When we left Auxerre we left the Nivernais canal behind and joined the Yonne river fully. (although occasionally there are some short lateral canals) Almost immediately you notice that the locks have grown. Grown quite a bit really from 38 metres long to just over 107 meters long. This is to cater for the barge
traffic and on our first day we met our first commercial traffic. It was in contrast to the Nivernais which is a sanctuary to pleasure boats with no commercial barges permitted to interrupt the scenery. Still they are not a problem and you generally just keep out of their way.
Commercial traffic gets priority at the locks too which is perfectly understandable as after all they are here trying to deliver their cargo and earn a living, while we’re just pottering about.
Speaking of locks….the Yonne river seems to have a fondness of a peculiar invention called the ‘sloped lock’ This is a lock where the sides are inclined in such a fashion as as to make it close to impossible to put a rope ashore and to insure you go aground on the side as soon as the water level starts to drop. I can see no logic in a Sloped lock.
They use more water than a conventional lock, and are notoriously difficult to use. Thankfully the V.N.F. have installed some floating jetties into these locks which alleviates most of the problems. Well it does at this time of year when the canal is quiet. But there is normally only enough floating jetty space for two boats…what happens in high season I have no idea.
Stopping off in the town of Villeneuve sur Yonne for a bit of sightseeing. The wonderful gatehouse is still an impressive sight.