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, 24 July 2012

15th - 19th July. (Updated) On along the Royal Canal through the Deep Sinking, Maynooth, Moyvalley Bridges and Hill of Down to Mullingar

We set off and soon enter the Deep Sinking, a wooded cutting. The towpath runs high above us, which was very hazardous when this was a commercial canal. Occasionally horses towing the barges were dragged into the canal.

Further on there are fewer trees and some rocky outcrops.

This is a very attractive canal with contrasts between the traditional bridges and the more modern.

This one was quite spectacular.

The trains still follow the canal closely.

Without the Royal Canal lockkeepers today, we are working the locks ourselves. John seems to know what he is doing!
We walked through the Montgomery golf course to see Carton House, formerly the seat of the Dukes of Leinster. Our walk back was through the O' Meara golf course.
It is nice to see other people swabbing the decks! We stopped in Maynooth for water, but moved on out of town for the night. We all had a great evening on John and Chris's boat, with everyone joining in with the singing. We heard and enjoyed a lot of new Irish songs.
Next morning Feileachan was seen floating unattended by the reeds, doing a Marie Celeste impression. Someone must have cast her adrift. We wondered what the crew were doing that they did not notice!
We stopped for lunch at Kilcock, a small canalside town. The Royal Canal passes through far more towns and villages than the Grand Canal does. River is wondering where Dave has gone!

At lock 15 the two narrow boats were breasted up and Andy brought them up the lock.

It is good to see that Andy can still wind a paddle too!

We sailed on across the Long Level, which is a 32km stretch with no locks. The canal goes through another sinking here.

Further on across the Long Level the countryside is much more open.
Ahead we can see the two Moyvalley Bridges, the new one with the old one behind it. We moored just beyond the old bridge, where we all went to Furey's pub for a welcome drink after a long day at the tiller.

The next morning it was off to another pub for a proper Irish breakfast, with Chris leading the way.

Here the restaurant and pub are side by side, and the food was good. Along with Furey's pub, these three buildings comprise all of Moyvalley.

Carrying on along the Long Level we meet a gathering of three weedcutters, together with a larger weed collector. Perhaps they are breeding!
The Ribbontail Bridge was built to facilitate people going to the nearby church, and again there are stop gates, which will close automatically, should there be a breach in the canal.This time they are not chained open!

At Hill of Down we moored right beside the pub, which also contained a shop. This area was closely fenced, which was good for the dogs.

Cooper and Mia had a great game of chase, but Cooper got carried away and misjudged his direction. Mary's leg was in the way!

As a result  Mary had an extremely sore leg, and Cooper had a very sore head. He wobbled for a few steps before collapsing on his stomach.

We have had such fun, travelling with this convoy, as the group pics show.
The dogs were meant to be in the previous picture, but River and Cooper wanted to play. Allie, Mia and Trixie were very well behaved.

Trixie thought she would come to visit The Puzzler.

Beyond Hill of Down the countryside is much more open.
Jackie and Chris thought they would take advantage of this, and were joined by a dog which followed them for over five miles. He was collected by car later!
The towpath above lock 22 was a good spot for our last country mooring all together. We had another enjoyable evening of singing.

As the Royal Canal lockkeepers are with us again for the next flight of eight locks, Andy is taking it easy.

The canal narrows again near Baltrasna Bridge.
We reached Mullingar on Thursday. The mooring here is very pleasant, with a shower block too within the secure gated mooring. It was another evening out all together for a meal in town. A good time was had by all, once we had eventually decided where to eat.

We are staying in Mullingar until next week, so all the other boats have sailed off into the sunset (figuratively speaking) without us. We are missing them all already!

1 comment:

  1. When Tiger gave you his send off from the wall in Dromod harbour, I didn't think I'd see you again. Now, you are nearly back on the Shannon after doing "The Green and the Silver".
    Well done. What a journey and your record of it is brilliant. Great photos that tell the story. Good on you Sally. The Tourist board would be proud of you.
    We are in Boyle for the Arts Festival.
    Woof from Tiger.