Anjodi, cruising along the Canal du Midi, painting by Stanley Rose

Hello ,

welcome to the March edition of the lock-keeper.

March finds us working hard in preparation for the 2004 season which is fast approaching. There are plenty of new things happening and lots of challenges to keep us busy.

In this month's lock-keeper, we have a fun article on the Scottish Highlander, supplied by two very unusual guests. We feature a new Art discovery workshop theme cruise on Magna Carta, and we announce the Actief luxury cruise winner.

We also have a great new competition to win a six night luxury cruise in Burgundy, aboard La Belle Epoque the flagship of our luxury barge fleet.

We find out how our barge Rosa was named and what her crew are up to over the winter close season and to finish with, we have an update on our Trans Europe six week cruise, with some good travel news for guests traveling to the South of France via Paris CDG

I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at our website, where you can find out all about GoBarging and keep up to date with the latest news as it breaks....

please read on and welcome aboard,

best regards,

Derek Banks, Chairman

Derek Banks - Chairman

in this issue:

Highlander Holiday

Magna Carta Art cruise

Actief cruise winner

La Belle Epoque competition

Rosa feature

Trans-europe cruise

Travel News

back issues:

july 03

august 03

september 03

october 03

november 03

december 03

january 04

february 04

(please note that past competitions are now closed)

visit our website

Highlander Holiday

Carolyn N. of Sandisfield, MA, USA, wrote to tell us the following fine tale.

"We have been enjoying the online newsletter. I thought perhaps you might find room for this little enclosure about our family adventure with Scottish Highlander in spring of 2000-- maiden voyage, I believe, after her make-over.

Lisa, my 13 year old granddaughter, and I were sitting together in the airport for a long wait 'til our plane arrived for the flight back to the US.

We decided to pass the time by making a list of all the "funny" words and sayings we had learned on our trip in and around the Caledonian Canal.

So, we made our list Then Grandma suggested that we create a story using all of these words. Lisa had bought two teddy bears at the small factory shop in Fort William, so we together got the idea of having the story told by the bears!

The bears, of course, were sitting right with us as "they" told the tale. Here it is! "

Highlander Holiday
A Wee Journal by Gus and Ben, Lisa and Grandma Carolyn, April 2000

Gus and Ben on the Scottish Highlander, Caledonian canal and Loch Ness, Scotland We are Gus and Ben, on April Holiday in the Millennial Year 2000.

We mates hail from the Caledonian Canal in the Great Glen of Scotland.

Our fine boat was skippered by Dougy from Elgin, and Dom, our favorite bloke from Dorset. Kitchen mates were Chris from Canada, Penny the Kiwi, and Helen-- she's a nutter!

We all went bargin' on her maiden voyage up and down the Glen from Inverness and Dochgarrroch mooring through Foyers, Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich , and Loch Dochfour all the way to Fort William and Ben Nevis.

Aye, we played the links at Skibo and Nairn, Torvean and Fort Augustus. That's where me name, Gus, comes from.

At Skibo, aye, that's certain, the mountain views got in the way of good judgment on the links. And at Nairn by the sea, we sneaked a trick ball or two onto the fairway! Pot bunkers gave us a few good scares.

At Fort Augustus, we got points for sheep and rabbits, and we definitely wanted to stay out of The Brown-- thistle and old heather- aye, that was a good challenge! Tidal pools, mountain colors, green and misty moor, rabbit holes that caught golf balls, baby lambs and brown bunnies-- all made us know that we were, for sure, in the gloaming.

The spirit of Chivas was with us. We had a few wee drams, lager, and pints, and learned to pot the ball at the Snooker Club.

We saw a few Midgies, heard a bit o' Gaelic, and tasted Haggis, Skirlie, Cocky Leeky soup, Cranachan, and Scottish Tablet.

Gus and Ben on the Scottish Highlander at Urquhurt Castle, Loch Ness, Scotland On our way, we collected Finnian and his excellent guitar and whistles, and met Mardo, brilliant piper of Urquhart Castle and all of Loch Ness.

We lunched in grand style at the Carnegie Club and the Glengarry Castle Mansion. We cabled and climbed to look out on Ben Nevis - that's where the name of me friend Ben comes from.

We even spotted Nessie on a fish hook, aye we did, right out the saloon windows!

We remembered Macbeth's three witches, the Highland clans, "Mrs. Brown" and Balmoral Castle.

Aye, we kept everybody busy on the mobile, on deck, in the galley, on the van, and at The Goring.

Our Scottish Highlander travellin' mates were good company, and no doubt we'll come back to our homeland someday -- back to our lambs and cows.

With our wee tuppence in our wee sacks, we found a new home in America.


Perhaps Carolyn and Lisa will let us know what Gus and Ben are up to these days.....or when and where their next cruise adventure is planned...

Travel News: Scottish Highlander (Inverness Airport) can now be reached from Heathrow ( tel: +44 (0) 870 607 0555) as well as Gatwick (Easyjet/ BA ) and Luton (Easyjet)

Visit the Scottish Highlander here

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Magna Carta - Art Discovery-Workshop Cruise

Artist at Windsor Castle, photo courtesy of Drawing and painting are adsorbing skills, which can be learnt in this stress free luxury holiday.

Although this short course will take a beginner through the process of watercolour painting there will be plenty of ideas for the more experienced artist.

It is advisable to bring some equipment of your own to gain confidence and build on what you already use. We will be happy to advise pre-cruise the best items to bring. We will have a variety of materials available on board.

Artist, Julie Hyde, will be your tutor for this week. She works in a range of media, pastels, oils, watercolours, ink, acrylic etc. and a wide variety of subjects, from life to landscape. Her passion for art is infectious and her fun loving, easygoing personality makes everyone feel capable of producing presentable art works. She has inspired many people to carry on to do successful works of their own.

Please follow this link to find out more about our
Magna Carta Art Discovery Workshop cruise

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Actief competition winner

We're sure all the Actief competition entrants couldn't wait for this part....lots of you entered, and the quality of the entries was fantastic - people put a lot of effort into thinking why an Actief cruise would be a wonderful prize.

As always, there has to be a winner, and we have to dissappoint all the other folks who took the time to reply, but that's life we suppose and one of you gets a wonderful luxury cruise on Actief.

We thought that we should publish a selection of the entries for everyone to read, so visit this link to review our choices, and the winner of course.....
Actief competition results

and don't worry, there's a new competition this month, so read on to see how you can win a luxury cruise in Burgundy, aboard La Belle Epoque...

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2004 will be Rosa's 10th Anniversary cruising

Bernard and MichelAt the end of March 1994 Michel and I were in "Saint Jean de Losne", Burgundy, to buy an Old Dutch Barge named "La Renaissance".

The Clipper boat was sleeping for over a year in a local broker harbour and our arrival was really a Renaissance (rebirth) for this barge.

After a heroic cruise along the wonderful "Saône river", on the "Rhône river" (with a worrying rise in the water level), on the "Petit Rhône", across the "Etang de Thau" and, last but not the least, on the Canal du Midi, we finally arrived at Toulouse; 2 weeks of adventure, breakdowns, frights and giggles.

Several weeks were needed before the beginning of the season to improve the equipment onboard, to renovate the paintings, decoration and fittings.

And "La Renaissance" became "ROSA".

RosaWhy this name? Rosa is a latin word meaning: rose color (pink) refering to Toulouse which is also know as "The pink City" because of all the pale red bricks used for the buildings; Rosa is also a common firstname in the South, so appropriate for an fine old lady barge; more over, the Captain's surname is ROgeon and the Pilot's surname is SArlabous: RO-SA OK?

Our first clients who tried out a cruise with Rosa were six associates. They suffered a lot, being obliged to test the Foie Gras, the Magret aux pruneaux, the Tourte Gasconne, the Armagnac Brandy and all these terrible dishes and products that the gastronomic South West of France suggests, but well ... they survived and they even wanted to return, again and again and again...

Gascony, and South West France
Fortuneately our first paying clients (Mrs and Mr Yaffa) were coming from New York and after them, hundreds of American, Australians, British, South Africans, Canadians, New Zealanders followed and became repeat guests onboard.

Rosa first cruised between Toulouse and Agen and then enlarged its working area to Toulouse - Carcassonne, then to Agen - Castets en Dorthe and fianlly to the Bordeaux - Estuary.
The next port of call beyone the Bordeaux Estuary would be Bordeaux - New York, but we will not do it, I promise !

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we will have "Special Anniversary Cruises", so watch the lock-keeper for more details..

What does a barge operator do in the winter time?

Winter pastime - Snowboarding in the Mountains See the attached picture taken January 6th and you will know !

Alas, this occupies us for only one or two days a week, the rest of the week is busy with paper work, marketing and rennovation of the boat.

This winter, cabins are being rennovated: wall papers, carpets and lights are all re-newed.

Visit Rosa here

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Holiday Competition
Win a luxury barge cruise for two on La Belle Epoque in Burgundy

We have another great competition to enter this month. La Belle Epoque, our flagship barge in Burgundy is the featured barge and you can win a luxury six night cruise for two in 2004.

Visit the
La Belle Epoque competition page and follow the instructions there.

We'll ask you to view some photographs of our luxury barge La Belle Epoque, tell you about some of the famous Burgundy wines and then ask you to answer three simple questions and tell us why a luxury cruise on La Belle Epoque would be a marvellous prize.

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L'Impressionniste Trans Europe 6 week cruise
Avignon to Amsterdam departing 24th October to 4th December

from Avignon in the South to Amsterdam in the North - follow the trail and experience the trip of a lifetime
There are still places left for our fantastic six week Trans Europe page - just imagine, six weeks of expedition cruising through several European countries, capital cities and cultures.

Discover Europe's most famous rivers such as the Rhone, Seine and Rhine, as well as the many smaller rivers, canals and lakes as this incredible journey unfolds.

Enjoy the history and culture of France and the Lowlands from Roman times to the present day.

Your cruise is limited to just 12 discerning passengers. This enchanting voyage will be a mixture of days spent cruising, sight seeing and city stays whilst discovering the regional cuisines and wines of Provence, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and the Moselle and Rhine valleys.

All accommodations on board, all meals, wines and bar drinks, use of all barge facilities - such as bicycles, jacuzzi and ship's library - and entry fees for shore excursions are included in the price.

If six weeks is too long, we can also take bookings for a 3 week cruise as follows;

3 week cruise - Avignon to Paris departing Sunday 24th October to Saturday 13th November
3 week cruise - Paris to Amsterdam departing Sunday 14th November to Saturday 4th December

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Travel News

For anyone considering a trip on
L'Impressionniste, it is now very easy for our clients to get to the South of France. There are now trains directly from Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris to Avignon and Montpellier. This is great news, as the majority of clients fly into CDG from the States.

For timetable information, please visit and click on the union jack for an English language version and then select timetable


The train between CDG Airport and Avignon is about 3 hours and the one between CDG Airport and Montpellier is just under 4 hours.

If guests are booking a charter we would be pleased to meet them at Avignon or Montpellier TGV train station on the Sunday afternoon from 4pm onwards. Individual guests can transfer by Taxi from both TGV train stations to the meeting hotel - journey time around 15 minutes.

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If you have any suggestions, feedback or barging stories to tell us, then please e-mail us. We'll be glad to hear from you and share your inputs in the lock-keeper. There will also be some spot prizes for good submissions...What would you like to read about next month..??

Why not email this edition on to a friend, and let them share the fun. New subscribers can sign-up here, and are very welcome. More people are joining every day, so let's keep building a great Barging community..!

That's about it for this ninth 2004 edition, and hopefully the above articles have whet your appetite for that well-earned luxury cruise..!

Please visit and have a look around, or follow the individual links above.

The next edition of the lock-keeper will be out in April, 2004, so we'll see you then.
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