Our second day on the canals: Vermonton is up a small side canal, and the small port there used to be used to assemble large rafts of wood which were then sent down rivers, finally arriving at Paris on the Seine. The locks don’t open until 9AM, so at the appointed time off we went, heading to Bailly about 12km away. At the first lock we were followed in by a hire boat with 3 German guys, and although the lock-keeper wasn’t there they decided they would operate the lock themselves – “We do this all the time!”. Unfortunately, they tied their lines off tight, and as the lock level descended their boat hung up, tilted, and became the origin of much crashing, banging and smashing noise. We stopped the lock and re-filled it to allow them to restore their equilibrium; they sheepishly followed us to Accolay, where they stopped, and are probably still cleaning up the mess inside!

Back on the Canal de Nivernais, we found a bit more traffic than yesterday.

Hotel Barge

This large hotel barge was the first serious on-coming traffic we had met to date. Just behind it were two other canal boats – the combination was a real challenge in our slow barge with its own idea of steering, but Skipper Ian got us past with no problems.

Waterman at Ecluse de Vincelles

“Waterman” in the lock, ready to descend, at Ecluse de Vincelles.

L'eclusier at Vincelles

The lock-keeper -l’eclusier – at Ecluse de Vincelles is opening the gates after we’ve descended in the lock.

We had a lovely lunch stop in the middle of nowhere to enjoy home-made soup and baguette purchased in the morning, and watched the passing parade of walkers and cyclists.

Cyclists on towpath

The towpath has walkers, cyclists, and various other things – including a walker with a donkey. They are all faster than us!

“Waterman” moored in L’Yonne river at Bailly.

By mid-afternoon we had arrived at our destination of Bailly, where we moored and did a short walk up the road to the Bailly Lepierre winery, located in limestone caves under the hill, with a constant temperature of 12C. We sampled their wares, including their specialities of some very nice cremant wines – appelation control won’t let them call it “champagne”. Then back down the hill, weighed down with a selection for our later enjoyment.

Bailly Lapierre Winery

The entrance to the Bailly Lapierre winery in the caves. This winery is renowned for its Cremant wines; they are very nice!

L'Yonne river at Bailly.

L’Yonne river at Bailly.