Before starting our trip up the Nivernais canal we met up with our friends Annie & Mark in Decize. We had a bit of a celebration as it was Mark’s 60th birthday. We were about a week early but we don’t know when we will see them again. They are off to the Canal du Midi which involves taking on the
mighty river Roan. But I’m sure we will get together again sooner rather than later.
We crossed the Loire today (Tuesday 13/Apr/10.) The sun was shining and it made for a marvellous trip. Then we entered the Nivernais. What a canal it is too. We chugged along slowly because we draw 1.3 Mtrs below the waterline, and that is a little too much because the Nivernais is a shallow.
When we rounded a gentle bend at the second lock we saw a woman in a canal side house. She had spotted us and immediately ran to the window.
She leaned out and then blew into a bugle! We were not sure what to make of this and she was waving welcomingly to us at the same time. We sounded our horn in response and thanked her.
I was later advised that this lady is a founder member of The Friends of the Nivernais Society. A society that had campaigned tirelessly for the reopening of this canal. And to celebrate the society’s great success she enthusiastically welcomes each new boat onto the system in this traditional fashion. What a great woman.
I also learned that the Friends of the Nivernais Society has connections with a similar group at home in Ireland The Royal Canal Amenity Group. A group that can also proudly claim to have successfully fully restored a navigation to full use again. Where would boating be if it wasn’t for decent folk like that.
No I’m going to nail my colours to the mast here and say that I think that the Nivernais canal is the nicest canal in France. It is just stunningly beautiful, put it on your bucket list. I know everyone talks about the Canal du Midi but trust me on this one, the Nivernais beats it hands down.
When you go boating you have got to expect that occasionally the facilities may be a bit basic!