We have been Caravanners and Motor Caravanners for many years and we have often thought what a boat on a canal would be like as opposed to our usual motor caravan.
We have decided to make a cruise, departure from « Glénac » in Brittany, to discover the « Nantes to Brest Canal ».
On arrival once again we had a warm welcome and were shown our boat, one of the “Estivale” range which we gathered was the best on the waterways at the moment. We have never been river cruising before so we have never had any experience of cabin cruisers, we must therefore compare it with our motor caravan, after all it is a little like a floating caravan.
At the begining, we were shown all the workings of the boat, both mechanically and domestically, also how to moor, how the gas system operated, the two Nicols staff were very careful in their hand over. We then were taken for a short trip to familiarise ourselves with the feel of the Quattro, the model name of our boat.
We left the base at Glenac at around four o’clock in the afternoon and made our way, via the first lock, towards Malestroit. The lock was negotiated in a fairly tidy manner and we were away to our first stop at la Brisselais for the night, this was next to a hotel where we had a welcome drink, brandy with almonds which was delicious, then back to the boat and settled down for the night.
On the Saturday, our second day, we made our way to the next stop which was at Malestroit, this was a very pretty little town where we found all the facilities that we wanted including water, we filled the onboard tank here for our showers, this tank had a capacity of 450 litres.We did not leave this stop until the afternoon and travelled up to a village called Le Roc St Andre. This was a sleepy tiny typical Breton place with a very large church which had an extremely unusual tower. After a nights sleep we bought a super baguette, as they all are, and prepared to depart, our destination today was to be Josselin.This is a very quaint town dominated by what the guide books say is the most beautiful castle in Brittany, this lovely old building is right by the mooringWe walked round the town which has some really old houses, there are so many up for sale that we wondered what was going on. The town boasts a Basilica which has some very lovely stained glass windows.We left Josselin to start the return trip, the day was our best yet weather wise with a strong sun and virtually no wind, this made steering the boat a little easier.
We retraced our seven locks and ended up in Malestroit where we stayed the night.
Thursday was our last day and we only had around seven kilometres to the base at Glenac, the day turned out to be windy and bitterly cold as well, we went through the last lock like the professionals we now were? And turned the corner on to the river where the wind was howling.
When we arrived at the base we had quite a hard task to moor and it was only the very welcome help of a fellow boater that saved some acute embarrassment.Our six days were over, we had done something that we had never done before, we had seen towns and villages that we would never have stopped at if we had been in the motor caravan.We must thank “Nicols Boats” for giving us the opportunity to sample this canal cruise…Adrian French