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, 26 September 2012

2nd - 7th September. Back down the Lough Allen Canal to Leitrim, then across the Shannon-Erne Waterway through Lough Garadice and on to Aghalane.

We had to wait quite a while at Drumleague Lock as the lockkeeper was busy at Drumshanbo lock. We were considering working the lock ourselves when he arrived, so asked if that would have been OK.            "Definitely not" was the reply! He might have been quite upset if we had already done so!
Hazard ahead! We were just deciding how fast to push this fishing boat out of our way, above Battlebridge lock, when it was pulled in to the side. There was to be duck racing here this afternoon, with the lock sluices being opened to create a flow on the canal. Plastic ducks, by the way!

We turned left to go through Leitrim, and on to the Shannon Erne Waterway. The byflow below the Tirmactiernan lock (lock 15) is always an attractive spot.

At Lisconor lock (lock 12), we caught up with two penichette hire boats which were sharing the lock. It was quite a tight fit for them.
Boat crews walk between locks 11, 10 and 9 as these three locks are close together. Once The Puzzler was safely coming up in lock 10, Sally walked on to lock 9, ready to empty it, as soon as the penichettes had gone, so that Andy did not have to wait when he got there. Andy was to open the top gates of lock 10, once the lock was full, and sail round the corner to lock 9. This stone boat is just below lock 9, and is an interesting sculpture. After preparing the lock, Sally looked at this boat for some time, before returning down the canal to see The Puzzler still in lock 10, with the gates open, but with no sign of anyone on board. Was this cause for concern?
However, as Sally approached the lock, Andy emerged from The Puzzler with two ladies. She was told that they had shown great interest and had been having a guided tour of the boat! As they too were going to Keshcarrigan, they sailed on with us, and were kind enough to bring us some fresh vegetables later on, which were much appreciated.

 It was nice to meet John and Bill again on Celtic Duke at Keshcarrigan. We last met them on Lough Ree, over a year ago.

The sky was different yet again today.
Castlefore lock, has no walkway over the top gates and this makes the lock look rather incomplete.This is the first of eight locks which take us down to Upper Lough Erne. For new viewers of our blog, the control panel in the foreground is the push button method of working the lock. No heavy paddles to wind here!

The Shannon Erne is a waterway with many different parts, narrowing in places through the trees.

Just round the next corner it opens out again into St. John’s Lough.

The reflections are excellent by bridge 18.

The Shannon Erne is certainly scenic, here above Ballyduff Lock.
Church Island looms ahead of us on Garadice Lough. We hope that the old mooring on the far side of the island is free.

We are in luck! This isolated island mooring is one of our favourites.
Next it is on to Haughton’s Shore, where we are having our new cratch cover fitted. These nomadic craftspeople are a real asset to Ireland. Their canine crew is waiting to board.

When we were here last autumn, this jetty below Skelan Lock was completely under water.

This herd of Friesian cattle must be expecting rain.

By bridge 26 a cat is watching the world pass by. This mooring is now in use again.

The bottom walkway at Corraquil lock makes a good picture frame!
Click on this photo to see the brilliant green on the trees in the distance. It is a shame that we have lost the sun on the jetty at Aghalane so early.


  1. Your blog is lovely Andy and Sally. I love that last photo of the sun on the trees. Are you still exploring the Irish Waterways? You might find my blog on the Shannon interesting

    Happy travels!

    1. We are enjoying your blog, Aiveen. Your picture of Spencer harbour sums up the peace there.