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.

Monday, 22 May 2017

15th - 18th May 2017. On through the villages of Cusey, Piépape and Heuilly-Cotton to reach the summit of the Champagne – Burgundy canal.

At Cusey we met two French cruisers, going the other way. There have been very few boats moving on this canal. They arrived just before we did, but squeezed up to make room for us as soon as they saw us coming. When I thanked him for this, he replied, « C'est naturelle », which was very nice.

Cusey church is unusual, with this circular part at the east end.

There are several old houses in Cusey like this one, with the barn built into the house.

By contrast, this is part of a new development in the village.

The Champagne to Burgundy canal is very attractive, with tree lined sections alternating with views over the wide countryside.

The River Vingeanne has run alongside the canal, all the way from the River Saône, but is quite shallow here, as we are nearer to its source. Shannon thinks that it is a great place to retrieve sticks!

The church at Piépape has an unusual round tower.
The last eight locks up to the summit are all 5.12 metres deep, but are so gentle that we are not using any ropes at all. All that Shannon and I have to do when we get there is to lift the blue rod to activate the lock.
We are moored at Heuilly-Cotton village, on the summit level at a height of 1116 feet 4 inches above sea-level. This is about twice as high as Standedge tunnel in the English Pennines! This is an attractive village, with many large properties.

Balesmes tunnel lies ahead of us. This tunnel, like most in France, is one way only. It is 4820 metres long.

There are lights throughout the length of the tunnel. Fifteen seconds after passing each green light, all the white lights behind us go out, so then that looks very black!

It was raining before the tunnel, but this end is quite dry.

This heron sat quietly, watching us pass by close to him. He does not see us as any threat.

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