24.04.2006 Haughton Shore - Lough Kiltybardan - Ballyconnell
Length of the boat trip: 3,8 hours
Today in the morning the sky is dull but it is dry and there is not much wind. I control again the weed traps and my view goes to one of the fan belts, which has some rough cracks. I show this Willi. Hmmm. One of dynamos is provided by this fan belt. But we don´t know which two of the four batteries then will not be charged. We hope the consumers. And I hope that the belt will do his work for a longer while and Willi has no doubt that it will be o.k.
We start to Ballyconnell with a slowly drive and take much time for the following three beautiful and different lakes. Many kingfishers accompany us flying in front of the boat. Again and again we take up time to stop and watch. The sun tries to shine between the clouds but she succeeds not really.
At the Skelan lock two men are cutting the meadow and we meet the first boat behind Keshcarrigan. One of the sliding panels doesn´t go up. Willi tell this to one of the men which are working there and request him to tell it to the ranger. He answers: `Same procedure like last year.´ Willi replies: `Skal Miss Sophie!´
Shortly before the Bellaheady-bridge we meet a boat, on it is a member of the shannon-forum going back to the Shannon. He waves to us. His speed let us reasoning that he is in hurry. The wind increases and the sky does not promise good weather. We moor in Ballyconnell and go this time not to Londis for shopping but over the bridge in the Centra-supermarket. The foot passenger bridge is nearly completed. She is modern but doesn´t deface the old round arch bridge. In our opinion a good solution. On the other hand we dislike the new riverside buildings. The wind increases and rain starts. We decide not to drive further down and change to the floating jetty. About six o´clock the persistent rain decreases and we start a comfortable evening with an Irish Coffee.
25.04.2006 Ballyconnell - Aghalane - Belturbet
Length of the boat trip: 3,8 Stunden
After a windy and rough night the weather calms down in the morning . It is dry, even a little sunny. We go down through the lock in Ballinamore and pass the cement plant which expand more and more. No wonder because of the building boom. The celtic tiger waves. Till to the factory the river is like a canal with stones to secure the banks.
But after that a beautiful and diverse course of the river begins. First we float along the forest around Scotchtown Island, then follows hilly pastureland.
There the banks have broken off by fast driving. But still all is in a original natural condition. I hope that the farmers accept the loosing of land and don´t ask for stone fills.
Before the Corraquill Lock we are going through a jungle with willows, greening and blowing bushes and yellow broom. This all is accompanied with twitter of the birds.
Before Aghalane in a bent my view goes on a meadow which is used as a yard by Waterways Ireland. Loer! There are a lot of stone chippings and stone mats waiting for bank reinforcement!
We have a lunch break at Aghalane. After that it goes on downstream to the Erne and the Woodford becomes more and more looping till the landscape opens with plane meadows and lakes. Of course because of the flooding it is much more impressive! The current increases and we drift through the narrow mouth. We turn of to Foalis Cut and steam against the current to Belturbet. At Emerald Star we get diesel. The wind doesn´t drop but the weather keeps up dry.
26.04.2006 Belturbet - Tully Inishmore
Length of the boat trip: 4,2 hours
During the night it´s bucketing down and the wind pulls the boat. At 9 in the morning the persistent rain stops and the first blue spells lighten the mood. We walk to the colourful town. Willi goes to Gerry Henderson for hair cutting and to talk with him about his music which we like so much. I buy some fresh lamb chops by the butcher and discover back roads. On the Kilcony Bridge we meet again and explore together the riverside upstream.
Back on the boat we start onwards to Crom Castle. We meet a Inver Princess with members of the shannon-forum, which enjoy a Guinnesss on the flybridge. `Oh, are you going back to the north yet?´ Yes we do. It has winded down and the Lower Lough is waiting for us. We cross the lovely Upper Lough Erne with his many small islands, along Inishcorkish and Naan Island over Carrybridge on till Tully Inishmore.
This time I moor at the first finger of the jetty. The water level has gone down about 20-30 cm since our last visit and it is possible to sit on the ship side to the jetty and swing during bathing a worm with the rod. The lambs have got new colour blots and jump rollicking on the meadow. In the evening the sky is getting clear. We have fried mackerels.
27.04.2006 Tully Inishmore - Rowing Club Jetty - Enniskillen - Inishclare
Length of the boat trip: 4,3 hours
Glassy blue water reflects the sky and I need sunglasses in the early morning!
We cast off and drive slowly to the Arney River and back and along Knock and Cleenish Island to Bellanaleck. The old framehouse in the Marina has been knocked down last year in the end of September. Instead of this a new bigger building is rising up.
We drive on to the Rowing Club Jetty and have the lunch break there. The jetty has beside the pontoon and the picnic bench heightened racks with stone racks for barbecue.
Ingenious! Thanks to the unknown clever head which had this brilliant idea!
The sky becomes overcast but it is dry. We drive to Enniskillen passing the now opened Ardhowen jetty. Shopping in the Asda supermarket. We get more wind and drive on to the Lower Lough. The weather forecast has promised light wind for the next two days but this afternoon it is blowing with 4-5.
What does it mean that the captain of a passing boat has a life-buoy at the neck?
We stay overnight at Inishclare. The evening is windy but the sunny periods become more frequent.