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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Upper Shannon Meanderings 18th – 26th July.
Monday was wet and windy, but we set off down Lough Key, in order to be at Carrick-on-Shannon in good time. It was a wet crossing with waves over the bows!
We next visited Boyle Abbey which is in the process of restoration. It was founded in the 12th Century as a Cistercian Monastery.
The abbey ruins were very well preserved, as were the visitors!
These donkeys came straight over to see us, and were very friendly.
Martin enjoyed taking the helm back across Lough Key to the Lough Key Forest Park mooring.Martin is an incredibly experienced sailor, albeit usually out at sea.
Castle Island was our next stop. This folly was built in the 19th Century from the ruins of the old castle.
It was a very short mooring here, with The Puzzler resting on the rocky shore. We created a minor problem for visiting canoes!
It was possible to scramble right round the island and also to climb up to the ramparts.
Next stop was The Zipit Experience, also at Lough Key Forest Park. Sally and Martin were strapped into their harnesses, ready to go, while Andy was photographer-in-chief !
There are four levels of difficulty at Zipit. This shows one of the early obstacles on the White course, which was also one of the most difficult obstacles, due to the height being climbed up the seemingly level steps.
This one was much easier!
Martin strolled across the ropes with ease!
These pallet type platforms tended to swing apart as we stepped between them.
As we only had time to complete two of the four courses, we had to forego riding a BMX bike along a wire from treetop to treetop. Maybe next time!
Jenny steered back down Lough Key to the Boyle river. The weather has been kinder than it was on Monday, when the waves were coming over our bows.
This gypsy horse and caravan were in Leitrim.
From Leitrim we cruised up the first six locks on the Shannon-Erne Waterway, to moor above Kilclare Lower lock. We played Petanque on the newly mown grass beside The Puzzler, before going to the local hostelry to sample the Guiness there.
Well, you could go and work the locks instead!
We had a very pleasant meal at The Barge in Leitrim, before rejoining the Shannon to continue southwards.
This young foal was having a drink as we sailed past on the river.
Catkin has been coping very well with these high wall moorings
We made an early start through Albert Lock before continuing on through Lough Tap, Lough Boderg and Lough Bofin to reach Dromod Harbour in good time. Dromod is a beautifully kept village. Martin and Jenny left us by bus. We have had a great week together.
We spent the evening on our new neighbours' boat. There were 23 boats in harbour, one of which was a small cruiser tied alongside us.