Wednesday 16.04.2008 Roosky - Dromod - Kilglass
Length of boat trip: 2.7 hours
Motto of the day: An old boat on a crane and a wonderful panoramic view
This morning we are welcomed by the sun. It is also windier.
We pass through the lock and arrive in the nick of time as a beautiful old boat is lifted off with a crane from a low-loader into the river just before the bridge.
After watching it for a while, we carry on and have a short stop in the empty harbour of Dromod.
Then we rock a little bit on Lough Bofin. On Lough Boderg we turn back west and head into the Carnadoe Waters.
The Mountain River; Abhann to tSlébhe; and the Grange River drain a drumlin landscape with some higher hills into Lough Grange and Lough Kilglass. Both lakes are navigable and with cuts through reeds and passages connected with Lough Carnadoe. The water of Lough Carnadoe itself flows into the Shannon.
We go on this lake with its winding navigation through the reeds and have a nice view to the conifers on Slieve Bawn in the background and turn into the Carigeen Cut. At the end of the cut we reach Lough Kilglass and moor on its southwestern end at the Jetty of Kilglass below a hill.
Here we lie beside a boat from Shannon Castle Line with a Swiss crew. Later still, an Irishman arrives with his Taiwanese girlfriend, whom we had previously met in Kiltybardan.
The wind is fresh, but the air clear and so there is a wonderful view of the hill of Anierin and even to Cuilcagh. At night, the wind calms down somewhat.
Thursday 17.04.2008 Kilglass - Carrick-on-Shannon
Length of boat trip: 3.3 hours
Motto of the day: F7 in the Albert Lock and long arms
In the morning the sky is cloudy and the weather is promised as a wind up to F6-7, with gale force. But first, it is still relatively calm and we journey back through Lough Carnadoe to the Shannon and turn north onto Lough Boderg and Lough Tap initially with a F4.
We are waiting with an Elegance below Albert Lock, through which a boat locks down. As we enter the lock, a front reaches us. With the front, the wind increases and it gets choppy. The wind is coming from the back quarter and the young lock-keeper is not the fastest and fittest in helping with the ropes to put them quickly on the bollards. He takes my rope too late; the wind pushes so strongly that I can only get the boat close to the wall with the rope by lying horizontally on the floor and pushing with my feet against the gunwale.
Behind us the Elegance goes in and is blown across. I have some trouble to keep its bow away from our rear window. Only with maximum effort can everyone hold tight onto the ropes so that nothing happens.
After the locks we continue with a F5-6 to Carrick-on-Shannon. Here we moor outside at the jetty of Carrick Craft and have a longer break with a shopping tour.
As the wind has increased we decide to change to a quieter berth for the night. We find one with the permission of the office employees of Emerald Star in the lee of the wind at the last jetty. The evening is sunny but persistently windy.
Friday 18.04.2008 Carrick-on-Shannon - Lough Key - Clarendon Lock
Length of boat trip: 2.6 hours
Motto of the day: F5 from the East and the loose burgee
The day begins cloudy and windy, but it is not as strong as yesterday.
We continue to the north and turn between Carrick-on-Shannon and Leitrim in the Boyle River. The riverbed is rocky and partially shallow. Following upstream, over the smaller lakes Lough Eidin and Oakport Lough, we reach Lough Key after Clarendon Lock.
The ice sheet had reached Leitrim in a southwestly direction, but the landscape around the River Boyle was formed by a northwest flow of the ice. The alignment of the drumlins shows this.
The underlying rock of the central and northern Shannon is limestone, but the bed of the lake and the shores of Lough Key are of a harder rock.
Its banks and islands covered by forests, Lough Key Forest Park is inviting with its visitor centre, viewing tower and a suspended bridge between the tops of trees. In the park itself, are many different trees, some even old oak trees and differing plantations. The five ring forts in the park point to an early settlement on the shores of Lough Key.
In the West the navigation leads from Lough Key upstream on the Boyle and on a channel to a harbour a few miles distance from the town of Boyle.
North of Lough Key, but not visible from the lake, lies Lough Arrow, drained by the Arrow or, also named, Unshin River to the north to Sligo. Between the two lakes is a watershed. West of them are the Curlew and Bricklieves Mountains.
Today we have only a short spin around on Lough Key with a F5. The wind blows from the east. All three moorings in Lough Key Forest Park are exposed to wind from the east and offer no sheltered berths. Our flagpole reels from the strong wind, it begins to bend and is leaning out. The showery weather is not inviting for a long walk. The flagpole now leans out at 60 degrees and requires a repair at a quieter location.
We retreat and go back to Clarendon Lock.
Here we stay overnight at the jetty above the lock with the consent of the lockkeeper. We spend the afternoon reading and I lend the lockkeeper a new book "The Shannon Navigation" by Ruth Delany, which I have bought, fresh from the press, in Carrick-on-Shannon
In the evening we take a stroll along the Bishop´s Seat of the 13th century. Numerous historic settlement remains from different periods can be found around Lough Key and in the surrounding countryside. They show that here, in Neolithic times and in the time of Christianity, intensive use of this part of Ireland had taken place. And as so often in Ireland in recent excavation works at Bishop´s Seat were not only medieval components found but also relics of a Neolithic settlement, including stone peaks , which show that the architects of Christian Kilteasheen had used a place, which had been populated earlier.
There is little boat traffic. A tired Dublin couple on kayaks passed at a late hour going upstream on the Boyle. Canoeing is just one of the numerous sporting activities, which people practise during a long weekend holiday.
Saturday 19.04.2008 Clarendon Lock - Jamestown Canal - Carnadoe Quay
Length of boat trip: 3.8 hours
Motto of the day: Air chambers in the steel instead of oak beams
The morning is windy as the night and it was a good decision to choose a protected berth. It is cool with some sunny spells.
Today the lock-keeper, who has been serving the lock here for decades, is back. But his stand-in from the day before was no less helpful. We have time and so we have a nice chat with him about the old and the new times. The hydraulic lock gates, newly incorporated into the lock, are definitely a blessing for his back. Most lock-keepers on the Shannon are not so friendly to everyone because some boaters are arrogant; most of them are more moderate than the lock-keeper of Roosky, but, if you take a little of your time for a friendly word, you can have some interesting chats.
We lock through and carry on down the Boyle, further downstream on the River Shannon, into Carrick-on-Shannon to Jamestown Canal, where we take a break. Again, we are harassed by the cheeky duck, which I have christened "Gerda". Some boaters probably have fun feeding her at the quay at window height. As a result of this, it is not surprising that she is nearly able to open the fridge by herself. We return again through Albert Lock, Lough Tap and Lough Boderg to the entrance to the Carnadoe Waters, where we again stay overnight at Carnadoe Quay.
Sunday 20.04.2008 Carnadoe Quay - Grange
Length of boat trip: 2 hours
Motto of the day: The coal stove on a GRP-boat
The morning is overcast and it’s raining at first light. The day is cloudy but dry. The wind of recent days has decreased.
We drive through the bridge, alongside the partly sunken boat, but this time we turn into Lough Carnadoe to Grange Lough.
The mooring in Grange is well frequented as it’s Sunday. But we find a berth next to a GRP(!)-boat with a coal stove.
The pub is rebuilt, brightly designed and offers lots of space. The rooms for rent and the restaurant on the first floor are also nearly finished.