Balesmes tunnel and LangresJuly 11 in France ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C
While moored at Piépape we went for a little ride looking first for the bakery in Piépape, then the cafe in Villegusien Le Lac both closed so we decided to have a look at the Villegusien reservoir that helps feed the canal it covers 200 hectares and there seemed to be a beach so we headed off in search of sustenance. Hurray a cafe after beer and ice cream we headed back and decided to move on 2more locks so less to do tomorrow. A VNF representative asked where we were going today and tomorrow so we explained.
It was a hot night, with a little buzzing visitor that left me with 6 yes 6 bites, bloody mosquitoes. Up early and off we set at 8:45 we reach first lock and lights are out ummm OK wait till 9 still no lights 9:15 still nothing. I phone up, ‘oh yes sorry I sort and man coming for lock’ we eventually set off again at 9:30. But after that hiccup we enter a chain of 8 locks of 5m each to reach the summit, and their all ready and waiting, easy, leash. With only 2 to go we see a Peniche moored on the bank and the owner tells us he crashed yesterday. We don’t see any damage until we are past and see the rudder which is bent up 90 degs he must have caught it on the sill while descending. The final up lock took a while as the lock keeper, who is also in charge of the summit tunnel, was removing lots of pond weed with a digger before he would open the gates. We confirmed our destination as Langres where we would stay a few days.
The summit or dividing pound is 10km long with 5km of tunnel and 2km of lead-in either end. It went surprisingly well especially as after 3km the next lot of automatic lights didn’t come on, the motion sensor must be broken, so we were working by torchlight and emergency exit illumination only. We were very grateful to see the light at the end of the tunnel and know it couldn’t be the train coming towards us. So Take Five has now been through a tunnel!
After that our first down lock ‘avalant’ wasn’t ready and needed to be filled, then so did the second fortunately we were only doing two and arrived in Langres. After a rest we rode up to the walled town for a look round but I will save that for another day.
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