Tuesday 22.04.2008 Grange - Leitrim - Keshcarrigan
Length of boat trip: 7.3 hours
Motto of the day: The engine has to do
The sun breaks through the cloudy sky occasionally. We bring the car to Strokestown and take a taxi back.
We drive slowly back on the Carnadoe Waters to Lough Boderg. It is getting more and more cloudy, but it is dry as we drive into Carrick-on-Shannon up the Shannon to Leitrim.
After a rest, we go up through 8 locks around Sheemore to Keshcarrigan and we are lucky again and donít need to turn a lock.
Wednesday 23.04.2008 Keshcarrigan - Kiltybardan - Haughton Shore
Length of boat trip: 4.5 hours
Motto of the day: Spring sun and the first cuckoo
The morning is sunny and mild. We are dawdling and start late.
Kingfishers glisten, flying in the sun, in front of our boat. This time we have to turn the next lock, with nearly 4 m hub this is in the deepest in the SEW. We go on across the small, unspoilt lakes to Lough Kiltybardan, where we stop for a lunch break.
We hear our first cuckoo during this trip. We steer on the flybridge in sweaters through birds twittering, along pastures with young lambs and calves and enjoy the warm spring day. After passing four locks we reach Lough Garadice and moor at Haughton Shore. In the evening the clouds increases and at night time it rains.
Thursday 24.04.2008 Haughton Shore - Lough Coologe
Length of boat trip: 1.3 hours
Motto of the day: Bit! "Meadow-pike" instead of river-pike, the saving reverse and "It's a hard life!"
The continuous rain of last night has stopped; it's cloudy with a few blue holes. Then it becomes showery. Beside us lie the poonton and the workboat, which we know from the outward journey. The two employees of Waterways Ireland come along and control the ropes. A staff member of the Central Fisheries Board is slipping a boat; they want to catch fish with spawn for breeding.
Today we have only a small spin with fishing and our success does not last long. Then we go on to the east and after the next three lakes we continue onto the Woodford River. We have a rest beside bridge 25 at the entrance to Coologe Lough.
An hour passes by and we decide to stay here overnight.
Only a few boats pass us, among others, the workboat with its towed pontoon. A Caprice with four anglers would have almost been grounded as they miss the entrance of Lough Coologe and drive on the wrong side of the marker. In the last moment they see our boat and by engaging reverse gear avert disaster. In the evening, a boat passes upstream with crew of anglers and one shouts: "It's a hard life!" What does he mean? Maybe he has not landed the biggest pike of his life? As we practise catch-and-release, a lamb leg slowly stews in the oven, stirred, not shaken.
The weather shows us today the whole April. It is getting cool in the afternoon with a thunderstorm, hail and showers crackling on the boat. But in between, the sun comes through and there are nice rainbows.
Friday 25.04.2008 Lough Coologe - Ballyconnell - Belturbet
Length of boat trip: 4.6 hours
Motto of the day: Irish Country rain and the pontoon in the lock
It's mild, almost 15 degrees. Light but persistent, Irish, steady rain accompanies us to Ballyconnell. Below the next lock is a barge with the name "It's Friday". This fits the present day. After a stop in Ballyconnell we drive behind the WI-work boat with its towed pontoon to the next lock and watch as the pontoon locks.
The rain stops and we drive without rain down the Woodford to its mouth in the Erne. There, we turn south through Foalis Cut; the direct route to Belturbet (Beal Tarbair; the mouth of Tairbeirt island). That is the southern end of navigation on the Erne.
Here we meet the nice couple of "River Dancer", we know them from last year. At today's Farmer's Market, I buy some food, some cheese from the Corleggy farm again and delicious Irish honey. The evening is dry, apart from few showers.
Saturday 26.04.2008 Belturbet - Quivvy Waters
Length of boat trip: 1.4 hours
Motto of the day: Bird watching, ruins in the swamp, midges in the spring heat
The night was mild and the morning is overcast with light rain. It is dry and the sun comes out and it will be a warm spring day.
We drive into the Quivvy Waters.
North of Belturbet the river divides and there are three options to proceed to Crom Castle. The day before we took the shortest way through Foalis Cut. The other two natural waterways wind around the drumlins.
If you choose the eastern way at Bunnanamery; Bun an iomaire; 5.6 km north of Belturbet, you arrive at the River Finn in the Quivvy waters; Ciabhach or Ciobhaigh; place where the rough grass grows. Here the river has partially the width of a lake.
In the Quivvy Waters we have lunch on the flybridge and watch black coots nest building and their inevitably necessary territoriousness with other birds.
After lunch we take a marshy walk around Lanesborough Lodge. The abandoned houses below are quite bizarre. On our way back we pass through armies of midges, which have hatched out on this warm day.
Back on the boat we watch a few young people water-skiing for an hour. Then calm returns to idyllic nature.