It feels a while since we’ve blogged mainly as we’ve just been backtracking our route heading onto The Royal Canal for winter. But us being us with mum at the helm we’ve still had plenty of adventures along the way.
Firstly we headed back to Ballinamore for their festival. It was a week long celebration with free acts on every night on a stage in the main street from rod Stewart Tribute to Garth Brooks Tribute & mum’s favourite the Tumbling Paddies. There were lots of other activities during the day but mum was there really for the music. The week fell on the really hot week in Ireland & we couldn’t have been in a better spot right by some grass which was shaded by trees so we could sit out & there was a great group of boaters & folks in motorhomes there too.
We had visitors Helen Marie & John at Ballinamore which we especially liked as they brought us treats. We cruised with them back to Keshcarrigan where we also caught up with Nuala again. A night out was had in Gerties when the heavens opened with a huge thunderstorm that we didn’t like at all.
We had a girl power lock relay going on then down to Carrick as mum helped Nuala down the locks & cycled back up then the next day Georgina helped us down while Nuala grabbed our ropes at Carrick. The jetties at Carrick are the hardest place for us to moor as the current swings us round before mum can get off the boat so we really need someone to grab our ropes as we come in.
We all parted company again & we cruised back to one of our favourite spots Lough Key. Mum had finally managed to hook up with one of the IWAI Carrick events & this one was a cracker. Once a year they organise a Carrick Cares Day where they invite lots of adults & their carers to Lough Key for the day & put on a day of activities. IWAI members volunteer their time & lots of businesses donate prizes & food for the BBQ as well as Lough Key providing the venue & Lough Ree Access for all providing a boat that’s adapted for trips.
It was a lovely day & everyone enjoyed themselves. Whilst we were at Lough Key mum was out on Falcon doing some geocaching exploring new areas. She found the hidden derelict Kingston Hall. This house was built by the King family of Boyle in the early 1770’s. The Kings completed the magnificent John Nash designed Rockingham House, close to Kingston Hall in 1817. After the family moved to Rockingham Kingston Hall became the residence of the Land Steward for the estate. Rockingham is gone and Kingston Hall is in complete ruin. It is ironic that the Kings first residence in Boyle, King House, is now the only building still standing, thanks to commendable foresight by Roscommon Co, Council.
She also made it to Cloontykilla Castle whish she’d been hoping to find. This was featured on Grand Designs & all the fascinating info about it can be found here including the episode of Grand Designs: CloontyKilla Castle
We were also pleased to finally meet Josh & Sophie on Narrowboat Qisma. We’ve been friends for many months through instagram but as they’re in Northern Ireland we didn’t think we’d get to meet until next year. Josh & Sophie bought Qisma off our friends Jan & Alistair who we’ve mentioned in our blog before who now own First Lady. Luckily Sophie & Josh were on a 2 week holiday & their days in Lough Key coincided with us. You can read all about them here: NB Qisma & follow them on instagram @cruisingqisma We had a lovely couple of days together & a fabulous last night in mums favourite Carrick bar Mchughs.
We then headed south as they headed north. We had a few days in Drumsna then we headed for Carnadoe waters which was a section of loughs off to the west that we bypassed on our way upriver so we had something new to cruise on the way back down. We set off on a glorious sunny afternoon so glorious in fact mum was in her Tshirt & didn’t even bother having a coat to hand. BIG Mistake!! Carnadoe waters entry point is at the bottom of Lough Boderg & we had a lovely cruise down there. We passed Carnadoe as as we expected the wall looked too high for us & crossed Black Lough. True to its name as we were cruising a huge black cloud developed. Bad weather hadn’t been forecast or so we thought – ANOTHER mistake!! Mum hoped it was going the other way no such luck. There were a lot of tight turns & as we took a sharp turn onto Grange Lough all the reeds literally bowed down flat either side of us as the wind swept past & 30 seconds later the heavens opened & thunder rolled loud above us.
Mum could barely see past the front of her boat & given she was soaked to the skin in 2 seconds flat decided there was no point even attempting to get a coat. She had no choice but to just cruise on as there was nowhere to stop hence a lack of photos of this cruise! Please note Daquiri & I were lovely & warm & dry on the settee inside !!! Mum finally reached her destination of Grange & we got a lovely grassy bank mooring for a change. So on re-examining our weather app which we’d set for Kilglass as this was the nearest place it had picked up we discovered that there are 2 Kilglass’s in Ireland & we had it set on a completely different county hence why we had the wrong forecast.
Sadly once we moored up we heard the very sad news that HM Queen Elizabeth had died so it ended up being a kind of subdued week consumed by sad news from home.
Grange is a pretty remote mooring but does have a pub! Mum visited The Silver Eel one night for a meal & a cocktail & she managed to cycle to nearby Strokestown one day.
After a few days we set off to the other mooring on these waters Kilglass (& not the same as the one we had in the weather app). Kilglass was very pretty & accessed by the narrow Carrigeen Cut.
Kilglass was again mooring fingers with a current like Carrick but luckily there was just one boat there with someone on & he ran & caught our ropes. The wind picked up while we were there so we were stuck for a few days. A few hire boats came in & out & struggled to moor in the wind with one full of French hirers hitting us firstly side on & then straight up the stern!! Luckily no damage done but mum went out & got them to slow down on their approach as both times they just came in too fast & lost control. This reinforced our decision to stay put.
Although Kilglass was a lovely remote spot it was at the bottom of a big hill which even with Falcon was difficult to get up & being at the bottom of a hill also meant we had barely any signal there. So far its just been here & Leitrim that we’ve struggled for signal.
We need a new map book as ours is a bit weathered after the summers cruising!
We departed Kilglass on a lovely calm day & enjoyed our cruise out without being chased by a black cloud. After a very tricky reverse mooring we moored up at Dromod in the little harbour again. Unfortunately despite me jumping off the boat fine twice I then decided I didn’t like doing it as my back legs are not so strong now. So I point blank refused to get off mum tried everything trying to lift me disassembling the settee to use the foot stool as a step but I wasn’t having any of it. Eventually she put the 2 short planks down but they were very steep. She lifted me onto them then pushed my bottom right up along the planks till I fell off the top!! We had to do it again the next morning but then mum said we’d have to leave as I couldnt get off so we set off down to Rooskey.
Rooskey isn’t far & we hadn’t long left the harbour when alarms starting sounding & lights flashing showing we were overheating. Mum turned the engine off (after having a heart attack) & we drifted for a bit praying another boat would come so we didn’t have to ring the RNLI. Nobody did so mum tried starting it again & there were no alarms so she went very very slowly & pulled in at Rooskey. Once the engine had cooled we looked & somehow we had lost all the water so we topped it up & the next day it was still there. We topped up with diesel at Rooskey & the chaps there very kindly went & got us some coolant as we’d lost all ours & the garage didn’t have any. Mum was watching the engine closely & every time we ran it it would lose its water gradually. A few days later a leak was found out through a bolt which is now in the process of being fixed.
We were intending on hanging out at Rooskey, Tarmonbarry & Lanesborough before heading up onto The Royal canal for winter in October. Unfortunately we got a call from Waterways Ireland to say they were closing the summit level from October & the water levels were already too low for us to get very far along. Our only option was to get up off the river onto the canal & into Richmond Harbour. Mum rang Paddy at the harbour & he advised we get there as soon as possible if we wanted a spot as he was expecting it to start filling. So that afternoon we set off (with a big container of water to keep topping the engine up) & redid the Camlin River & moored up late below Richmond Harbour. In the morning we moved up & have a nice spot across the disused dry dock. Its very nice walkies for us here, Esay for me to get on & off & has an excellent pub. Its a bit of a way from shops but mum can cycle to the garage for some supplies & further into Longford if needed. We’ve also managed to book a Supervalu delivery to here with our all important dog food!
So sadly our winter cruising plans have been stopped before they’ve started. We are still hoping at some point that we will be able to progress along The Royal Canal this winter though its highly unlikely to be before Xmas. Mum has decided she wasn’t doing calendar club this year luckily as we’d have not got there now but she does have some exciting land adventures planned for us. We are also having a little bit of a lifestyle change over winter & mum has got a different winter job sorted. All I’ll say is watch this space & I swear to God she’s as mad as a box of frogs!!