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.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

27th September - 1st October. From Richmond Lock up the Camlin River. On up The Shannon to Dromod, on to the Carnadoe waters, and up Mountain River.

We winded below Richmond Lock, using the current to push The Puzzler round. The lock can be seen behind us to the left in this photo.

Seeing the Camlin River in sunshine this time showed us what a lovely river it is. We are travelling back upstream to rejoin the Shannon.

It is about three miles from Richmond Harbour back to rejoin the Shannon. The Camlin River meanders through the fields and is rather like the upper reaches of the River Thames.

The Shannon opens out into Lough Forbes. Although it is much smaller than Lough Ree, we are still a long way from the shore here.
After a brief shopping stop in Roosky, we continue northwards into Lough Bofin and on to Dromod Harbour. There are not many boats here, compared to last time, when there were 23 in harbour. The weather today has been glorious, with wall to wall sunshine. It was out with the chairs to spend the afternoon enjoying the heat. Catkin found a doggy friend to play with here too.

The private harbour at Dromod seems to be full, with not much boat movement. Since the end of August we have seen far fewer private boats out sailing.
We leave Dromod next morning to sail up Lough Bofin, with an overcast sky and a following wind. However the clouds ahead keep away from us, and we have another glorious afternoon, heading west across the bottom end of Lough Boderg.
Leaving Lough Boderg we are back on a smaller river system, and moor at Carnadoe Quay. This is a pleasant wall mooring, with plenty of short grass for Catkin. Another glorious afternoon here and then our Indian Summer was over! Friday brought torrential rain and by Saturday we could only manage a top temperature of 18 degrees, compared to 29 degrees on the south coast of England. Still, that would be too hot, wouldn't it?!
We were very taken by this attractive thatched cottage at Carnadoe. Considering how many reeds there are along this river system, it is surprising that there are not more thatched cottages. They must be the wrong sort of reeds!

After crossing Carnadoe Lough, we take the left channel at Carrigeen Cut. The way through the reeds is well marked, and we then go right and up Mountain River.
It is not clear at all where the navigation ends on Mountain River. There are some private moorings after about ten minutes, but we continued for a further half an hour, before discretion kicked in! We managed to wind, with the stern held by the bank, as the current helped the bow thruster to push us round. The bows were over the bank as we turned, and another inch would have made it impossible to turn. This corner mooring was a perfect fit for The Puzzler, although the field was extremely wet under foot.

We launched Mini Puzzle, and set off further up Mountain River. One of these swans flew ahead of us, in short bursts, for most of our trip. He eventually caught up with four more, who all paddled along in front of us.

We cruised on for over three miles before turning back, as the banks were closing in on us. The current was quite strong too, and we did not want to get too close to any thorn bushes.

This young beast was quite interested in our progress back downstream.
On approaching this "three spectacle" bridge, we managed to catch some weed on the propeller of the dinghy. It waited until we were nearly at the bridge before really taking hold, and stalling the engine! The current took us directly into the right pillar, so energetic fending off was needed. We finally spun through the smaller right hand arch, while Andy removed the weed, and all was well. We managed to hook the propeller on one rock beyond the bridge on our way upstream and another, or perhaps the same one, on the way back. It all added excitement!

However, we were quite glad to return safely to The Puzzler.

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