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.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

26th - 27th July. Along The Royal Canal to Richmond Harbour, to complete the Green and Silver!

Travelling westwards after leaving Abbeyshrule, the Royal Canal is almost parallel to the River Inny for a while and we catch glimpses of the river, off to our left. We were soon passed by traffic on the towpath, well, a tractor anyway! It was nice to see some movement by the canal, even if there are no boats to be seen. This lovely canal is severely under used.
The weedcutters have been doing a good job so far on the Royal, but on this section they have cut, but not collected, the weed. It is the first time that this has been a problem for us, so it was slow going.

There was a great deal of this pretty plant in the water, but we could not identify it. Any ideas, anyone?

Foigha Harbour was a lovely place to spend the night.
In the morning the skies were rather threatening as the canal passed across Cloonbreany Bog. We have left the River Inny behind us as the canal is now heading more to the North, so as to avoid Lough Ree, and join the River Shannon much further north, just to the south of Tarmonbarry, at Richmond Harbour, Clondara.

In lock 43 it was a case of "keep to the left" in the lock, as the right lock wall was extremely leaky.

At Benagh Bridge we had to call for the lockkeeper to open the lifting bridge. The old bridge can be seen behind it.

Soon after that comes the Bord Na Mona lifting machinery bridge, where peat from the bog is carried over the canal.
Our man was determined to see us through the next lock, even though we had told him there was no need. He wants us through Richmond Harbour as soon as possible, as it is officially closed to boats from 2pm today, and we are already later than that.

Once down lock 46, The Puzzler winded and backed downstream to moor below Richmond Harbour, half across the weir. The boom is a good place to tie the stern!
We have now completed the Green and Silver. We already have the burgee, and in due course we will have a certificate and plaque too. The Green and Silver is a waterways triangle, comprising the Grand Canal, the River Liffey, the Royal Canal, the Camlin river and the River Shannon. The Green and Silver was completed by LTC Rolt in 1946 on Le Coq, the boat which is shown on the burgee, and he wrote the book called Green and Silver. The Royal canal was closed for about 50 years, to be reopened completely in October 2010.  To find out more about it, go to

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