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.

Friday, 7 June 2013

31st May - 5th June. On down The River Barrow from Leighlin Bridge, through Bagnelstown to Slyguff and Ballytiglea.

Debbie caught the airport bus in the morning to go home, while we stayed on at Leighlin Bridge until Saturday.
The Black Tower is right beside the bridge here and has a chequered history. Part of the tower was originally built in the 14th century, then it was rebuilt and fortified in 1547. Half of the tower eventually collapsed in 1888.

The lights on Leighlin Bridge create good reflections at night.
We moved down the Barrow River to Bagnelstown, and were only the second boat through the lock when it opened on Saturday morning. It has been closed for major work, including lowering the cill, and replacing the top gates. The canal was stopped during this work by a dam, created using hardcore, half of which we passed on the way down to the lock. This work will make it easier for deeper draughted boats at this lock.

Below the lock, dredging is still in progress, as part of the new bank collapsed, and has to be removed from the navigation channel.

On reaching Fenniscourt Lock, Shannon was pleased to meet Cooper. She is only just learning how to play with other dogs.

Herons on the River Barrow seem to be partial to weirs! This one is above Slyguff Lock.

It was good to see John again, having parted company at Mullingar last year on the Royal Canal. He is a great lockkeeper, looking after us very well!

Most of the moorings on the River Barrow are by the locks. Here we are below Slyguff Lock, which is an idyllic spot, well away from all civilisation.

This will be of interest to boaters in England, showing where the paddles open, very close to the water level, rather than being out of sight, right at the bottom of the lock gates. The level of the river is quite low, which may make this more obvious too.

The cygnets are growing up fast.

At Goresbridge there is a mooring below the bridge, which was the site of the Battle of Goresbridge in 1798. These bridges were certainly built to last!

We sailed on late in the evening to moor just above Ballyennan Lock, among the trees.

Leaving the lock next morning, with the sun continuing to shine. We really have been so lucky with the weather on the River Barrow. We are seeing the river at its best.

What an idyllic spot for a log cabin, overlooking the weir.

We stopped above Ballytiglea Lock, and liked it so much that we stayed there for a couple of days. It was nice to see Sean and Jackie on Feileachan, their barge.

We had a visiting dragonfly inside The Puzzler, but he did not stay for long.

The cows on the other side of the river are enjoying a paddle, while we keep the side doors open to cool the boat. Last year they were hardly open at all.

At last the weather is fit for painting! The logbox has been waiting a couple of years for this moment!

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