Mostly, if we get underway late we like to finish early to make up for it. By the time we (reluctantly) finished our farewells to Ron and Robin it was almost so late that we’d have to stop ten minutes ago if that rule were to apply.
Never the less, with barely an hour before the locks were due to close for what no doubt for them was a well deserved lunch break, we departed in a sea of misty rain, through the tunnels, past waterfalls and along what really amounts to little more than a winding forest creek at the top of the Canal du Nivernais, grateful for the whole magical four kilometre section that we weren’t in command of a large commercial barge.
It’s all downhill from there though. The first sixteen locks come in two kilometres, the next eight in four more, and with an itinerant lock keeper on hand to take care of the hardest work it’s quite easy to make rapid progress, and by lending a hand (and keeping a supply of coffee and sugary treats up to the tiring lock keepers) it’s not difficult to make new friends either. I only received one declaration of love though, although it came with a bunch of freshly picked wildflowers for the other of us.
“Rapid progress” is a contextual interpretation which may require further definition though. To put things into proper perspective we had achieved an average speed of almost one and a half kilometres and four locks per hour by the time we called "enough"!