Cruising in Augusts gone by have been filled with a mixture of sightseeing, castles and museums, boat breakdowns and repairs, and pure holiday entertainments. Somehow Google is able to regurgitate photos of events I had long forgotten about which is a bonus although it makes the process of sorting through and piecing together a coherent theme somewhat more complex.
Flotsam and Jetsam on the Regents Canal at Camden, London.
Starting with the big city sightseeing though;
Delightful Camden Visitor Moorings, Regents Canal, London.
It is always such a privilege to see a major city from the water.
The Tower of London, in passing.
Toulouse. Our first visit to the ‘Rose City’ was in 2015 but we returned on several other occasions and always loved it. Good museums we visited here included, Musee Aeroscopia, Cite de l’Espace, Lets Visit Airbus, Musee des Augustins and the Pastel Tour.
A shady Boulevard on a hot day in Toulouse.
Lyon. We loved our morning spent at the rather striking looking Musee des Confluences (of the Rhone and Saone Rivers) but there is so much to do and see and eat in Lyon that it is hard to know where to start even on the second visit.
View from the Musee of the Confluence of the Rivers Rhone and Saone.
And then the more pastoral moorings in Augusts included Fotheringay Castle in 2013. Not much left of where Mary Queen of Scots lived her last days and was executed in 1587.
What’s left of Fotheringhay Castle on the River Nene.
and Chatillon-en-Bazois in 2014.
Chateau beside the port at Chatillon-en-Bazois on the Nivernais Canal, France.
This was just one of the still privately owned and lived in Chateaux in Burgundy that we were fortunate enough to be able to visit on the days we happened to be passing through. But it was always a lottery on whether the local tourist sites would be open on the day and at the time that one was in Port or Halte Nautique.
Old town Cruas on the River Rhone, France.
Seen from the River Rhone Cruas at first seems to be just the site of a major power station but a look round revealed a rich history and another old castle.
In the Andre Auclair Museum in Cruas. A picture of life on the river in days gone by.
We made it to Godalming in 2011 on the little travelled River Wey and were disappointed not to be able to also travel down the Basingstoke Canal – a fallen tree was the reason given but as I have learned subsequently very few boats ever get to make that trip.
As far south as we could navigate on Inland UK waterways.
The Camargue in 2017 treated us to wild white horses, cowboys, black bulls, my favourite bee-eater birds, storks, flamingos, sea salt, scorching heat and a fair few mosquitoes .
In the Camargue. Cowboy on white horse seeing which young bulls might become the bravest.
And some museums along the way;
The Nut House. 2016. All things Nutty on this huge hazelnut farm in the Lot et Garonne near Clairac. My favourite takeaway from the shop though was the ‘Digestif’.
Maison de la Noisette, Lacepede, France.
Agen. 2016. With the train station nearby this proved to be a good spot for picking up and dropping off summer guests, buying very expensive Agen Prunes in the market, and for a Museum of Fine Arts.
The Basin at Agen, France, on the Garonne Canal.
Musee de la Falotte. 2015. We visited here several times and it became one of our favourite moorings along the Garonne Canal.
A private collection of Minerals, stones and sands with a garden mooring on the Garonne Canal.
It was in August that in two years we did suffer quite serious and unexpected mechanical failures.
Entering the Summit of the Midi Canal just before our waters broke.
Our first in 2015 was on the summit of the Midi Canal when the bathroom started flooding with scalding water – a loose connection on the engine cooling system as it ran through the hot water cylinder was the cause, and we did stop the engine before it completely drained the system and overheated. But there was a lot of anti-freeze to clean up in the bathroom and no sooner had we topped up the engine than that same evening the generator sheared a bolt and so we had no power.
Needing help on the Rhone.
The second incident was what all leisure boaters dread – being without any drive on a commercial fast flowing river. In our case the canal Stretch of the Rhone just above Sablons Lock with a broken fan belt. We drifted aimlessly until Hans (a Dutchman) stopped by to help us.
Aground before reaching the Quay in Tournon.
And this happened the day after we had decided to put into the little port at Tournon for lunch and promptly ran aground near the entrance. Stuck fast we had to be winched out – rescued by another kind boater (this time an Israeli sailor).
Va Bene to the rescue on the Rhone.
More planned was our move by road from Evesham, on the River Avon, to Redhill on the River Soar, after the blacking (for the first time) of Xenia’s hull. I had booked in with the boatyard for them to do the work but at the last minute was informed that as it was a Bank Holiday Weekend I would have to do it myself!
On the move from the Stratford River Avon to the River Soar – by road.
We did spend a rather worrying day in August 2011 stuck in Salmon Lane Lock just above Limehouse faced with no water in the cut above us and surrounded by London rioting.
Salmon Lane Lock on the Regents Canal and not enough water to fill the lock.
In the end I abandoned calling British Waterways and resorted to an evening of managing water through Johnson’s Lock above and we were able to continue next morning towards new rioting in Hackney and getting stuck again above Stonebridge Lock on the River Lee – no water above and the army camping out in the nearby Park ready to tackle rioting in Tottenham and watching the smoke from arson at Edmonton. The riots seemed to be following us around London.
Beating a hasty retreat down the River Lee to Limehouse Dock.
But we survived intact and made our way up to Kingston to attend a DBA Rally. Great fun to meet so many fellow boaters and have time to share stories and expertise.
DBA Rally 2011 in Kingston on the River Thames with riverbank conviviality.
Other fun August holiday activities included;
The ‘Descente Bidon’ festival in Clamecy on the Nivernais celebrating their history of Flottage (log floating from the Morvan forests all the way to Paris). A truly getting wet occasion, particularly so in 2014 when the heavens opened on the waterborne parade!
A truly wet August day on the Nivernais in Clamecy, France.
There was a fair bit of wetness involved in our visit to the Walibi Theme Park near Agen – a special holiday request from our grandson.
Holiday fun at Walibi, near Agen, France.
But we managed to NOT get wet whilst paddle boarding in Moissac on the Tarn in 2015
Watersports in Moissac down on the River Tarn Quay.
and then canoeing on the River Garonne in 2016
A great August day out canoeing down the River Garonne.