the summit level of the canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne, through Balmes Tunnel. On to Blagny-sur-Vingeanne, then the River Saone to Lamarche-sur-Saone.

From Langres it is not far to Balesmes tunnel, which is on the summit level of this canal, at a height of 1,111feet. The tunnel is 4820 metres, or 5275 yards, long, so is not quite as long as Standedge tunnel, in England.

There are lights throughout the tunnel, with a light every 10 metres, and green lights to confirm we are going the right way! Looking back, the lights are red.



The first flight of eight locks going down, are all over 5metres deep. This is a chain of automatic locks, so the next one is always ready for us.



Shannon loves to run between the locks, and is level with The Puzzler here, on the towpath.

This sunset is over a nearby lake at Villegusein-le-lac. The picture really does not do it justice!


The fields near to the canal are full of sunflowers. They seem to turn to face the sun all day.

This is our first sighting of this breed of large French Poitou donkey. He was not very friendly!
Many fields are being harvested. Tuesday was an eventful day! We stopped early, in the shade of the trees, and managed to get a signal for the television, by putting our satellite dish on the bank in front of the boat. The Tour de France and Wimbledon were both on, so all was well. However the wind started to gust by late afternoon, and blew the dish into the canal! Andy retrieved it safely and was about to set it up again, when the combine harvester arrived in the rape field beside us. You should have seen the dust!

We did a rapid retreat from the bank, going down another lock to escape from the dust. The canal was quite shallow, so it was a bows-in mooring! It was lucky there are so few boats about.


Being by now quite near to Blagny-sur- Vigneanne, we walked on to see the village. This is obviously an extremely smart place to live, with many lovely houses.

We have been on the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne since 22nd of June, when we received this “zapper” so that we could activate the automatic locks ourselves.
It is now time for Sally to post it into the box by lock Chemin de Fer. Andy then lifts the blue pole to activate the lock, and nothing happens! After several chats on the intercom, and several “only five minutes” later, we did descend the lock on to the River Saône.



This river is very calm today, but is much wider than the canal.

At Lamarche-sur-Saône it was a high wall for mooring, but, with steps by the bow, this is no problem. The satellite dish on the bank is working well, but is now securely tied down!

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