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.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

15th - 24th June 2012. The Barrow Line to Lowtown, then The Grand Canal to Hazelhurst and back to Fisherstown.

As the River Barrow is still closed to navigation, we are now cruising back up the Barrow Line.

Going back up lock 24 is quite tricky as there are no ground paddles at the middle gates of this staircase lock.

These donkeys are a popular garden ornament in Ireland.

The only boats on the move seem to be the weedcutters, which come in all shapes and sizes.

We can now see what he has done with the weeds he has collected.
At last we have found a water tap which will fit our hose. However, putting a water tap beside the bridge immediately by the bottom gates of lock 19 is not very convenient for anyone! The lockkeeper asked the council if it could be moved on to the jetty below the bridge, but was refused permission. We are now back on the Grand Canal, heading towards Dublin.
Mooring is quite difficult on this canal, but the stone wall above lock 15 is perfectly adequate. There is no lock mooring here. Our canal guide tells us that one of the lockkeepers lives at this cottage by the lock.

The paddles on the bottom gates are extremely heavy to work.
The relief lockkeeper told us he would let us work this staircase lock on our own as it would be fun for us! The top chamber holds much more water than the lower one, which certainly made it interesting! It is like this because an extra lock was removed in 1783, and lock 13 was converted into a double lock. The strange wider shape of the upper chamber is a remnant of an original larger lock.

Lyons House was formerly the home of the Cloncurrys, who were actively involved in the early days of the canal.
We went through Hazelhatch and on for three more miles before turning to return up the Grand Canal. At this point we are only ten miles from the centre of Dublin, and have decided to go no nearer. Hazelhatch is full of boats. We counted 61 boats there, and apparently 43 of them are liveaboards. Being non-continuous cruisers, they are all illegal, and are a real problem for Waterways Ireland. We did find one vacant mooring beside the pub here for our brief stop.

We found a mooring beside Stacumney, with deep water right up to the towpath. We seem to be specialising in mooring near to a ruin!

We decided not to climb inside this old lock house at Stacumney!
Two weedcutters were ahead of us at staircase lock 13. They filled the bottom half from a full top chamber of water without using any ropes at all. We felt sorry for the man in the front boat as he was really thrown about by the incoming water. There are only gate paddles between the two chambers.

The lockkeeper arrived while they were still in the lock, and was not impressed by their method. He let us up extremely gently by using an empty top chamber, and running the water through from the top.
Above lock 13 can be found the Village at Lyons. This is part of the Lyons Estate and incorporates a restaurant, a cafe and several shops, as well as a cookery school. There seem to have been a few barbeques in this building!

We moored above lock 15 again and found a good place for playing boules beside the lock.
The River Morell runs underneath the Grand Canal here, which lies along the left of this picture. We were surprised when a group of lads arrived behind our game of boules. They had been swimming on the far side of the canal, and must have come through these pipes to get under the canal!

This is the first time we have seen a heron in a tree.

We returned through Sallins. This is another place with many boats and few moorings.
Robertstown ahead. This is the most attractive village which we have seen on the Grand Canal. We went to Charlie Weld's pub for our Irish music. Grandad on the accordian with his 14 year old grandson on guitar and vocals were very good. Other ladies, including an 83 year old, also came up to sing, accompanied by a man playing the spoons. Another entertaining evening.

These weedcutters just keep on coming!
Back to Fisherstown so that John and Brigitte can go home. We have had a good time, despite not being able to visit The Barrow River.
 A barge came to share the mooring overnight. It is quite an occasion to see another boat on the move. We plan to stay here until The Barrow is navigable.

1 comment:

  1. The weed-cutters are very bizarre looking vessels! Good to see you are keeping up with your boules playing.