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, 8 May 2013

3rd - 6th May. On along the Grand Canal through Pollagh and Tullamore to the top level across the peat bogs.

All along the Grand Canal banks the gorse is in flower, adding some much needed colour, as we cruise alongside the peat bog.

The church at Pollagh is a welcoming sight, with friends already on the mooring.

We raft up to Talitha II, with Carribean Rose in front of us.

Time for a photocall with Della and Steve by the turfcutter. This sculpture by the mooring at Pollagh is made out of 3-4000 year old bog oak.

It has been a hard day! 

If your interest is old castles, then Shra Castle, shortly before Tullamore, is perfect for you! It was built by an Elizabethan officer, John Brisco, in 1588.

In Tullamore there is a lot of construction work going on, as three new bridges are being built. It will be interesting to see them on our return trip.

Cherry blossom time in Tullamore.
The water level in Tullamore is down so, as we approach each of the next six locks, we can see both top racks(paddles) open, and thus raising the levels in the pounds. We have no problems, drawing less than 2' of water, but deeper draughted boats need more water.
Ballycommon is just above the top lock of this stretch, and there is room to moor here. This is at the junction with the disused Kilbeggan branch of the canal, which still has good towpaths for walking.
As we approached the Bord na Mona lift bridge, which is in the middle of nowhere, it was closed. However, a van appeared, and the bridge was operated for us. We duly thanked him, thinking that it would have been something different to work it ourselves.

As soon as we were through, it was closed to allow a work train to cross. This was on Sunday, so was unexpected, to say the least.

Along this part of the Grand canal the peat workings stretch away to the horizon.

The canal here is rather like a motorway, going on across the peat bog.
Having heard that the lower River Barrow is closed at Bagnelstown until the end of the month, we moored on a wild mooring while deciding what to do next. A tractor in the field beside us was still working after 11pm.

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