Oft times, we found ourselves shaded by cooling canopies of creeper encrusted trees stretching their branches out over the canal, creating an emerald world reminiscent of the Land of Oz.
A smoke filled haze filling the air created an ethereal landscape as we rounded one of the bends.
It was created by a landowner burning off.
The old tow path once used by the barge horses, is now traversed by cyclists, walkers and today a horse drawn caravan – reminiscent of the gypsies of old, assisted in adding to the fantasy feel of the day.
Arriving at the small township of Hure,
we soon discovered mooring was an issue. The starboard bank shallow, we continued motoring until under shady trees on the port side of the canal, just part the bridge. A depth of 2m, Gratis was safe here. Out came the stakes, which were soon hammered home.
A walk over the bridge
Since the person overseeing the Gallo Roman Mosaic we had so been looking forward to viewing was on holiday its building was closed. However, at base of the church – almost opposite the war memorial – was a small square of faded mosaic peeking out from under the foundation:
in history it’s been found that churches/temples and so on were erected upon sites of previous religious significance.
Small squares roughly 1cm in size, in colours of brown, black and white had created a pattern of waving and straight lines – seemingly a border to what was a much larger picture – were now encrusted in lichen and lichen. This uncleaned piece of flooring brought home to us the true age of these awe inspiring piece d’Art.
Back on board, a little farther on a stop for lunch. A boat having been moored upon the pontoon, was preparing to leave. Gratis nosed gently into the the bank, and nestled there until the dock was free. Disembarking, the boys set to pulling her back until she rested alongside.
At Meilhan – sur – Garonne a restaurant sat upon the bank covered by a cooling canopy. Mooring pontoon with capitainerie office, caravan – park, water and power completed the scene.
It was around here that the canal slipped between a hillside several metres high and the Gironde. Thickly forested areas were now dotted here and there.
A bit of excitement at Pont de Gravieres as we came upon a boat moored with its stern out across the canal. A wave from another boatie and we were soon informed the lock wasn’t working. Pulling in we tied upon the moorings provided. A short wait, then all commenced working once more. A further wait, whilst two lock loads of boats went ahead.
Houses hidden within the undergrowth
were interspersed with field upon field of dazzling golden sunflowers in full bloom.
we continued upon the meandering canal.
Late afternoon, after roughly 5 hours of motoring, Pont des Sables – our anchorage for the night came in sight. One more lock and bridge and we were there.
Boat lift for up to 12 tonnes, chock a block full of boats upon starboard bank. A good km down at the end of the line was a nook just for us. Bird calls and rowers completed the relaxing scene.