15.04.2006 Keshcarrigan - Leitrim - Carrick On Shannon - Drumsna
Length of the boat trip: 6,1 hours
Mild temperatures welcome us at the morning. We go down through the eight locks without a drop of rain. But why are so many boaters so impatient? Behind a lock I want to take Willi back on the boat. The jetty is full and he has to go over a moored boat. I move with my stern to that boat but the boat starts to go in the lock. I am following backwards after. Finally I reach the point that allows Willi to slide over without a dangerous jump. I don´t let to pilfer my first mate!
Lunch in Leitrim. We are lucky to get the last free mooring place which we give after the meal to another waiting member of the shannon-forum. He (with a lot of fishing-kids on board) has fled from Lough Key. It is overfilled there on the Easter weekend and he is going back in the SEW and wants to buy some food in Leitrim.
Behind the Hartley Bridge we meet "Heiga", a beautiful boat with a small herb garden on deck and a nice couple as crew. We exchange rosemary and bay leaves with a small bottle of German red wine. We chat twenty minutes during drifting together. It´s a pity, it could has been longer!
On to Carrick On Shannon. We get some diesel and moor at the new jetty down the bridge. There a boat exhibition is during Eastern. In the town we have to detect that Londis is closed. The bread in the bakery at the corner is too crumbly for us. The town is a complete traffic chaos. Everybody is going with a car shopping for the Easter weekend. In between an ambulance with an emergency mission trying to reach the hospital. Police arrives and helps. We don´t fancy the idea to have a 15-minutes-walk over the bridge along the N4 to the next supermarket and flee. Overcrowded after days of rest and peace. In convoy with some other boats till Albert lock. It is also busy on the water.
We decide to drive to Drumsna and have there a nice and quiet evening with sun.
16.04.2006 Drumsna - Dromod
Length of the boat trip: 1,4 hours
The sun is waking us again in the morning and we muck about. After ten I walk in the small village, have a view around and buy something. Drumsna is contemplative and a nice small village with typical irish coloures-mixed houses. We take a late breakfast on the fly. Late in the morning some clouds arrive but it is dry. We drive to Drommod. Stevie´s tip, to lay down the arch before the railway bridge is perfect. After a lot of rain in March and early April the water level is really high.
On Lough Boderg the sunny spells become more and with them the wind increases. We ride over Lough Bofin in a big bow around the isolated black buoy on our way to Dromod. It is Easter Sunday and I have no hope to get a place in this because of the good meals in the two pubs popular harbour. So I am astonished that we even have the choice and we moor in a quiet corner.
Putting aside the new holiday homes Dromod is a nice harbour. Yes after a while they look more pretty and they are better-looking than the new riverside-buildings in Carrick, Leitrim and Ballyconnell. On one side of the harbour is a duck garden and a nice picnic place. Like in Drumsna we found nothing to dispose our waste. It has to wait till Roosky.
At lunch we have fried eggs and bacon and after that we visit the Brandywell and the Cox´s. We let the afternoon lapse and watch the kids with their small powerboats going on the lake. We need water but we are too far away from the tap. The friendly private boaters on "Tilba Tilba" and "Portaneena" lend us their long tubes and connected them we can fill in the water. We return the favour with two small wine bottles.
An opulent dinner with filet cut into stripes, red pepper, zucchini, spring onions, garlic, celery, creme fraiche and fried sweetpotatoes spoilt us in the evening.
17.04.2006 Dromod - Roosky - Camlin River - Clodara Lock - Lanesborough
Length of the boat trip: 5,5 hours
During the leaving of Dromod we phone Tony, the jolliest lockkeeper on the Shannon, and request for an opening of the lifting bridge. Tony is waving us through (Leonard Bernstein lets greet.) We moor over midday in Roosky and some showers are passing while we stay below deck. Between the rain the blue sky can be seen.
After the lunch break we go down through the lock and onto the Camlin River. The weather at midday should have been an advanced warning. We have April! But also with three weeks the time is to short to stay longer at a jetty.
We drive into the Camlin and enjoy the slow fumbling around from bend to bend. At this time of the year there are no problems with weeds like in summer but the Camlin has at this time flooding as well! We have been never before on the Camlin and so we work hard and divine the navigation between the flooded meadows.
I try to go around the washed up trees in time and not to go off on flooded areas. During my concentrated driving a storm with hail overtakes the scenery. Willi says to me something that sounds like "driving inside" and I answer him: "Inside? There can I see even less." Therefore its better to go through these forces of nature on the flybridge.
We reach the bridge at the passage to the Clondara lock. It seems very narrow. I move the boat very slowly and go through the head drafted with only some centimeter air between windshield and bridge. It has just fitted! Good we do not have to return. The Clondara Lock is open and we drive in and enjoy the sunshine which has now displaced the heavy shower. We leave a message for the lockkeeper on his mail box but I hope that he will arrive tomorrow.
This does not happen unfortunaly and so we go down to the Shannon after one hour of calm and relaxing. Down on the Shannon we consider: right or left? We decide left, downstream to Lanesborough.
At the bridge some Waveline-boats are mooring at the high water quay. A boat coming upstream waits to pass the bridge when we are through on the other side. Thanks, the current is strong and the wind fresh. After a round we decide to moor at the new jetty. Some anglers on the breakwater are throwing with their rods against the wind.
During writing into the log book Willi shouts: `A boat has run aground!´ A "Caprice" has gone on the wrong side of the marker and grounded. They are going backwards with full speed and get clear with a lot of mud. I hope that it is only mud. They were very quickly in action. No time to have a look to the hull, whether there is a whole in it. This would have been better. And they should tell it to the hire company so that they control it. But I think they will not do it. Because they fear to loose the deposit. The weather is overcast and the forecast not really good.