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.


Friday, 18 May 2012

9th - 13th May. Lough Key


We left Leitrim to travel on down the River Shannon. This herd of horses set off at full gallop at the sight of The Puzzler. 



However the donkeys were much more laid back about it all.


We left Slieve Aneurin on the far side of Lough Allen, but can still see it, having turned right on to The Shannon, as we turn right again to sail up the River Boyle.


As we approach Cootehall village, the name is written on the river bank in hedging.


The mooring at Cootehall is against a high wall, before the bridge.

Although Cootehall is not a very large village, there have been a great many new houses built here. However we can see from the prices being asked that they are not selling very fast!



Once on Lough Key we can see a lot of gorse on the further hillside.
As soon as we arrived at the new mooring beside the Lough Key Forest Park two ducks came for food. Half an hour later they returned to land on top of The Puzzler, near the back of the boat. I went out to chase them off. However, as soon as they saw me, they ran along the full length of the boat, as fast as ducks can run on webbed feet, to ask for more food. How could I refuse them?
On Friday morning the wind was pinning us on to the jetty and it was really rough, despite the breakwater. Sean helped us to move The Puzzler as far in along the jetty as we could. There was no way we could have done more than that to escape the wind.

Sean and Katherine then managed to get their cruiser off the jetty, and they ran for cover to another mooring round the corner of the bay, where they would be more sheltered from the wind, which was now probably force 5.
By the evening the wind had dropped. These moorings at Lough Key Forest Park have been built since we were here last year.  The long breakwater helps to protect it from incoming waves. There must be room for  at least 40 boats to moor here now.



Castle Island, lying out in the bay, is as attractive as ever when the sun shines. Weather here in Ireland can change so quickly.


On Saturday we continued to the head of Lough Key and on up the Boyle River to the harbour at Boyle.  The renovation of Boyle Abbey seems to be nearly complete now.

After our return to the mooring at Lough Key, the  weather deteriorated. On Sunday the cloud came very low beyond the breakwater, covering all the hills on the far side of the lough.

Later in the day the clouds cleared as the wind got up. It was coming from the north-west and waves were breaking over the breakwater.


In Lough Key Forest Park there are so many different natural phenomena. 


Sally is by the rhodedendrons in the Bog garden.



An overgrown canal runs through the park.


There has been some serious logging done in this part of the forest, allowing Andy to have a rest.


We liked the shape of this maple tree in the grassy part of the park.

1 comment:

  1. Cute ducks! Indeed, how could you refuse them? Lough Key looks lovely.

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