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.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

12th - 18th September 2011 Banagher, Shannonbridge and the River Suck

Meelick Weir is not far below the mooring at Meelick Quay. We are told that when the walkway over the rest of the weir, beyond these sluices, was built, there was an issue of safety. Would people walking across be falling into the water? Indeed they might! So it was decided that a solid railed fence should be built along the walkway to keep the people safe. However, the first time that the water in the Shannon rose over the walkway, as it does in winter, the fence was too good! It caught all the debris from the floodwaters, and created a dam across the river. The waters backed up the river for over four miles to flood Banagher. The fence was removed and now the walkway is no longer useable!


After four windy nights at Meelick, we sailed on to Banagher, and moored in the corner of the harbour, to have some protection from the wind, which was still quite strong.



Catkin is not impressed by the height of the harbour walls. It is a two-person lift to get her to the shore here.


On the far side of Banagher bridge there is a Pitch and Putt course, which  was a good place to walk in this windy weather. There were no golfers in sight!


Beside the Pitch and Putt course, a swimming pool has been built into the River Shannon. No-one was swimming there today, but it would be nice on a lovely summer's day.


From Banagher we carried on upstream. A very young donkey foal viewed us with interest, as we passed by on the river.
We took another detour behind Lehinch Island. It became very narrow at one corner, but we did manage to get through. It is not a detour to be recommended though, as there is a large rock in the centre of the channel, just before rejoining the main River Shannon. As we only grazed this rock lightly, it did not tip us over too far!


At Shannonbridge there is wallside mooring below the bridge. However, we went on to moor on the outside of the long jetty, above the bridge. There are electric hookup points and water taps available right along the jetty.

From Shannonbridge we sailed back downstream and on to the River Suck. This river is a large tributary of the River Shannon, joining it just below Shannonbridge. All black markers are green instead of black on the Suck, which makes them easier to see.


Even near to the junction, the flow of water on the Suck is quite noticeable. As the river narrows further on, it becomes even more interesting on the corners.


On the approach to Pollboy Lock, we pass close to the weir stream. Our channel ahead lies to the right of the red marker, round the corner into the unknown!



The town of Ballinasloe lies near to the harbour, with many resident ducks.



The famous Ballinasloe Horse Fair is held in the town every year in October. This statue, in the centre of the town, is extremely lifelike.


This boat in the harbour belonged to Winston Churchill at one time.
We sailed back down the Suck and through Pollboy Lock, which is the only lock on this river. It was built in 1997, opening up this attractive river to boats.

Cruising on down the Suck, the clouds behind are gathering.

However, in front of us, it looks like a lovely day. During the morning the clouds cleared, and then closed in again, several times.


We were five minutes from Shannonbridge when the heavens opened and Andy got soaked! We returned to the jetty mooring again, after the rain.

On the other side of the river, some swan fury was unleashed, as an intruder was chased away.
Unfortunately, the boat which had been moored behind us made an error of judgement when leaving the mooring. The wind was blowing him towards us and, instead of slowing down to push his boat out, he decided to power forward to get past us. You can see from the new angle of The Puzzler's port taff rail, that he hit us quite hard. Welding will be needed, as soon as possible, although steering should not be a problem until then. Thank goodness it was not the tiller that was hit! The boat which hit us can be seen above, sharing Pollboy lock with The Puzzler.

1 comment:

  1. Just catching up on your adventures, as we haven't had much access to internet in Mozambique. Love the photo of Catkin being lifted out of the boat and the donkeys are very cute. So sorry that The Puzzler was damaged by the other boat, but so glad it is fixable and that you can still steer. Love Debs x

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