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


welcome to the March 2007 edition of the Lock-keeper.

For those readers who regularly follow the world of barging, most will know that its around this time we start our season. What this means for us is that everything gets painted or varnished, all engines will have been overhauled and serviced and all crew thoroughly briefed on safety and service matters.

It’s a busy time, Belle Epoque  welcomed our first passengers of the season on the 11th of March which is pretty early and we headed towards the chalky hills of the Chablis vineyards with experienced Skipper Nick Jones at the helm. Further south, Anjodi will be at the second International Midi boat show between the 30th March and 1st April, beneath the medieval walled city of Carcasonne.

This month in the lock-keeper, we visit the Loire valley, its Chateaux and wines with Nymphea, we cruise on down to the Canal du Midi, where we have five barges with a wide variety of itineraries, and we have an exclusive limited edition signed Ronnie Ford "Le Canal du Midi" Giclee print offer for Lockkeeper readers.

We follow Andrew Marshall on a gourmet golf cruise on Scottish Highlander and we hear more from Buck Maguire on Impressionniste in the south of France.

We announce our GoPortugal Villa competition winner and this month we have a competition to win a cruise for two on Nymphea in the Loire valley, finishing off with some news and offers.

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....

best regards,

Derek Banks, Chairman

Derek Banks - Chairman and Barge skipper

in this issue:


Canal du Midi

Gourmet Golf


Walking Cruises

GoPortugal Villa winner

Nymphea Cruise competition

Cruise News

back issues:


january 07

februaury 07


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Nymphea, Chateaux and the Wines of Touraine Luxury barge cruises on Nymphea, Upper Loire Valley, France

The Loire Valley is the 3rd largest French region of wine production, and is classified by UNESCO as being a world heritage site, Running from the Atlantic to the Centre of France it is the point of equilibrium between the North and South ,and complexity and freshness . The temperate Climate is influenced by the warm westerly winds from the Gulf Stream blowing up the River Valley, and in conjunction with the sumptuous ‘terroirs’ provides us with a most lively diversity of wines.

The Loire wine route is the longest in France, 800 kilometres! punctuated with some of the most exceptional historical chateaux that the country possesses.

Loire grapes on the vineIt is France’s biggest producer of white wines , and the has the fourth largest area under cultivation, with 63 appellation controlée wine types, and 400 million bottles produced each year. The particularity of the central Loire region, called Touraine, is that the proximity of the waterways on which the Nymphea cruises has played an important role in the expansion of the vineyards .

These waterways encouraged export of the wines by barge, which reached its peak in the 19th century, when Touraine had been the principal supplier of wines to the French Capital for over a hundred years. Grape varieties include - Red : Cabernet Franc, Côt, often called Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d’Aunis, and Pinot Noir.

The Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon is often assembled with some Côt to provide a typical Cuvée of the Touraine Region. Vinifying and rearing the three grape varieties in the same vat brings the best out of them ,(as opposed to mixing finished wines known as blending,) providing wines which are drinkable after two years in the bottle and at their best after four.

Nymphea cruising under the arches of the famous Chateau Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley, France White plants are Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and some Chardonnay.The Sauvignon is used 100% in the famous Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé wines, and heading towards Touraine makes the up and coming Reuilly, Quincy and Menetou Salon whites.

The Chenin Blanc, also called Pineau de la Loire ,is a versatile grape which adapts well to Touraines diverse microclimates. Picked early it makes fine, dry wines and at the end of the harvest,after the development of Botrytis, it provides the great demi-sec, sweet and liquoreux wines such as Montlouis and Vouvray which possess exceptional ageing qualities.

Several of the Chateaux we tour on the Nymphea’s cruise actually have their own vineyards, Cheverny, Valençay, Nitray and Chenonceaux to name but a few ! What better way to finish the day than with a glass of chilled rosé , grown in the grounds and parkland where we have spent the afternoon , visiting the gracious homes in the Valley of the Kings.

Contact us today to find out more about our Nymphea barge cruises in the Upper Loire valley, France.

Why not enter our March Nymphea cruise competition below and look out for our Nymphea Summer cruise offer in our News section.   back to top

Canal du Midi Le Canal du Midi - original TextureScape by Ronnie Ford, acrylic on wrapped canvas, 16in x 72in

Further south, the second International Midi boat show is taking place between the 30th March and 1st April beneath the medieval walled city of Carcasonne. Anjodi will be there dressed overall in her set of tanker flags and sporting a new set of saloon windows, 2 new generators and a complete paint job.

Since the BBC Rick Stein French Odyssey series took the barging world by storm two years ago, Anjodi and the Canal du Midi barge cruise route have been so popular. To cater for this demand, we have taken on three new vessels in the region, Alouette, Athos and Saint Louis. Including L’Impressionniste, these five vessels represent the most complete line up of barges ever, covering the whole cruising area across Southern France between Bordeaux and Marseille..

As pretty much the oldest canal in France, Canal du Midi really does take some beating for overall beauty, diversity of visits and choice of wines.

Contact us today to find out more about our Canal du Midi barge cruises.

Exclusive offer

The stunning Canal du Midi view above was created by Scottish artist Ronnie Ford. A frequent visitor to France, with his second home in Charente Maritime, Ronnie Ford found inspiration for this work on a trip to the south in 2006.

"A few years ago I visited Carcassone and was captivated by the still waters of the Canal du Midi, which, like a delicate ribbon running through the landscape, created an atmosphere of tranquility and peace. This memory was rekindled during a recent journey north from the Pays Catalan when we stopped a restaurant overlooking the Canal. My exploration led to the rediscovery of the magical mirror-like reflections which provided the inspiration for this creation. As with all of my works of art, this TextureScape does not portray a particular view, but captures the spirit of the Canal in all its beauty."

This painting in Ford's signature style of highly textured canvases is currently on show in the Kranenburg Fine Art in Oban, Scotland, for sale at £4795 ($9415).

Ronnie has agreed to offer a Limited edition of 250 signed Giclee prints, exclusively to Lockkeeper readers.

These stunning Giclee prints are mounted on card and measure 14 inches by 46 inches, a lovely gift and a very collectable piece for your collection, perfect for display in any setting. Visit Ronnie Ford's website to find out more about this exclusive Canal du Midi Lockkeeper offer.

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Gourmet Golf Barging
by Andrew Marshall Luxury barge cruises on Scottish Highlander, Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal, Scotland

Add a unique dimension to a Scottish golf tour, and journey by barge through lochs and along the scenic Caledonian Canal . Andrew & Paul Marshall take their clubs aboard the Scottish Highlander

Golf by canal barge in Scotland , it’s an interesting concept. Travelling by this mode of transport harkens back to a bygone era, one of romance and adventure. Combine this with four rounds of golf, on courses ranging from quirky Highland nine-holers to top notch links such as Royal Dornoch, add in some mouth-watering cuisine, world-class single-malts and convivial company, and it may just be the recipe for the ultimate ‘golf, leisure and lifestyle’ experience.

Keen to give it a try, we join the crew and other guests aboard European Waterways’ Scottish Highlander for a week-long cruise tailor-made for golfers - a journey from Fort William to Inverness along the scenic Caledonian Canal, with views of snow-capped Ben Nevis, across mysterious lochs where ancient castles perch on heather-clad hillsides, home of golden eagle and red deer . Quite simply, some of the finest inland cruising scenery in the country.

“Welcome aboard the Scottish Highlander and help yourself to glasses of champagne,” says skipper Dan Clark, as introductions are made, golf clubs and luggage loaded aboard and cruising golf guests shown to their cabins. One of four crew, easy-going Dan is an experienced barge master who knows these waterways like Tiger Woods knows the contours of Augusta National’s greens. He impresses not only with his ability to guide the 117 ft (35-metre) vessel into the smallest lock with only inches to spare but is also a dab hand at playing the accordion.

Other crew members include housekeeper and deck-hand Melissa Ho, a friendly New Zealand lass who assists with the lock work and beavers away keeping everything ship-shape. Next up, with an accent as thick as a Highland mist, is Moshy, tour guide and chauffeur of guests to the golf courses. And finally there’s chef John Baxter, an eccentric personality with a single-figure handicap, who is like a cross between cook-show host Floyd and comedian Stephen Fry. John is an expert on local recipes, cheeses and fine wines, and one of his passions is late night golf conversations over bottles of red. “Help yourself to the wine, beer and whiskies,”he says, disappearing into his floating kitchen with ever-changing views, where he will begin to rustle up one of many exquisite dishes fit for a king.

There’s no question of roughing it aboard the Scottish Highlander. Built in Holland in 1931 to carry grain and converted into a hotel barge in 2000, the spacious eight-passenger vessel has the atmosphere of a Scottish country house with subtle use of tartan furnishings and landscape paintings. Every conceivable comfort for year-round cruising has been thought of including: cabin heating, ice maker, pressure showers, a cosy saloon, library, fishing gear and bicycles. Powered by a 120-hp Gardiner diesel, the Scottish Highlander cruises along at a steady 3 knots. “She never misses a heartbeat,” says Dan, as we motor along the Caledonian Canal towards Gairlochy on the morning of our second day.

The majestic Caledonian Canal was built in 1822 to provide a speedy link for sailing boats and freight vessels between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean . It’s 60 miles (96.6km) in length, of which about a third is a man-made cutting which links a chain of natural lochs - Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour.

Gourmet Golf Barging - continued
by Andrew Marshall Nairn Championship Golf course, Luxury barge Golf cruises on Scottish Highlander, Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal, Scotland

Our golfing trip afloat quickly develops into a relaxing lifestyle. There’s plenty of opportunities to watch the scenery unfold from the barge’s sundeck, observe lock operation, visit the Ben Nevis whisky distillery and of course play golf. First up is 18 holes at Newtonmore, a parkland track that is renowned for its number of left-handed players. Beautifully situated amongst the Monadhliath and Grampian Mountains with the river Spey bordering its side, it’s a good opportunity to get into the swing of things before the more demanding links tests that lay ahead.

On day three, we moor up in historic Fort Augustus right beside the 5 -lock staircase that forms the centrepiece of the village, bordered by quaint cottages, a fish and chip shop and the appropriately named Lock Inn, a popular spot for a canal-side pint. After a hearty lunch of Navarin of Lamb with Thyme, Parsley and Bay Leaf , Moshy drives the group to the village outskirts where the quirky component of our golf-and-barge experience awaits.

Situated on moorland ground, on which crofters grazed their stock, Fort Augustus ’ 9-hole layout established in 1930 is as raggedy around the edges, as the wiry heather that lines the fairways. For starters, the course layout diagram on the scorecard is so difficult to understand it would confuse a geometry professor. There’s more sheep on the fairways and greens than at shearing time on a New Zealand farm. The local rules make interesting reading: ‘A ball lying on sheep wool, or on or made dirty by sheep droppings, may be lifted and cleaned without penalty.’ The course record is a 63 currently held by ‘Big Peter.’ “Not a lot is known about him except he’s big and he’s a long hitter,” says one member with a wry smile. Fort Augustus is still great fun though, but be careful not to slice your tee shot on the par-5, 6th and 15th, appropriately named Canal.

Each evening, around the time when everyone is pouring themselves their 19th-hole tipple of choice, John emerges from the galley kitchen and announces the dinner menu. “Tonight we’ll be having highland pie, which is made of ground beef, mashed potatoes, beer, and little bit of that stuff from the top shelf all marinated overnight,” he says. “Then we’ll finish of with baked apple and some Lady Jane, a hand-moulded cheddar from the Hebridean Island of Gigha.” All the produce is sourced locally - such as delicious lamb shanks, venison, salmon and award-winning haggis from the butcher in Fort Augustus . The cheeses are a culinary highlight - from Orkney Smoked Cheddar, and Scottish Brie to goat cheese made by Donald John, the lock keeper at Dochgarroch, all paired up with a selection of quality French and New World wines.

Meal times are an opportunity for guests to get to know one another. “My kids bought me this golf trip as a surprise birthday gift and I didn't know what to expect. I never thought I’d enjoy it so much. It’s so relaxing,” says 70-year old Rich Colfer, a sprightly and funny 70-year-old gas meter salesman from New Jersey . Staying in the Cameron double suite is Harriet Wolfe, a lawyer and single-malt connoisseur from Connecticut . Completing the guest list in addition to our good selves are keen golfing couple Walt and Margi Schmick from Denver who are treating themselves to this golf cruise for their wedding anniversary. The conversation and wine flows freely and invariably involves golf - laughing about the sheep at Fort Augustus Golf Club, discussing the highs and lows of the day’s round and what would Nairn, our third course be like?

Nairn's Championship course is home of the famous GB & Ireland Walker Cup Victory in 1999, and one of the finest links courses in the country. Founded in 1887 and added to and extended by Archie Simpson, Old Tom Morris and James Braid, Nairn is is a classic "out and back" par-72 links course with a strong Scottish ambience. The first hole, aptly named Sea, gives a hint of what lies in store as the course threads its way along the southern shore of the Moray Firth with spectacular views over the water to the Sutors of Cromarty, Ben Wyvis and the hills of Sutherland beyond.

The par-4 holes tease and confound and all four short holes are cunningly angled, with the 4th a little gem and the 14th a classic played from an elevated tee-box- All three of the par 5 holes are over 530 yards long, which is a test for all. With crisp fairways,deep pot bunkers and punishing rough and gorse, it makes it very difficult to post a respectable score, which we all discover. But it’s the speed of the billiard table-like greens, some of the best in the country which will prove to be the biggest challenge. Several decades earlier, having played the Championship Course, James Braid commented on their quality – “The texture of the turf and character of the greens is unrivalled,” he said.

Gourmet Golf Barging - continued
by Andrew Marshall Royal Dornoch Championship Golf course, Luxury barge Golf cruises on Scottish Highlander, Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal, Scotland

After leaving our mooring at Fort Augustus we cruise across the mighty waters of Loch Ness. At 22 miles (38.6km) long and up to 1.5 miles wide ( 2.4 km ), its surrounding mountains enter the water dramatically enough to form sheer underwater cliffs. No-one knows for certain if monsters inhabit the near 300m (1000-ft) depths, but certainly its peat darkened waters would be the perfect place for such a legend to hide. Incredibly, ‘sightings’ of a creature are recorded as far back as the 7th Century, and carvings of this unidentified animal made by ancient inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands some 1,500 years have also been found. We joke to ourselves that there’s probably a better chance of spotting ‘Nessie’ than shooting under our handicaps at the final course of our golf cruise- the remote and testing links of Royal Dornoch, about an hour’s drive from our mooring at Dochgarroch.

“You’ll need a six-inch nail to keep your hat on today,” says the starter, as a four-ball made up of Rich, Harriet, Margi and Walt prepare to tee off on Dornoch’s 331-yard par 4 1st. We follow behind as a two-ball, and as sure as the quality of John’s cooking, the wind is up. I quickly study the course guide and nervously draw an iron from the bag. Royal Dornoch throws down the gauntlet right from the very first tee.

“After the second hole, you round a corner, pass a hedge and golfing heaven breaks loose.” These words on the club’s web-site are temptation enough, but once we go around the said corner, everything about this heralded links is right in front of us. Framed between the hills and mountains to the left and the wild North Sea is a rich tapestry of undulating fairways and greens interspersed with flowering yellow gorse.

Golf was first played here at least as far back as 1616 when the Earl of Sutherland ordered clubs and balls to take up the game that was becoming so popular further south. This makes Royal Dornoch , the 3rd oldest golfing community in Scotland . It was also the home course of Donald Ross, the famous golf architect who created some of America ’s finest tracts such as Pinehurst No.2.

The layout is classic links with the first 8 holes following the natural slants and humps of the old dune embankments while the remainder skirts the sandy beaches of Dornoch Bay . Plateau greens are characteristic as well as raised tees and on the par 3s, these saucer-shaped greens prove daunting. The 163-yard 6th has to be one of the toughest par-3 tests with no favours for those hitting left into the gorse or right down a steep bank where double bogeys are routine.

Although the front nine is delightful, it is the back nine where the real examination begins. Harry Vardon reckoned that Foxy, the 445-yard par-4 14th was the most natural hole in golf, with no bunkers and a succession of hillocks running up to the green on the right. The closing holes over the barely covered bones of the links, and the thin turf can throw a ball in any direction no matter how well struck. Multiple British Open champion and links aficionado Tom Watson probably summed up Royal Dornoch the best when he said “This is the most fun I have had playing golf in my whole life.” And Mr Watson’s very same words could easily be applied to a week’s Gourmet Golf Barging on European Waterways’ Scottish Highlander.

Other Golf Cruises are available with European Waterways including the following:

SOUTH OF FRANCE (aboard the Anjodi), Beziers to Trebes on the Canal Du Midi. Golf courses played: Cap d’Agde, Golf de Lamalou-les-Bains, Golf de St Thomas, Golf de Carcassonne.

ENGLAND (aboard the Actief), Oxford to Windsor on the River Thames .
Golf courses played: Huntercombe Golf Club, Sunningdale Golf Club,Denham Golf Club, Stoke Pages Golf Club & Wentworth.

IRELAND (aboard the Shannon Princess II), Killaloe to Athlone on the River Shannon . Golf courses played: Lahinch Golf Club, Portunna Golf Club, Galway Bay Golf Club, Athlone Golf Club and Glasson Golf & Country Club.   

Contact us today to find out more about our Luxury barge Golf cruises    back to top

Onboard L'Impressionniste with Buck Maguire Impressionnist

I holiday to a new destination each day, all without having to pack and unpack daily; I discover a cheese first made 2000 years ago; and a nudist colony with 40,000 visitors. France abounds with love and romance. Even their beautiful language leaves travellers smitten with a joie de vivre (joys of life) ---particularly when barging.

Years ago, on my first business trip there, my French was so poor, I said ‘hello’ when I meant, ‘good bye and later by speaking to any Frenchman tolerant enough to listen, it improved. Once in Avignon airport Southern France, M. Francis du Pont, a French business associate, was chattering typically with hands waving about to a M. Le Clercq and M. Villion; they looked jolly enough for me to inflict my humble French again.

But I was in for a shock! Both were South Africans; De Klerk and Viljoen. Their families had met other SA French Huguenot descendents on a luxury barge trip through Southern France, where their forefathers originated. They explored their family roots and the ladies thrived in new scenery each day without having to pack and unpack, all at a pace life should be at. With a whooping laugh they said the barge travelled as delightfully slow as an ’old ossewa’. Besides,’ Die lekker lewe’ beckoned. Hotel barge prices included lavish meals, wines, cheeses, prime twin cabins, walks, libraries and bicycles.

As I was working a 12 hour day and pressed to do more in less and less time, I felt like I had Jake White's job. Potential business had cropped up and I was about to go by train from Agde to Paris (a 5.5 hour trip, cost 50 euros) when I noticed a colourful farmer’s sales cart with gorgeous red grapes packed in crisp, white, waxed paper. Still with bloom on them, I politely asked him, ‘Combien’ (how much) and paid his ‘les Prix’ (price). The first grape burst decadently in my mouth sending taste explosions ricocheting around and. its delicious juices were thirst quenching. Feeling uniquely relaxed, I made a decision to put health before potential wealth and cancelled the Paris train trip. I too needed a ‘lekker lewe’ breakaway and began surfing the web frantically on my laptop before finding . My hopes surged. But could I get a booking?

Chef RebeccaLuckily I found a late cancellation at a good price (best in spring) and soon I was on the famous barge L’Impressionniste travelling from Agde to Avignon, a voyage of 6 nights. Then from nearby Montpellier, I could fly cheaply by Ryan Air to London and hence by SAA to SA. The Barge crew of 5 comprised Captain, Chef and 3 staff had a welcoming party for the 10 passengers and as we sipped chilled Champagne, someone like Alice in Wonderland, cried out, ’Who made these delicious Canapés?’ Our charming Irish Chef, Rebecca Clair, grinned happily and the Captain said her pastries were so light, if tossed in the air, they kept going up!

When ever in a lock I visited the ‘Eclusiers’ (lock keepers) who welcomed me with a, “Bonjour” (hello) or “Au Revoir” when I left. Another favourite was to select a good book and musical DVD from the barge’s library and absorb it on the sundeck.. The metronomic thumping of the barges engine added to the tranquillity and daily we went with the captain exploring ashore. The 22 cheeses aboard, reminded me of President Charles de Gaul’s famous call; ‘How is it possible to govern a Country producing more than 370 different cheeses?' My favourite French cheese is still Auvergne Cantal first made 2000 years ago and its Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) certificate ensures its highest standard.


L'Impressionniste - continued Impressionnist

We had anchored in the Herault River, Languedoc, world famous for its fine wines and. nearby is Agde, France’s second largest city, founded 2600 years ago by Phoenicians. Sixty Five kms further on is Cap d’Agde where the famous Adonis (Ephebe) statue stands. It was only discovered beneath the Herault River in 1964. Tourists ashore had picked up (in error, I ask you) a pamphlet featuring Cap d’Agde and its Nudist Quarter, which takes 40,000 people in summer. It has its own long 2 km beach, shops, banks, bars, nightclubs, Marina, pools, surgeries and yes, their own police station! The mind boggled and I swore to pay more attention in future to pamphlets….

AgdeEarly morning walkers passed my port hole with speed in reserve and after a delicious breakfast aboard, the barge set off on the 300 year old Canal du Midi to Marseillan, a tiny village with coloured cottages scattered around like blobs on an artist’s pallet. Founded in 600 BC, its harbour opens onto the “Etang de Thau” (lake) producing half of France’s oysters.

Noilly PratWe walked to the nearby, Noilly Prat winery where as result of a shipwreck of casked Picpoul and Clairette wines for America, were held under legal dispute. Sealed by sea salt, they lay outdoors in the son and rain for over a year until in 1830, Joseph Noilly acquired them and added 20 secret herbs to the casked wine. By an amazing twist he created the unique and now world famous Vermouth Noilly Prat aperitif. It is, if you are also romantic, best enjoyed in a Waterford Crystal glass at a chilled 10oC (no ice).

White horses of the CamargueSuddenly, we were in the Camargue countryside amongst a herd of the world famous white wild horses running free there. It was one of the most memorable sights I had seen in 20 years of international travel journalism. Overhead beautiful flocks of elegant pink winged Flamingos, honked like Model T Fords, flapping erratically in the bluest of skies.

The barge put-putted to Aigues Mortes (Dead Sea), developed by Louis 1X in 1240 as a base for Crusaders going to the Holy Land. However when Louis X1V took over in 1685, he persecuted all Huguenots refusing to convert to Catholicism, flinging many into the Constance Tower ‘to rot.’ And in 1715 it became a Women’s prison and Marie du Rant was incarcerated here for 38 years bravely inscribing her window with the famous call to the world: ‘REGISTER’ (resist). Was she related to our own Springbok hero Os du Rant?

Arles is France’s largest city with a surface area of 758 sq. km. The famous “Ferias” (bull runs) and bullfights are held here in the old Romanian arena. Arles attracted artists like Van Gogh who produced two hundred paintings including the famous ‘ Yellow Building’ canvas. His friend Paul Gaugin stayed with him whilst Picasso, a fanatic of bull fights, created two paintings and 57 drawings there. The Van Gogh tour is a delight.

Palais des Papes, AvignonWe cruised the mighty Rhone River on our last day, finally tying up in Avignon where two graves suggest it was occupied from 3000 BC. In the fourteenth century, Avignon became the capital of World Christianity and the first Avignon Pope there was Clemente V. Seven Popes succeeded each other followed by two Schismatic Popes. Their Avignon reign ended in 1426 with the Definitive return of the Papacy to Rome. Today 600,000 people visit Avignon annually and the highlight is a trip to the magnificent Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes).

The Captain’s final dinner was extravagantly ‘trebian’ (excellent) and as we came from the 4 corners of earth, some shed tearful farewells with new friends; we had become happy-chappies. My mind turned proudly to the Huguenots and I reminded myself of the late South African multi millionaire, Anton Rupert‘s observation in his book, ’Priorities for Coexistence’: ‘A nation without a history is like a man without memories’.

Barging in ancient France had provided time to think clearly and I decided once back in SA, I would balance each work day with time for myself, no matter what; and to go barging again! The regions history enhanced my grand respect even more for our own SA past and it gave me a feeling of contentment and permanence again; for life, for ever. What a trip. Buck Maguire: Cape Town: ...   

Contact us today to find out more about our L'Impressionniste cruises    back to top

WALKING AND CRUISING Luxury barge cruising in Burgundy aboard La Belle Epoque, France

With Spring in the air, we feel a little more inclined to get out and enjoy the sights of the awakening French countryside. It’s amazing how going on a barge holiday inspires you to get out and enjoy nature – strolling or cycling between locks, or getting the walking boots on and going a little further.

Go Barging, in association with The Wayfarers, is pleased to invite you once more on a walking and barging holiday on La Belle Epoque cruising the River Yonne and Nivernais Canal in France this Fall.

The following dates still have cabins available to book a refreshingly different holiday, where you can enjoy a daily walk through the countryside in the company of our knowledgeable walking guide and spend the rest of the holiday relaxing, sightseeing and enjoying the local wine and cuisine.

La Belle Epoque Walking Cruise departure dates are : 7th October to 13th October & 21st October to 27th October 2007 Itinerary: Auxerre to Clamecy

Contact us today to find out more about our Walking cruises.

February GoPortugal Villa Competition Winner Quinta Padiero

For our February Lockkeeper competition we had a special prize - a 50% discount on our Portugal Villa hire for any week in 2007 (subject to availability) . All you had to do was visit our competition page, answer some easy multiple choice questions and enter the competition.

Find out who the lucky winner is; February Villa competition winner.

March Competition - win a cruise for two on Nymphea

Nymphea under the Chateau Chenonceaux in the Upper Loire valley, FranceFor our March Lockkeeper competition we have a cruise for two on Nymphea in the Loire Valley.

Enter our Nymphea Cruise competition here.

It's easy, read about Nymphea in the Lockkeeper and at our website, answer some simple multiple choice questions and you could be the lucky winner....   

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Nymphea summer offer

We are pleased to offer $500 off per cabin throughout July and August, 2007. Please contact us today to enquire about this offer.

SL Belle for sale

A few days ago, I heard from a friend of mine about a little piece of English history which has rarely come on the market for sale. "Belle" is over 100 years old but in fine condition. Whilst currently a day passenger vessel, she could be converted into a pleasure cruiser and would cut a fine dash wherever she sails. Her home on the Thames, is of course, cruised by Magna Carta and Actief. If anyone fancies a beautiful old classic Motor yacht with graceful lines and a fine sheer, please contact

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.

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 45th edition of the Lockkeeper, and hopefully the above articles have whet your appetite for that well-earned luxury cruise..! Please visit barge cruises and have a look around, or follow the individual links above.

The next edition of the lock-keeper will be out in April 2007, so we'll see you then.

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