These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine 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, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Derryvore to Garadice Lough 22nd - 28th June

On leaving Derryvore, we sailed on to join the Shannon-Erne Waterway, and stopped in Ballyconnell for shopping. We collected the post and also went on the Ballyconnell Canal and Forest Walk. This well signed walk is the first one we have found in Southern Ireland. It follows the Woodford river, also going through the Annagh woods, and is very pleasant.

We are always on the lookout for convenient supplies of Diesel. At Ballyconnell, we found a very promising green diesel pump right alongside the river at a service station. Andy enquired as to the availability of MGO (Marked Gas Oil) - green in colour, but the same as red diesel in the UK. He was told that the pump was out of use just now. Andy then asked how permanent the problem was. The reply was: "Well now, it must be over five years since it broke down"! We left, disappointed.

An evening sail took us to the jetty by Bridge 26, then on to Haughton’s Shore the following morning, before the rain set in. We have noticed that Irish cows tend to lie down, when they are not grazing, so as to keep their piece of grass dry. They know that it is not a question of “Will it rain today?” but of “When will it rain today?”

Haughton's Shore mooring is the harbour at the end of Lough Garadice. The exit from it is beyond the bows of The Puzzler. The lough is straight ahead or you can turn sharply to the right on to the river. The Shannon-Erne Waterway continues on from here along the Woodford River towards Ballyconnell. The approach from the lough is quite tricky, when first seen, and many boats overshoot the river entrance and so end up in the harbour instead. They look first surprised, then embarrassed, as they turn and make their way out again on to the river. This to the amusement of boats already in the harbour!

There is pleasant walking along to the shore of Lough Garadice, where orchids grow in abundance.

We spent several days at Haughton's Shore, catching up with all external touching up of the blacking and green paint, where it had been scratched. There was far less to do than there would have been on the English Waterways, due to the scarcity of locks here. We will no doubt knock some paint off when we visit the Royal Canal, later this year!

On leaving the harbour, we looked back to see how boats missed the turn left in to the river, which is immediately after the left hand marker. Haughton's Shore is straight ahead, and certainly looks more inviting!

We sailed out on to Garadice Lough, intending to moor on a jetty which is on the mainland, opposite to Church Island, but it was already taken. We carried on beyond that jetty, and feel it is definitely one for the future. Turning round, we returned to Church Island. The lough is calmer than we have ever seen it, creating fantastic reflections as we came in to moor.

Later on, the other boat moved off, so we crossed to take their mooring. It is similar to Church Island, but the old jetty has been pulled to one side, making it a little awkward to moor.

It is also rocky, where The Puzzler's bows are tucked in behind the old jetty.

We enjoyed being at this rather different mooring, away from it all.

We were sitting quietly inside the boat when we heard screeching from under the jetty. This mink, (or is it a polecat?) came out, swearing at us for trespassing on his patch!


  1. Hi from Kenya,
    Love keeping up with your travels in Ireland. The photo of the polecat is great! :)
    Love Debs xx

  2. Was good to have tea with you. we have put a link to your blog on our project blog. See scheduled for 4th August.
    All the best

    Anna Keleher and Claire Coté from Derry Vore Jetty encounter!