After storm Jorge passed & before Auntie Joy left it was time to confront our fears & tackle a few Irish Locks. There are just 3 to Robertstown. We fell lucky as a fellow trader Julie was over for a few days so she joined us too enabling us first to do a car shuffle.
We’d not managed to see Waterways Ireland yet so we were going to give the locks a go with our English windlass. There’s quite a difference in size but the larger hole on the English one we thought might work.
The weather looked promising so we had fallen lucky as we bid farewell to Sallins.
We were first tracking our morning walkies route with Auntie Joy passing over Leinster Aqueduct
Then it was onto new waters as we apprehensively approached our first lock at Digby Bridge. But like a guardian angel Martin from Waterways Ireland was waiting for us with the lock ready & 2 lock keys for us to purchase!
Now in a lot of ways the locks are not that different to U.K. ones. The gates are bigger & the ground paddle they call the land rack & presumably the gate paddle is referred to as the gate rack. A windlass is a lock key. The gates & racks & lock key are all much bigger, harder to move/turn but the principal is the same. But the BIG issue for mum is a lot of them are impossible to singlehand. None of them have ladders so the only option is bowhauling in & out but many of them have wide bridges (road bridges) over one end of them so that counts that out too. So Mum will be a bit more dependent on getting help from passers by, other boaters, crew or Waterways Ireland staff. In the guidebooks all the lock keepers tel no’s are there but We think with there being so few boats the lock keepers get to know who’s where. Martin said he’d tell (warn!!) next lock keeper about me travelling on my own lol
Martin left us to the next two locks as We had crew. The girls did the next one & mum did the third one. Boy were the racks hard to turn. Mum might be coming back to the UK eventually looking like Popeye!
It was a beautiful stretch to Robertown. Part of it was very shallow so slow going. I doubt We’ll be moaning about dredging in the UK when we get back!
Soon we were approaching Robertstown where we’d already sussed out a mooring by car. It was however shallow so we couldn’t quite get into the bank but with some creative ropework we’re settled & me & Cosmo can easily get off the front.
Robertstown is the kind of vision We had of Boating in Ireland. A small village or I think this is a township with 2 pubs (one which is combined with the stores & the otter with windows like someone’s front room), a post office, a Chinese take away & this one has a tiny coop type supermarket. The water here is so clear you can see the bottom of the channel & fish swimming around. Here’s a selection of photos from around Robertstown
It has great walkies up the canal towpath mum even let me off the lead. Not Cosmo though as she doesn’t trust him not to bomb off.
We are going to stay here a week while mum sorts the rest of the boat out & catches up on some work to pay the bills. Auntie Joy is with us for a final night & her & mum bombed off into Dublin to find out about the events taking place on the waterways as part of the 2020BC (2020 Big Cruise) programme. We’ll let you know all about those in our next blog. But we leave you with the sublime view out of our window here in Robertstown. We think we’re going to like it here a lot!