End of the Navigation by Cosmo (Lough Allen)

So the weather forecast wasn’t looking particularly good bur we’d seen a notice online that one of the locks on the Lough Allen canal was closing for a couple of days for diving operations so we had to take the plunge & move. So mum got all kitted up in waterproofs & we settled in nice & dry & warm of the settee! Literally as soon as mum set off the heavens opened she’d only just turned the boat. Anyway brave (mad?) person that she is onwards we cruised. For a short distance back the way we came then a right up onto the Lough Allen canal. Soon we were at the first lock Battlebridge which has a fabulous glamping site opposite it.

We failed at radioing the lock keeper but managed to get them on the phone & they were out within ten minutes. It was funny & calm being back cruising on a canal well calm until the next lock that is!

Oh my goodness Drumleague lock! I think this is the closest we’ve ever been to sinking the boat. We were in position but because we’re so long & the paddles were operated electrically the water came in the front with such force it sucked the boat forwards & was soon crashing down on the bow. Golden Boyz’s engine was not powerful enough to reverse against it & we couldn’t hold it on the rope so the bow flung sideways, the whole boat tilted precariously as it hit the other side of the lock with a massive crash & we heard mum yelling to have the paddles dropped. Luckily it was over as fast as it began. We were shaking inside & most of the contents of most of our cupboards were now all over the boat. Mum, however, was calm & collected though I’m not sure we’re keen to come back up this lock again although it does have manual paddles so maybe we’ll insist on those next time. Hopefully going back down won’t be so scarey.

We were glad to be out of there & on our way again. We soon reached Acres Lake but we went straight across that as we intend stopping on the way back. We actually had a few rare moments of sun as we approached it.

We were then at our final lock Drumshanbo before our mooring on the approach to Lough Allen. We were very relieved to see it wasn’t very deep & all went smoothly. There was a nice mooring jetty below the lock beside a nice grassy area & path for us for walkies plus we had decent internet signal so mum was happy.

So having left Leitrim at the bottom of the map above we are now in the top corner at Drumshanbo. Drumshanbo is situated at the foot of Sliabh an Iarainn mountain and is the heart of traditional music in the area. Its position at the southern end of Lough Allen makes it a prized angling resort. The surrounding area is mountainous and hilly and there are excellent marked trails for walking enthusiasts, some of which are suitable for cyclists, An interesting point of interest in Drumshanbo is its unique High Street fronted by a stone wall and steps that lead down to Ireland’s shortest Main Street. St John’s Church of Ireland – A gothic structure that dates back to 1829. Drumshanbo is also the only remaining town in Ireland to still celebrate An Tostal, a festival inaugurated all over Ireland in 1953, as a celebration for Irish life.

We spent a couple of days at Drumshanbo so mum could catch up on work & get some shopping in & we had a few walkies up along the Lough. Then a 3 day calm weather window appeared so mum decided we’d cruise up Lough Allen in case we didn’t get another chance. So we set off first up the west coast to Spencer Harbour. We had excellent conditions calm & no rain. It was a fabulous tranquil mooring with its own picnic spot. We were even allowed off our leads here as noone was around & we went for a couple of dips in the lough. The view was amazing across Lough Allen. We loved Spencer Harbour.

The next day we cruised across to the eastern bank of Lough Allen but first we went on a mission to find the End of Navigation which is the most northern official navigable point of the River Shannon.

Mission completed it was down the eastern shore to Cleighran More. Another remote mooring. This one was nearer the road & was a bit bumpy overnight despite the breakwater so we preferred Spencer Harbour. We were amazed though to get the final part of the sunset as late as 11pm at night.

The weather was now forecast to turn windy again so mum had us up at stupid o’clock for walkies & we were off down the lough at sunrise. It was still a bit choppy then so its a good job we didn’t leave it any later. We then moored at Drumshanbo again & waited a couple of hours for the lock to open at 9.30am. Just as it did it started to pour with rain again so mum got absolutely soaked on our short cruise up to Acres Lake.

Drumshanbo marks the start of the Shannon Blueway and Acres Lake is home to Ireland’s first floating boardwalk. The 600m boardwalk extends over the lake and is part of a 6.5 km linear walking and cycling trail from Acres Lake in Drumshanbo to Battlebridge Lock, near Leitrim Village.

It rained most of the time we were here & mum went through 3 sets of clothes getting soaked to the skin so our boat looks like a laundry with everything drying. We do have the bonus of electricity here though so that’s cheered mum up. Not long after we’d arrived we got a knock on the boat & a lovely lady called Anjela popped to say hello as she follows our blog. So a big shout out to Anjela & hope you had safe onward cruising.

We’ll be headed back to Carrick soon as we have friends arriving from the UK in the next few days so no doubt there’ll be a few drinks drunk & pubs visited!!

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