Summit level on the Nivernais Canal

We have arrived at the Nivernais summit level. Well what a trip this Nivernais canal is turning out to be. It is just beautiful with it’s winding course following the l’Aron and l’Yonne rivers. With over 150 locks the Nivernais is a bit of work too. The V.N.F. (Voies Navigable de France) lock keepers are superb and take all the hard work out of it. Because this canal is shallow we

learned a few new tricks. Believe it or not someone had suggested that I buy a small inflatable paddling pool in case we ran aground. Now I laughed it off at the time but in hindsight it’s a very good idea. See this is what you do, boats are deepest in the water at the stern or back. By putting the inflatable pool on the front of the boat and then filling it with water you lower the front but you raise the Bach. Which is the bit that has you stuck of course.

Barges at the Nivernais summit
Abandoned old wooden barges

Now we didn’t get a pool so we didn’t get the chance to test it out but what we did do to reduce our water draft was to drop our rib off the davits and weigh down the nose of the boat by moving as much weight from the back of the boat to the front of the boat. This way we raised the back of the boat by 4 cm. Enough to make a big difference. Okay it made a difference to the handling of the boat as well, if fact it handled like a bad shopping trolley.

Here is a time lapse video of the passage through the tunnels on the Nivernais summit level at Baye. It’s a one way system, you probably guessed that anyway. So many locks.

Approaching the Nivernais summit.
Approaching the Nivernais summit.
Baye at the Nivernais summit level.
Baye at the Nivernais summit level.
Hire base near the Nivernais summit
Driftwood moored up at a boat hire base on the Nivernais.

Harry & Marion


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