These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Friday, 22 April 2011

Shannon-Erne Waterway and Garadice Lough 17-20th April






Catkin feels better today.



We sailed on through Lough Marave, with a regular forest of markers to keep us in the correct channel! The view across to the hills is lovely.

After going down Lock 8, Castlefore Lock, the waterway narrows, with conifers close to us on both sides, leading us to Muckro's lough, and then St. John's Lough. We then meander past the entrance to Kiltybardan Lough and through Lock 7, Ballyduff lock.


We moored above the lock at Ballinamore.
In the morning, our breakfast was interrupted by the arrival of the grasscutters with a strimmer, heading for the grass beside the boat. We rapidly untied and set off down the lock, with memories of a previous strimmer putting a stone through our galley window!


As we were following another boat at lock 6, we did not need to use our smartcard to activate the lock. The waterway is very attractive in the stretch below Ardrum lock. It is narrow and winds in between the fields.

Below Aghoo lock we turned into Graham's Marina, hoping for diesel. We were made very welcome, tying to a smart Dutch Barge. There was no diesel available, but a fellow boater took Andy by van to Ballinamore to buy some, lending him containers to get 4 x 20 litres. Everyone was very friendly and helpful with information.
It is a tight turn out of the marina, so of course that is where we met a large hireboat, which had not responded to our horn!
We sailed on and reached Garadice Lough, which is quite wide and was a bit choppy. After we passed Church Island, the water was calmer as the island sheltered us. At the end of the lough, we turned into Haughton's Shore Mooring. We tied on to Mardle,a 70' widebeam narrowboat and were made very welcome by Chris and Rachel. There were also two large cruisers, a Dutch barge and a penichette in harbour, so it was quite full. We found a pleasant walk along the lakeside, only complicated by the cattle grids. Andy had to carry Catkin again!


Bella, from Mardle is checking us out! There is a stray springer spaniel here, looking for a home. She is a very sweet dog and is trying all the boats as a possibility.

G and J arrived and are fitting a new back canopy for Mardle. We look forward to seeing the finished product.



Shopping by bike today.



We went back on to Lough Garadice and headed for Church Island.





The old jetty on Church Island has been here for a long time.

It was quite tricky to get the boat in close, due to shallow water, but the plank at the stern was adequate. Catkin negotiated the plank very fast, and nearly shot off the other side of the boat on her return, as she was going at such a rate!



It is a beautiful secluded place.


We set off to explore and managed to walk right round the island. There is so much dead wood and fallen trees everywhere that it is quite tricky to find a way through.


Catkin really enjoyed the walk, and even retrieved sticks from the water.

The ruined church was built in the 12th century.


On our return to the boat we saw what we thought was an American Mink, but missed the ideal photo opportunity!

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