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.
Monday, 30 April 2012
21st - 30th April. Leaving Enniskillen for the summer. Sailing through Upper Lough Erne, and on to the Shannon-Erne Waterway.
We took the route to the East of Inishmore Island past Carrybridge to reach Upper Lough Erne. These cruisers are all at home today on their island mooring, just past Carrybridge.
Walking up the road from the jetty we met this fine pair of donkeys.
Next morning a mink swam across from Inish Rath, the island opposite to our mooring. Perhaps he had been across for some spiritual guidance from the Hari Krishna temple there. He came up the slipway and then set off for some beachcombing along the shoreline.
From Derryadd we continued southwards and went to Derryvore jetty in Trial Bay. The sheep had come across the cattlegrid to see what they could find to eat, but found thin pickings on the jetty.
Corraquil is the first of 16 locks on this waterway. It was closed last October, soon after we had been through it, as the water level was higher than the top of the lock gates!
We needed water at Ballyconnell, so had to breast up to two hire boats, so as to reach the only available tap with a hose. The second one was rather surprised to find us there when he returned with his shopping.
This cute calf was surprised to see us gliding past him.
Log ahead! There was a tree happily floating down the river, ready to catch out all unwary boaters.
We eventually reached Haughton's Shore, and were able to move across to our favourite spot the next morning, after all the fishing boats had gone out of the harbour.
Andy has been shaping some hardwood for the front end of the roof. Hopefully this will stop any more unwanted drips. Not that we have had much rain at all in Ireland so far this year, as the weather has been lovely.
The fishing boats came back later. They were not too pleased to find us where they had been earlier, but managed to fit in behind us.
The sunset from our mooring, looking out towards Lough Garadice, was stunning.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
We were lucky enough to be taken out again by our friends, Gerry and Violet. We drove over towards the coast at Sligo and stopped to look at the stunning views over the valley of Glencar.
Glencar waterfall was very impressive. There has not been much rain recently in Northern Ireland, though we hear that England is quite wet too!
Glencar valley was lovely.
Cast a cold eye
On life, On death
Horseman pass by!
St Colomba's Church near Drumcliffe is quite impressive. It lies just to the north of Sligo.
Benbulben Mountain dominates the skyline, as we head north along the Atlantic Coast to Bundoran.
The sky was so blue, with cotton wool clouds, above the Atlantic rollers.
We walked round the headland to look across to Bundoran, which is a major holiday resort, on the other side of the bay. These brave (or foolhardy?) boys were jumping into the sea from the rocky outcrop in front of us.
Later on the waves kept on rolling in from the Atlantic, but the sky told us that it was time to go home to The Puzzler! We had really enjoyed the day.
Friday, 20 April 2012
The cherry blossom has been lovely to see all over Fermanagh. This tree is in the park at the Round "O" mooring.
Looking across the River Erne, this is a different view of the Round "O" mooring.
The Puzzler can just be seen on the far side of the river at Riverview mooring, in front of the Library. We have made full use of the library throughout the winter.
We went to Derry to visit a friend in hospital there. The Peace Bridge was opened last year and is a footbridge which curves across the River Foyle.
Shipquay Gate was one of the four original 17th century gates to the city. It used to have a watch tower, battlements, and a portcullis. We walked right round the old city walls.
Customs House is under renovation, but is spectacular to see from the city walls, guarded (or perhaps threatened!) by one of many cannons.
Derry stretches away up the hillside from the walled city.
Bogside can be seen just below the old city walls, with the distinctive murals on the ends of the houses.
These murals attract quite a lot of attention.
The cherry blossom is out in Derry too!
St Columbs Cathedral is a splendid edifice which was built during 1628 - 33. It dominates the skyline of the walled city.
The streets of Derry can be seen from the old walls of the town.
Monday, 16 April 2012
On Easter Monday we went to Ballybay in County Monaghan with our friends, Janet and Maurice, for a charity bowling afternoon on the all-weather bowling green there.
A good time was had by all of us, as we played on in the rain. Janet can be seen in the middle of this group.
Mrs. Duck brought her new babies to see us, but they are still too young to appreciate bread.
On Friday we cleaned and polished The Puzzler, ready for the press! We were duly interviewed and photographed for a proposed article in The Impartial Reporter, one of Enniskillen's local papers.
Back at the Ardhowen mooring for the weekend, we found that boaters are getting younger this year. This young man is well prepared for anything!
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Our younger daughter, Debbie, her partner, Matt, and Toad came to stay. They have recently returned fron South Africa, having cycled there from the UK. ( See their blog On the Road with Toad)
Debbie enjoyed feeding the birds at the Round "O".
The next morning it was off to The Cathedral Hall for short mat bowling. The stick, which lies halfway up the mat, can cause problems for the unwary bowler!
Sally was in good form today.
Matt did very well, having previously had some experience in Norfolk, although it was about 20 years ago. Obviously he has not forgotten how to bowl!
It was Debbie's first time on the bowling mat, and she did extremely well.
We sailed up the River Erne to the Ardhowen Theatre mooring, where the hyacinths were in full flower.
We walked in the grounds of Castle Coole. One day we must come to visit the house, when it is open.
Then it was on to moor at Culky, which was very peaceful.
Matt sits here in contemplative mood.
Early the next morning, looking back up the river towards Enniskillen, the water was like a mirror.
Coles Monument is set in attractive gardens, overlooking Enniskillen. Sadly the Monument was closed when we were there, so we could not see the views over the town.
It is quite a steep climb up to the gardens so we all had a well deserved rest by the Monument.
Having finished earlier than expected, we had time to sail out to moor at Devenish East mooring. As the level of Lower Lough Erne is low, the jetty is lying very high beside The Puzzler.
The ruins on Devenish Island are as impressive as ever.
In the morning, we all walked across the island to Devenish West mooring. The ruins gradually rise again into view, as we return to the boat.
Matt then showed us all how to skim stones out to the marker in the bay, after we moored at Carrickreagh.
In the morning, we awakened to thick mist, and found early fishermen on our jetty.
The viewpoint is still hiding in the mist. It lies directly above the lifebuoy on the jetty.
Once the mist cleared, we made our way up through the woods to the lookout point. Matt's good sense of balance helped here with the photographs.
The trees seem to have grown since our last visit here, but it is still a wonderful view over the islands of Lower Lough Erne.
Another photo opportunity!
Debbie and Matt took our dinghy, Mini Puzzle, out to do some exploring around the islands.
Toad decided to stay on The Puzzler. He is watching out for them, but hasn't noticed that they are now far behind him! They can just be seen in the top right corner of this photo.
The woods above Carrickreagh mooring are more impressive when seen from the dinghy.
Moving on to moor at Camagh Bay, we could walk across the sunken barge which acts as a causeway to the island of Inishmacsaint.
Here we all are by the ruins of the church on Inishmacsaint.
Next morning it rained for the first time this week, as they caught the bus to return to England. It has been a good week and we really enjoyed having them with us after so long.