Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Worth getting up for!

A few more pics like this would be nice to share with you!! 

I say up early, but by the time LJ was walked and boat maintenance complete....no brass rubbing in this..... It was 0930 when we set off on the short cruise across the bay. Back to Drumaan. Even since we were last here there has been a huge difference. Only a few boats here...looking as if moored up for the week. There isn't a lot of property either but a fair number look as if they have been closed up for the winter.  We had our choice of moorings against the wall. No facilities other than water but for peace and quiet this is on the list of favourite moorings. 

Got to make the most of our last week on Loch Derg. We will start to move slowly North. It won't all be retracing of steps. We saved somethings for the return trip ...  in fact, we've saved some things for next year but ... LJ has a date with a dog groomer in Ballinasloe. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Dromneer. Great mooring and a man to take my shopping order!

They love the boat and LJ here. We were still being asked what make of dog LJ was on his last walk round at 2300 yesterday! Current record.

We had great arrival in Dromneer. Coleman, who we met a couple of weeks ago and discovered Alistair had been in contact with him over charts, had his car here. He was just about to get in to go for supplies when he saw us coming in. He gave us a hand to moor and took my shopping order! A man with true boating instincts!!

Dromaneer is very popular. Good tea room, pub busy enough to tell us the food there must be worth a visit. Great Aqua Splash for kids and small pebble beach.

Also on the wedding photo route!  I am cheating here....by the time I ran back got my phone bride and groom were getting back in the limo but the pic would have looked something like this!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Let's go!!

Woke to a rare day of flat calm and sunshine. Quick but very easy decision to get some shopping done and get on the move. What a fantastic cruise up to Mountshannon.  Already noticeable that not so many boats around on Loch Derg.

A crew were out to offer us help in mooring. Ex narrowboaters!!  Brought their boat across three years ago, loved it. Sold their boat ... it went back to UK. They bought a property with river frontage  and a cruiser.  I hope I haven't revealed too much of their business!!

The sunset last night even got me out of my chair and away from GBBO! Just got a second or two. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

End of the road

Great weather yesterday as we made our way down Loch Derg, onto the Shannon and down to where Killaloe and Ballina face each other across the river. Very pretty. This is as far as we go this year. We will start to slowly, very slowly, head north again from here.

Theoretically, it is possible to go on to Limerick but it depends on tides, good weather and the operating schedule of electricity generating turbos. All too problematic to have confidence in getting there and back with the weather we have had. Add to this the closure for repair of some of the Limerick moorings and .........

Last night the sunset was magnificent. One of the best I have ever seen. Pics do not do it justice. As the sun disappeared dramatically over the hills about 1000 crows took to the skies. We had no idea why but a helicopter came along about 10 minutes later ....was it that? Who knows. Certainly added to the spectacle.

The boys  on jet skis were certainly enjoying themselves. Too fast to photo! 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Struck Gold in Scarriff

Tweet buddies may know that the unthinkable happened....I ran out of Clipper Earl Grey about 10 days ago...12 actually. I had hoped to resupply in Athlone but non in stock. They kindly offered to order some for me if I let them know when we were heading back. But, but...at The Grainery in Scarriff I struck Clipoer Gold. Probably the best selection I have ever seen.

Sheltered at Scariff

Two reasons for taking advantage of  flat calm yesterday morning...well three if you count the flat calm...a grim forecast for the weekend and the possibility of buying a Sunday chicken in Scarriff.
One biat ahead of us and some fishermen out but other than that we had Loch Derg to ourselves. Mist  behind us but a lovely run down the loch and onto the River Scarriff. It seemed very strange to have banks and turns.

Plenty of room on the moorings and a hire boat left whilst we were deciding where to park.  That freed up space to give us the preferred full length bank option. Easy access for LJ, water and electricity and the Sunday chicken a stroll away.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Room at the inn ...but not for us!

Every time we've mentioned Garrykennedy we've been told how pretty it is and how good Larkins is.
Well, Garrykennedy is very pretty. We will never know about Larkins.

We haven't tried to eat in a bar/pub since we came south. My policy is always to phone and check the dog in bar situation before we go to a new pub. We're aware that dog friendly pubs are few and far between here so we're delighted when I phone Larkins to be told it would be fine to take LJ into the bar. My last words were....and we can bring the dog? Again I was assured it was.

You are, no doubt, ahead of me. It was not fine. As we go in a young man immediately tells us no dogs allowed I said I'd phoned. He went for his boss. I didn't expect that to make a difference but was glad of the chance to 'identify a training need'! Our options were sit outside....in the rain...or, obviously under sufferance, in a room on our own shared with large, empty ice cream fridge.... shades of the dog friendly pub in Ripon here! Or, obviously, we could leave. Off we went.

The guides tell us how fantastic Larkins is. That people travel long distances to eat there. Luckily we were back on the boat within five minutes of being turned away.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mixed Economy


Wind in the wrong direction and bouncing around on our mooring had us on the move on Monday. The crossing not to bad though and into the very sheltered harbour at Dromaan. Then summer arrived!!! Hoorah! It's not meant to last but very welcome whilst it's here.

Dromaan has an almost Knysna (fave spot on the Garden Route in South Africa) feel to it. A mix of lovely houses overlooking the Loch. The road so quiet that we felt safe walking LJ off his lead. Confident of hearing cars in time to grab his collar before they reached us.

In the afternoon we watched a regatta on the Loch. Holiday feeling all round.  A combination of small craft, cruisers and yachts in the harbour. We the only barge.

This morning I met a lovely and interesting couple from 'Inshalla'  enjoying the 'beach'. In a conversation ranging from Sprotborough to Dolphins  I found that Alistair had been in email contact over charts. Could have sat chatting to them for hours.

Still admiring Puzzler's pics of a flat calm Loch Derg!!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Peace and Quiet

Seems odd to say we have finally found peace and quiet. By UK waterways traffic it is quiet all the time...well almost... But, it is August and hire boat jetties are empty so moorings  have been quite busy.  We moor early... To avoid disappointment. We are the equivalent of a 71ft boat on the K&A or Nantwich in high summer. So far so good. 

 Yesterday was different. We moored at Rossmore well before lunch and had it to ourselves until early evening when we had company. Both boats left very early this morning. So peaceful. We can see the main channel in the distance. A mountain in the distance, Perfection. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A Black Art


Weather forecasting is, as we all know, a highly developed skill with millions spent on sophisticated equipment. Such a shame we can't have any faith in it. 

Our forecast was fine, sunny and very light winds. Fortunately...the wind part was right. But the rest was showers and misty. At 0930 we couldn't see across the Loch. 

At 0940 the promised sunshine arrived. Our cruise took us around 90 minutes with almost constant drizzle. Still ... the wind held off...I was inside....and it was...absolutely worth it. Our only company an empty yacht and two German holidaymakers (of a certain age) in a camper van who were about ready to leave. They arrived in Dover at the start of July and have covered the UK and Ireland. Heading to a ferry in Cork via the delights of the west coast. 

We are here,for the weekend.....bad weather forecast tomorrow.....this is where I came in!!

Any Portumna in a storm!

I would never call Portumna any port but it certainly was popular over the last coup,e of ads with bad weather on the Derg. Luckily...with help waving people in who were about to turn round and head back out into filthy weather and some shuffling every boat that tried to come in was squeezed into a berth. 

I saw the best but if mooring ... In fact parking if any description in my entire life. Big cruiser swept in, reversed and put himself between two other pretty big cruisers with an inch on either side. I think one fender was moved. Amazing and accomplished before I could get back to QISMA for the camera. 

These guys surprised us as they passed. Some engine trouble. Had great chat with the crew later. 

The moorings are a popular stopping off point before or after the bridge transit. A lot of work has been done here. Not quite finished ..the facilities block isn't open yet but not far off. 

The castle and grounds are just lovely. Forest walks.

What else? A Supervalue in the town...I love Supervalue...which will deliver if you phone. 10 min walk from the moorings and if they deliver you will miss the most excellent butcher.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Believe us...you aren't mooring there!

Getting ahead of the weather forecast..... Do I say again?..... Had us up and off aiming for the 1230 opening of Portumna Bridge.

Made it as planned...with time to get LJ off and despite a man overboard in Victoria Lock. Not from QISMA,!

Traffic is stopped for 15 minutes at set times each day. 6 times a day on the high season schedule.

We safely moored in Portumna Castle harbour. Busy and by 1600 full. A huge Emerald cruiser came in. But there just wasn't room. Then it tried to moor next to us...on a mooring at the mouth of the harbour. Totally oblivious to their doing so would prevent any other craft from getting in or out!!  We were in danger of getting a window smashed by one of their crew...recklessly wielding a boat hook. They left ....... with much muttering in Italian.

Now...at 1645.... Two, equally large boats have left...heading for the 1730 bridge opening. Ah well!!

Moor early to avoid disappointment!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Frustration knows no bounds!!

Google are no longer supporting my,photo system on the blog. A frustrating time trying to get their chosen...Google...system to work. I think I am,there!! 

So....Three blogs in one.

We left Ballyleague last Thursday. Bow thruster fixed. Huge thanks to Duncan. The weather was so filthy we would have been alongside anyway something's worked out well.

Got to look round Samson...did I do this already?

Off onto Loch Ree and to Portrunny. Loved it. Want to buy the abandoned pub and make it into a house. No question. Once we win the lottery. Will go back on our return trip.

Then, with a great day with us and a really bad forecast, we were off to a sheltered mooring at Casson.

Casson was busy... In comparison to almost everywhere else!! With a pub and a swing park and visiting ice cream van. It was popular but not intrusive. We had two new boaters arrive. One zoomed in a fast small run around....to me,his friend who was launching a very sleek craft. Boater number 1 grounded and damaged his prop. Not bad enough to keep him alongside.

Sunday there were several long distance swimming events. The weather really wasn't kind to them. We had great view from inside ....with the log burner the on!!

Our Saturday boys returned.,things did not go well. They struggled to get the swish boat out of the water and onto the trailer. It might have helped if the 3 women and 1 man onboard had got off first!!

Sad to say... They go it out at a really bad angle with severe damage to his prop. Back in it went. The passengers disembarked.....with some difficulty.  Then finally onto the trailer. It could have been worse...he could have been locked in as the car park....allegedly...is locked at 2000!!

Monday, with no wind and sun, we moved the 200 yards to Quigley's for some fuel. By the time we did that....two minutes....we had wind and rain! Not too bad so we made the run round the corner and down river to Athlone. Great mooring. Great town. Particular mention for the wedding dress/outfit shops. Not that I am in the market for either but ....wow!!

An early start today. Into the lock as it opened for business. Lovely Lockie. Hoping we might reach Shannonbridge before the rain.!! 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Same....but different

In the new public Marina at .Ballyleague. Engineer on way to look at our poorly bow thruster. Wouldn't be moving anyway as weather is filthy now and worse to come. Watching hire cruisers leaving. Some heading up river

but some for the big lock. Madness.

Last night .. at 2115 two came towards us. One came in. The second turned and headed back out. Next mooring is hours away. There was one space left here. Knowing the forecast Alistair was so concerned he went to speak to the biat that came in. Fortunately they were together and able to phone and tell them there was room for them.  They moored at 2145. We had filthy night and today is worse.

More pleasantly Dutch Barge Samson came in yesterday. For sale at €155,000. We, correction, I, have been looking at her on Appollo Duck (boats for sale website) for months as she is something special. Knew our paths would cross sooner or later. They came alongside briefly and kindly gave us a tour. Built in 1924. Really stunning. Everyone says she is best barge on the river and we saw why.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Who says he camera never lies!

Much excitement as we headed down the Shannon on Friday. You can see why! 

Then it was on to Loch Ree and Barley Harbour. Not marked on our guide but recommended to us. We checked and Puzzler had been on so.......

This is where the pic doesn't quite tell the story. It was a Bank Holiday weekend and just out of shot on the right was a tented village! It was like a Polish peace camp.....over 20 tents, one caravan and supporting cars!! There must have been upwards of 80 people there. Though more children than adults.  Other than their strange preference for techno music all was well until we were leaving on Monday and one chap who was fishing deliberately cast out at us and scratched the paintwork. Odd really as we had been so impressed by them. Rubbish cleared up and taken away. Everyone really polite. Music turned off by 2300. And they did the same!!