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, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
15th - 19th July. (Updated) On along the Royal Canal through the Deep Sinking, Maynooth, Moyvalley Bridges and Hill of Down to Mullingar
Further on there are fewer trees and some rocky outcrops.
This is a very attractive canal with contrasts between the traditional bridges and the more modern.
This one was quite spectacular.
The trains still follow the canal closely.
Without the Royal Canal lockkeepers today, we are working the locks ourselves. John seems to know what he is doing!
At lock 15 the two narrow boats were breasted up and Andy brought them up the lock.
It is good to see that Andy can still wind a paddle too!
We sailed on across the Long Level, which is a 32km stretch with no locks. The canal goes through another sinking here.
Further on across the Long Level the countryside is much more open.
The next morning it was off to another pub for a proper Irish breakfast, with Chris leading the way.
Here the restaurant and pub are side by side, and the food was good. Along with Furey's pub, these three buildings comprise all of Moyvalley.
Carrying on along the Long Level we meet a gathering of three weedcutters, together with a larger weed collector. Perhaps they are breeding!
At Hill of Down we moored right beside the pub, which also contained a shop. This area was closely fenced, which was good for the dogs.
Cooper and Mia had a great game of chase, but Cooper got carried away and misjudged his direction. Mary's leg was in the way!
As a result Mary had an extremely sore leg, and Cooper had a very sore head. He wobbled for a few steps before collapsing on his stomach.
We have had such fun, travelling with this convoy, as the group pics show.
Trixie thought she would come to visit The Puzzler.
Beyond Hill of Down the countryside is much more open.
As the Royal Canal lockkeepers are with us again for the next flight of eight locks, Andy is taking it easy.
The canal narrows again near Baltrasna Bridge.
We are staying in Mullingar until next week, so all the other boats have sailed off into the sunset (figuratively speaking) without us. We are missing them all already!
Monday, 23 July 2012
The Puzzler and Ashdown Girl will be the first through the bridge, so we are tied up, waiting hopefully for the bridge to lift.
As there is nowhere else to tie to, the rest of the convoy is hovering patiently behind us.
We sail right beside Croke Park, which is the Irish equivalent of Wembley. It is the centre of the Gaelic Athletics Association and large numbers of matches of both hurling and gaelic football are played here.
The middle gates are quite impressive!
Maraid and River got quite wet on the front of Ashdown Girl!
Even the top gates are quite a height.
Eventually we escape from the gloomy lock. This is certainly a canal with a difference!
Here at lock 4 we pass close to the notorious Mountjoy Prison.
At lock 5 we collect some gongoozlers, including Sally.
By the time we are in the upper chamber, they have multiplied!
By lock 6, the last of the double locks for now, we are out of the inner city and there are now houses by the canal.
Before lock 12 we are reminded of Spagetti junction in Birmingham, England. We are sailing under the M50.
We then pass over the N4 road on a modern aqueduct.
Chris and Cooper are glad to be nearly finished.
The Puzzler is on her own in lock 12 so ropes are in use. Removing the wings from the cratch makes this much easier.