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, 3 July 2012

30th June - 3rd July 2012. The Barrow Line to Athy. River Barrow to Carlow, adventures on a sandbank, then on to Milford.

We spent the next three days at Levitstown catching up on jobs and walking locally. This shrine was just beside the canal at Tankardstown Bridge.
Below Levitstown Lock the rails and landing stage have appeared once more above the river level. We have measured the height of the water here daily and, after rising over two feet on Thursday and Friday, it has at last dropped again to a safe level for navigation. All of this jetty and walkway was under water when the level was right up.

The river is still running quite fast, particularly where it narrows to flow around islands. The chart shows us which side of the river it is safe to go. We must keep to the left, or east, bank until we reach Carlow.

On the approach to Maganey Lock we have to make sure that we keep well to the left. On slowing down nearer to the lock, the pull of the weir can definitely be felt.

The Barrow is a wider river than we were expecting. There are less trees in the next stretch.

It is pleasantly calm in the lock cut approaching Bestfield Lock, away from the river current.

Carlow is the first town on the Barrow since Athy. This footbridge is new since the canal guide was published.
In Carlow we know that we have to turn right after the town bridge. After the footbridge we see moorings to our right and head towards them, then realise that we should still be on the left bank, as we have not yet reached the main town bridge. We turn left to go to the east of the island, but the current is too strong and it is too late! We end up sitting on the sandbank which lies in front of the island, and which is not shown on any chart. After a few false starts, with the young fishermen telling us exactly how big this sandbank is, our lockkeeper appears back from the lock, where he had been waiting for us. 
Mini Puzzle to the rescue! We launch our faithful dinghy, find all the ropes that we can, and Sally sets off for the far bank, to take this line to the lockkeeper and his van. This first try was a failure, partly because it was Sally's first attempt at steering Mini Puzzle, so she did not go very straight, and also because we did not have enough rope on the line! The current was very strong which did not help either. At the second attempt we had added the thin nylon washing line, and Andy managed to get across with it. There was still not enough rope to reach the van so the anchor rope was also deployed, and Andy came back by dinghy to rejoin The Puzzler. Eventually, we were pulled free and reached the east bank safely. What a relief! Being stuck on a sandbank with the river level dropping would not be very safe at all.

The town bridge at Carlow is the lowest bridge on The River Barrow, but we are not too high so it was no problem. Immediately after the bridge the navigation turns sharply right, and we cruise along the top of the unguarded weir.

It is a relief to get past the weir and safely into Carlow lock.

The run into Clogreggan, the next lock on the river, is particularly pretty.

The river opens out again below Clogreggan.

We can see hills over to the west of the river.

There is a narrow cutting through the trees to Milford Lock. As boats should leave red markers to their right and green markers to their left, there must be some thin boats going under this bridge!
We are moored above Milford Lock. We cannot go any further down the Barrow at the moment as there is a tree stuck in the river under the bridge at Leighlinbridge. The water level also came up by 11" overnight, and is once again not safe to navigate. This is certainly a different waterway to any other we have visited.

1 comment:

  1. What an adventure on the sandbank! Good job you had Mini Puzzle! Very glad you are ok :)