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, 28 May 2013

24th - 27th May. Up the Grand Canal to Lowtown. Down the Barrow Line past Ratangan.

We made an early start at 7am on Friday, with Michael on Peacock, his narrowboat. His willing helpers were Eric and Mark, which made for an easy run up the locks on the Circular line to Lock 1, where we met the lockkeepers. There were 5 cruisers ahead of us, one large and four smaller ones, which could lock up together, so it was four lockfuls between us.

Debbie flew into Dublin, then came by bus and tram to join us on the locks. Fortunately we were waiting in lock 2 as her tram arrived at the stop there, so she was able to find us easily.

As we catch up to the cruisers ahead, they send water down over the bottom gates to help us along.

This extra water is just waiting in the next lock to wash the bows of The Puzzler! We are nearly full length for these locks so this promises to be a wet one.

We had an easy run up to beyond the twelfth lock and moored by the ruin at Stacumney, about half a mile before Hazelhatch. There is always plenty of depth to moor close to the bank here.

We carried on up the Grand Canal on our own the next day. The staircase at lock 13 is always an interesting lock, with the upper chamber being larger than the bottom one.

Between locks 14 and 15 the Grand Canal runs alongside a golf course, so we devised a scoop and collected a couple of golfballs from the canal.

Turning left at Lowtown on to the Barrow Line, we moored for the night at Ballyteague, a quiet spot.

Shannon felt thirsty while out for our evening walk, and misjudged the edge of the canal!

Ballyteague bridge is always photogenic.

Our garden is progressing. Shannon likes to take a leaf in passing, as she travels on the roof.

Ratangan village is a good place to refuel The Puzzler, as the garage is very near here.

Soon after Ratangan, the Barge 34B was tethered in the middle of the canal, but we managed to push past. We were glad we had a steel boat for this.

This mare and foal are enjoying the spring grass, near to the canal. We moored for the night out in the country a little further south.

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