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.


Monday, 24 October 2016

22nd - 25th October. Up the Canal de Roanne à Digoin, from Digoin to Roanne!

This is a mixture of smoke and fog as we eventually set off at 11 am up the Canal de Roanne à Digoin. We had planned to go earlier!

Later on the weather cleared, so that we could look across the valley of the river Loire. Our canal runs parallel to the river, all the way to Roanne.


It is quite tight, sharing in these deep locks. Monsieur VNF can be seen up above the bottom gates, as he winds them shut. These locks are completely manual, but we can help with gates, once we are up in the lock.

We stopped at Bourg-le-Comte, and climbed up the track to the village. The Puzzler can be seen,  to the right of the white cottages.


This is another old church in Bourg-le-Comte.
The most interesting item in the church was this list of all priests of the parish since 1598. The only gap is from the time of the French Revolution. If this list is up to date, then Father Renard has been priest here for 50 years!

We moved on to Artaix for lunch, and stayed overnight, as it was so nice there. There was even a table tennis table, which was a bonus.

We walked to the village of Artaix, and met these big donkeys on the way. Shannon was not impressed!


The church at Artaix overlooks the canal.


Inside the church there are many interesting carvings.


The bridges on this stretch of the canal are all made using these unusually shaped stones, and look really attractive.

The leaves are all changing colour, and look wonderful.
However, as this canal is fed from the River Loire at Roanne, all of these pretty leaves find their way on to the water above each lock. The lockkeeper does not think that they are lovely at all! Our propellor is not too keen on them either.

Even as late as this in the year, the towpaths are kept in good repair.



Shannon is very fluffy, and is in need of a trim.
We are on a wild mooring, near to the prison, and have brought some of the best pots inside, as heavy rain is forecast for tonight. Tomorrow, we will be back in Roanne!

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