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.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

20th - 24th August. Scarriff River, then Lough Derg to Killaloe

Once the wind died down, we set off westwards on Lough Derg. As usual here, the clouds are quite spectacular. The west end of Lough Derg becomes Scarriff Bay, and leads to the Scarriff River.

On leaving the lough, it is like entering a different world. Reeds line both sides of the river here, and the water is so still.

Scarriff Harbour has concrete finger moorings, which are not too high for Catkin. Looking back down the harbour here, the Waterways Ireland Offices can be seen at the end. Autumn colours have come early to the horse chestnut tree. 

The harbour is only fifty yards further on to the left from this junction. As boats are not allowed up Scarriff River from this point, we took the dinghy, and were able to go a further half mile. As we rounded the first corner we came upon some fishermen, who had not heard us coming, the electric engine being so quiet. Once we had untangled the fishing line from the propellor shaft, we carried on! Luckily the propellor itself is quite deep in the water.

Reddan's Quay is a small mooring further back on the Scarriff River. Mini Puzzle had been towed behind The Puzzler, but we stopped here to deflate it, ready for our long sail down to the south of Lough Derg. We had planned to stay here overnight, but as the weather was so calm, we carried on. Lough Derg is much more comfortable in calm conditions.

At the bottom end of Lough Derg, there is a new jetty at Killaloe, which only opened in June this year. There are lots of water and electric points right along the jetty.

Killaloe, on the right bank of the Shannon River, is a surprisingly hilly town. St. Flannan's Cathedral is situated near to the river and is an impressive building.It was built in the 13th Century, but with a new tower added in 1800.

We found a good walk up the hill above the moorings.
Killaloe canal can be seen to the right of the Shannon, with the new jetty to its left. Killaloe bridge is beyond the new jetty, with Ballina village on the far bank, underneath the rainbow.
Killaloe canal was originally built to bypass a former weir. When Ardnacrusha Dam was built, it raised the water levels, and the canal lock has been removed, as there is no longer a weir. However the canal is currently not passable, due to this gate, which prevents the full force of the river from causing erosion by flowing down the canal. Catkin is wearing her boots to protect her feet from the rough surfaces which abound on walkways and paths.

The road on the bridge at Killaloe is very narrow, and is controlled by traffic lights, to the annoyance of busy traffic. From the river though, the bridge is very attractive. There is room to moor a few boats above the bridge in Ballina.

We were lucky to see these swans flying down the River Shannon past The Puzzler.

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