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.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

9th - 10th June 2012. The Grand Canal to Lowtown then on to the Barrow Line.

As the rain and wind have stopped for the moment, we are carrying straight on across the Bog of Allen.
Away to the south of the canal the peat bog stretches as far as the eye can see. The method here is to scrape the peat off the bog, rather than to cut it, and then leave it to dry before taking it to the Power Station. These piles of peat were covered with plastic sheeting, but the wind has not done them any good!

Lock 19 is a long way from the last lock. As these locks were built for the 60 foot M Barges, it is still quite a tight fit for The Puzzler.

It is close at the bows.

And also at the stern!

We liked this grey pony, which was tethered beside the canal.  He was very interested in us as we passed him.

At Lowtown we had to breast up to the "harbour hoggers" who were moored on the pumpout station. This is a new pumpout which is not shown on any charts.

As we turn on to the Barrow Line we find where all the narrowboats are on the canals! Until now we have hardly seen any at all.

We moored soon after the junction, and walked along the road to look at the Old Barrow Line, which runs parallel to the New Barrow Line for a couple of miles. Beyond the bridge can be seen a pub, which is supporting Ireland's hopes in football's Euro 2012!

We have seen a few trotting ponies near the canal. This one is just above lock 20.

It is always fun to fill an empty lock, with all gate paddles open.
 As we carry on along the Barrow Line, the first stretch is wooded, with practically all the trees being ash trees. The countryside then opens out, and the crop here, in the field behind the cows, is barley.This is the first time we have seen any crop in Ireland, except for grass.

The Barrow Line is less isolated than the Grand Canal, and we have passed various houses since Lowtown. Rathangan was the first village we reached.
Lock 23 is another staircase lock. Andy and The Puzzler came through into the second chamber to find this horse, which had been brought here for a bucket of water, beside the lock. The saying "You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" was true here!
About a month ago, Sally found some discarded coir rope. She has been putting it to good use by making some fenders. Being  made from coir, the fenders will float if they are ripped off in locks by anyone trying to squeeze through one gate with fenders down!!

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