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Tour 2007

Tour 2007 Index

Autumn 2007 Irish Tour

Ballinamore to Milltown - Shannon-Erne Waterway, River Shannon Navigation and Grand Canal Shannon Line and, Old Barrow Line and Milltown Feeder.

Friday 24th August 2007

We started out from Riversdale at 11:00, Shannon bound. We passed Keshcarrigan at 14:30 and went straight in to an open Kilclare Upper Lock No 9 at 15:15. We stopped at Leitrim and managed to get on the end of the long pontoon, upstream of the bridge. I say "on", about a third of Earnest overhung the end of the jetty. That night it was a Chinese meal in the local restaurant.

Saturday 25th August 2007

09:25 start from Leitrim. We passed Carrick - On - Shannon at 10:35 and arrived at Roosky Lock at 13:35. At 14:00 the locky came off dinner break and we penned through then set off to Tarmonbarry Lock, where we went straight in, exiting at 15:50. We stopped at Lanesborough, in the new floating pontoon marina at 17:20 for the night. The second hammerhead was free. That night we ate in.

Sunday 26th August 2007

Well positioned for Lough Ree we started off at 07:00, for a quiet passage down the lough, exiting at 10:30. We passed out of Athlone Lock at 11:15 and were surprised to find the level up in the Shannon, the water being over the downstream fixed jetty. We stopped at a busy Clonmacnoise at 13:00, for lunch, due to the fact a mooring had just become available. As we left at 13:25 another boat went straight into our vacated mooring.
At 15:20 we hit the Grand Canal. It took us an hour to clear the first two locks and the busy harbour moorings. We were surprised to see Brian Goggin's barge Knocknagow in residence, waiting for a slot in the dry dock. After being helped through Belmont Double Lock No 33, by the ever present Alan Wynn, we stopped for the night, just above.

Monday 27th August 2007

Alan Wynn was not about when we left Belmont at 09:10, but he soon came bounding along the towpath in his little blue van to help set Lock 32. Alan phone the next lock keeper, so for the rest of the day we had the full service from all the lock keepers. We passed Tullamore at 16:00, there were still a good few boats about due to the fleadh trad music festival http://www.fleadh2007.com/ 
We pushed on that night, so as to get through Lock No 21, so the next day we would be on the long pound and have a good lock free run the next morning. After a bit of shuffling we moored right at the end of the lock landing, at 18:30. That evening Neil had a wander down the stanked off Kilbeggan Branch, as far as the next bridge. The Kilbeggan Branch is virtually intact, with a nicely restored basin, but it suffered from bad leakage, so this will have to be overcome in any future restoration.

Tuesday 28th August 2007

An 09:30 start from above Lock No 21. A stop at the excellent Quinn's Centra mini mart at Daingean, between 10:45 and 11:00, Neil declined the drip feed, water tap! Waterways Ireland were having a weed boat convention not far up from Daingean, looking back it looked like the Ride of the Valkyries scene from "Apocalypse Now" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itIDg6sXgbo
Cavemount Bord Na Mona lift bridge was in the correct "up" position. This is getting to be one of our regular overnight stops, this time we did not stop, passing it at 12:05. We had no need of shopping, so went passed the Edenderry Arm at 14:20. We made Lock No 19 at Lowtown at 18:15, being locked through by the vigilant James Conroy. We stopped for the night at the visitor mooring in Robertstown, just before Binn's Bridge at 18:30. Neil checked out the Chinese takeaway, which was believed to be in the village. It was open so we availed ourselves of a supposedly small meal...of course it ended up too large! Later some Chinese people came down to take photos of themselves with Earnest as a backdrop, we can only assume they were associated with the Chinese takeaway.

Wednesday 29th August 2007

A 06:35 start from the visitor moorings in Robertstown. Neil was solo and winded the boat in the wide just before the old Grand Canal hotel (there was a planning permission notice on the front door to convert it back to hotel, with bedroom extension block). We took the Old Barrow Line and just before the old Lock No 19, we turned left up the Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder at 07:25.
There are a few houses beside the feeder at the start, as a minor road follows the towpath from a short while, on the east bank. After we were well into the feeder, Neil checked the depth with the barge pole, weed had historically been cut back to 2ft 6inch depth, then there was another foot of weed and foot of silt to a hard bottom. The water was already crystal clear.
Passage was slow but steady, the width of the canal being similar to, say the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union. The first bridge encountered at 08:05 was the rickety footbridge, not marked in the Grand Canal Guide. This was where the feeder curves round a farmstead. 08:25 saw us pass under the high stone arched Pim Bridge, the towpath changing to the west bank. The Hill of Allen could now be seen in front of us, the feeder skirting round this hill to the west.
Pluckerstown Bridge was the next to be encountered (08:55). This was a fairly modern flat concrete affair, with low headroom, we measured it at 6ft 7ins, with the feeder having a fair flow. This presented no problem to Earnest, even with the cratch board up. After Pluckerstown Bridge the towpath is on the east bank, forming a minor road to a couple of properties, for about three quarters of a mile. Beyond here the feeder heads south, away from the Hill Of Allen and the countryside opens out, with the feeder on a low embankment. At this point the canal widens for a few hundred yards and Earnest began to struggle as the weed type changed and became thicker, with no obvious cut course across. So we ploughed on, having to stop a good few times to use reverse to throw off the weed, but still no trip down the weed hatch. It would be possible to wind a 60ft boat here, but this would depend on depth and being to achieve this by means of barge poles. Neil was hoping that this open section was just a bad patch, an indeed it was, as the passage improved after this.
At this point the waters flowing out of the feeder were over topping the west bank and rushing away with surprising force, over a very primitive weir into a tributary stream feeding the River Slate and eventually the River Barrow. Beyond here the flow became greater, which seemed to keep the quantity of weed down. The next bridge, Milltown, was a high stone affair, passed at 10:00. After this were the remains of a wharf and mill buildings. Just around the next corner was the Hangman's stone arch bridge, by the Hangman's Inn (10:10). After this bridge was a post mooring, with one, rather forlorn Dawncraft cruiser in residence. It would be possible to wind a boat up to around 30ft here. At this point was a large tree, whose branches draped right across the feeder, no large boats had been here for a while! We ended up lifting the branches up over the cratch and Earnest crept through. About another half mile of wooded feeder followed before the course opened out into classic open fen county.
Around a mile out from the Hangman's Bridge, we were really getting into the thick of the fen and the course bifurcated. We took this as being at the "Point Of Gibraltar". There was plenty of room to wind here in the clear and relatively weed free waters (10:30). The western, main arm of the two enlarged feeder arms into the fen, was blocked by a fallen tree, a few hundred feet up. This arm goes to the main Seven Springs area. Being relatively weed and free of overhanging bushes we reversed easily up the west arm. Soon we passed the tight turn off to the Father Moore's Well springs, the embanked "towpath" carried on round this course. We carried straight on until we were as good as at the end, by some houses and the road through Pollardstown. So at 11:00 we took our pictures, then headed back down the feeder, exiting at 13:45, a somewhat faster return passage. From here we proceeded down the old Lock No 19, then turned right up the New Barrow Line to Lowtown, where we headed down the Shannon Line. We stopped for the night on a nice deep mooring on the Blundell / Edenderry Embankment at 17:35. It must have been a good spot, for a local boater arrived not long after!


Shannon - Erne Waterway.


The public moorings in Leitrim. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


Leitrim. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


Leitrim. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


Mace mini-mart in the petrol station. Leitrim. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


Leitrim. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


The public moorings in Leitrim. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


The public moorings downstream of the bridge in Leitrim. Note new footbridge being built. Shannon - Erne Waterway.


Coming out of the bottom of Lough Ree.


Athlone Railway Bridge, River Shannon.


Athlone Lock. The downstream waiting jetty is under water. River Shannon Navigation.


There has been a mishap on the embankment leading to the Bord Na Mona railway bridge at Shannonbridge.


Unexpected visitor at Shannon Harbour! Grand Canal, Shannon Line. 


The towpath overbridge at the entrance to the abandoned Grand Canal, Kilbeggan Branch, which is stanked off from the Shannon Line.


Brook's Bridge, Grand Canal, Kilbeggan Branch


A few of the six weed cutter boats working on the Grand Canal.


We leave Lock No 20, after a chat with Mick Farrell of The Heritage Boat Association. Grand Canal, Shannon Line.


Mick Farrell's bytrader barge Williams and Woods 31B. Lock No 20, Grand Canal, Shannon Line.


Sunset from our mooring in Robertstown. Grand Canal Dublin Line.

Map of Milltown Feeder.


The first footbridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pim Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pim Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The Hill Of Allen in the distance. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pluckerstown Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pluckerstown Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The wide and embanked section. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Milltown Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The old mill at Milltown Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The moorings before Hangman's Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Hangman's Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Winding at the Point of Gibraltar. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Point of Gibraltar. Looking up the left hand (north) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


We have reversed back up the right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Pollardstown. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Looking down the right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Pollardstown. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back down the  right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Pollardstown. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Pollardstown. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The short curved arm branches off to Father Moore's Well. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The short curved arm branches off to Father Moore's Well. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Looking across Pollardstown Fen.


Coming back out of the right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back out of the right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back out of the right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back out of the right hand (south) arm of the feeder across Pollardstown Fen. Approaching The Point Of Gibraltar. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The Point Of Gibraltar. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back out of the Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back out of the Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Coming back out of the Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Back to The Hangman's Pub and Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The moorings at the Hangman's Pub. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The Hangman's Bridge. Milltown. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The Hangman's Bridge. Milltown. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Milltown Bridge and old mills. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Milltown Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


What a waste! the spring waters overflow before the wide embanked section. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The spring waters overflow before the wide embanked section. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The wide embanked section. The water is so clear, you can see the tract we cut on the way up. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pluckerstown Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pim Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Pim Bridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


The Footbridge. Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


A canal does not come any clearer than this! Grand Canal Supply, the Milltown Feeder.


Huband / Greene Bridge, the entrance to the Grand Canal Supply, Milltown Feeder.


Huband / Greene Bridge, the entrance to the Grand Canal Supply, Milltown Feeder.


Our overnight mooring on the Edenderry /  Blundell Embankment. Grand Canal, Shannon Line.


Believe it or not, this is the moon! Our overnight mooring on the Edenderry /  Blundell Embankment. Grand Canal, Shannon Line.

The Tour Continues...


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